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Dueling Visions of Masculinity at the Box Office: Johnny Depp’s Goofy Mortdecai Vs Bradley Cooper’s Sniper Hero

Sunday, January 25th, 2015 - by Dave Swindle

What happened to Johnny Depp? Was the Oscar nomination for the first Pirates something he had to sell his soul to the devil to get? Was the price that he had to perpetually play lamer and lamer versions of the same flamboyant persona?

“What are you watching?” my wife asks just now as I play the trailer above of the embarrassing new Depp movie that’s flopped. I tell her and she answers, “I’m so over Johnny Depp, I never really liked him.”

“Can I quote you on that?”

“What?”

“On what you just said about Johnny Depp.”

“Yeah.”

“Are we still going to try and go see American Sniper before it’s out of theaters?”

“Yeah!”

More on American Sniper at PJ Lifestyle last week:

The Secret Reason for American Sniper‘s Breakout Success

Are Brown People Capable of Evil?

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

Chris Kyle’s Righteous Indignation

Why American Sniper Is One of the Greatest War Movies Ever

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Wheels for Possible Primary Challenge to Ellmers Already In Motion

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Whoops.

Rep. Renee Ellmers, the North Carolina Republican who led the charge to pull the House GOP’s 20-week abortion ban bill this week, could have a bruising primary from the conservative wing of her party in 2016.

Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, is mulling a bid against Ellmers, according to multiple GOP sources in the Tar Heel State.

Duncan could not immediately be reached for comment. But GOP operatives say Duncan was looking at a primary challenge against Ellmers before this week. Operatives say Thursday’s events — in which a group of anti-abortion protesters in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life demonstrated outside her Longworth office — could push Duncan toward entering a primary race.

Ellmers already started the 2016 cycle with a couple cracks in her hold on the seat.

In 2014, local activists were angry over her support for giving undocumented immigrants earned legal work status, and she received a primary challenge. She defeated Frank Roche, a radio host whom Republicans called a weak and underfunded challenger, with 58 percent of the vote.

Republicans say Duncan, a retired businessman who ran a computer disaster recovery company, is a more serious candidate than Roche. Duncan has better ties to the conservative base in the district, both because of his role as chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party and as a co-founder of the Coalition for American Principles, a group that seeks to elect Republicans in the Raleigh-Durham area.

Those in the GOP establishment who eschew the core principles of the conservative base may want to pay attention to what is happening to Congresswoman Ellmers these past few days. Once a Tea Party movement darling because she is a medical professional who was vehemently opposed to Obamacare, a couple of missteps on immigration and abortion have now cast a cloud on her future. Contrary to general establishment thinking, the base isn’t comprised of a bunch of rubes in the hinterlands who are out of touch. When they’re disgruntled, they can get loud in a hurry.

Someone might want to write that on a triplicate memo and post it to Reince Priebus’s door.

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Obama’s Iran Negotiations

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hat tip: Grabien

So much for Barry’s quip about winning elections. John Boehner finally grew a pair and outwitted the Smug-in-Chief this Wednesday by inviting the White House’s greatest enemy to address Congress. No, not Iranian President Ahmadinejad, but the enemy both he and Obama share: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After a State of the Union that paid poorly-timed lip service to terrorism the speaker of the House took matters into Republican hands and made a big show of it. Like, Ed Sullivan big. Too big, in fact, for Barry and his cohorts according to the Israeli left-wing paper Ha’aretz:

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickensh*t” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

It’s the kind of delicious scandal you’d only expect from Downton’s Julian Fellowes. (There’s not enough sex in it for Shonda Rhimes, or is there?) After issuing a warning to his own fellow Democrats not to “bow” to (Jewish) donors, Obama supposedly calls Netanyahu and warns him to “tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric.” His administration avoids Paris, deciding instead to throw an anti-terrorism conference that will talk about everything but radical Islamic terror, because that’s all been staged to create a “War on Muslims” of which Barry “Cairo” Obama wants no part. Then, the glorious king and savior of HopenChange descends on the Capitol to pay lip-service to the terror that has no name and makes sure to slap anti-Semitism in the face, noting:

“It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims, the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.”

At least he waited until the Jewish victims of the radical Islamic terror attack on a kosher supermarket were buried before lumping the hatred that murdered them in with Muslim stereotypes. If George W. Bush’s term was known for the War on Terror, dear God, let Barry’s term be known as the one that created, advocated, and fought on defense for the “War on Muslims.”

Oddly enough, as the general of the battle, Obama’s doing a darn good job of defending those radical Islamists he claims to despise, the Iranian regime in particular to the tune of 11.9 billion of your tax dollars. He’s doing an even better job of alienating his troops on the front line and their leader, Bibi. How does one say “forked tongue” in Arabic, or better yet, Persian? I know how Boehner and the Republicans in Congress say it: With the best invitation America’s ever issued to a foreign leader. And about damned time.

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All Aboard the ‘Lolita Express’

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
What, him worry?

‘Would you like to see the Crown jewels, honey?’

That would be the name given to the private plane belonging to disgraced financier and Friend of Bill, Jeffrey Epstein. Now Gawker, of all places, has jumped into the alleged “underage sex slave” scandal with both feet, unearthing the flight logs containing the names of some very famous passengers:

Bill Clinton took repeated trips on the “Lolita Express”—the private passenger jet owned by billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein—with an actress in softcore porn movies whose name appears in Epstein’s address book under an entry for “massages,” according to flight logbooks obtained by Gawker and published today for the first time. The logs also show that Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a “potential co-conspirator” in his crimes.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 in Florida to one count of soliciting underage girls for sex (and one count of adult solicitation), for which he served just over a year in county jail. But sprawling local, state, and federal investigations into the eccentric investor’s habit of paying teen girls for “massages”—sessions during which he would allegedly penetrate girls with sex toys, demand to be masturbated, and have intercourse—turned up a massive network of victims, including 35 female minors whom federal prosecutors believed he’d sexually abused. He has reportedly settled lawsuits from more than 30 “Jane Doe” victims since 2008; the youngest alleged victim was 12 years old at the time of her abuse.

Clinton shared Epstein’s plane… on at least 11 flights in 2002 and 2003—before any of the allegations against them became public—according to the pilots’ logbooks, which have surfaced in civil litigation surrounding Epstein’s crimes. In January 2002, for instance, Clinton, his aide Doug Band, and Clinton’s Secret Service detail are listed on a flight from Japan to Hong Kong with Epstein, Maxwell, Kellen, and two women described only as “Janice” and “Jessica.” One month later, records show, Clinton hopped a ride from Miami to Westchester on a flight that also included Epstein, Maxwell, Kellen, and a woman described only as “one female.”

Clinton’s office did not respond to an inquiry… Other prominent figures whose names appear in the logs, which document globe-spanning flights on Epstein’s planes during various periods from 1997 to 2005, include Dershowitz, former Treasury Secretary and Harvard president Larry Summers, Naomi Campbell, and scientist Stephen Pinker.

Read more about the “billionaire pervert and his famous friends,” who famously included Britain’s Prince Andrew, at Gawker here. Also be sure to read a long take-out on Epstein in Vanity Fair, published in 2003 before everything hit the propellers. A sample:

Epstein is known about town as a man who loves women—lots of them, mostly young. Model types have been heard saying they are full of gratitude to Epstein for flying them around, and he is a familiar face to many of the Victoria’s Secret girls. One young woman recalls being summoned by Ghislaine Maxwell to a concert at Epstein’s town house, where the women seemed to outnumber the men by far. “These were not women you’d see at Upper East Side dinners,” the woman recalls. “Many seemed foreign and dressed a little bizarrely.” This same guest also attended a cocktail party thrown by Maxwell that Prince Andrew attended, which was filled, she says, with young Russian models. “Some of the guests were horrified,” the woman says.

And an in-depth look at Epstein by Philip Weiss in New York Magazine from 2007 is also required reading as you get up to speed on something  that could get very, very nasty.

 

 

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Anti-Vaccine Nuts? Illegal Aliens? What Could Go Wrong?

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

How about this to start:

California is battling a surge of measles cases clustered around the famous Disneyland theme park, despite the virus being all but eliminated in the United States, authorities said. Fifty-nine cases have been recorded since the end of December, the California Department of Public Health reported, urging people to get themselves vaccinated — in the face of a movement against the vaccinations over concerns about links to autism in children.

“Of the confirmed cases, 42 have been linked to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California,” the health department said. Five of the cases involved Disney employees. ”Initial exposures occurred in December, but additional confirmed cases visited Disney parks while infectious in January,” the department added on its website.

Measles is highly contagious and can be spread through the air without physical contact. Infection usually begins with a fever followed by a cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis and a rash. The health department said the spate of cases underscored the need for vaccinations against the illness. Twenty-eight cases from 34 for which data was available involved individuals who had not been vaccinated.

Hard to know at this point how many of the cases were introduced by immigrants from Third World countries where vaccination is not as rigorous as it once was in the United States, when we were a First World country, and how many are caused by screaming nutbags who think vaccinations lead to “autism.” But there is no medical reason why this should be happening in America.

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What Really Causes Addiction? Maybe It’s Your Cage

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Nature or nurture? A predisposition to addiction, or the drugs themselves? A new book suggests neither of the above:

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned – and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction, by our teachers, and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted. It seems obvious. It seems manifestly true. Until I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my book ‘Chasing The Scream – The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs’ to figure out what is really driving the drug war, I believed it too. But what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong – and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it. If we truly absorb this new story, we will have to change a lot more than the drug war. We will have to change ourselves.

I’m always wary of stories that begin so portentously, but please read on:

Here’s one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day. If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine – the medical name for heroin. In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief. The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much high purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it. So if the old theory of addiction is right – it’s the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them – then it’s obvious what should happen. Loads of people should leave hospital and try to score smack on the streets, to meet their habit.

But here’s the strange thing. It virtually never happens. As the Canadian doctor Gabor Mate was the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use. The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts – and leaves medical patients unaffected.

If you still believe – as I used to – that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander’s theory, the picture falls into place.

And now read the whole thing.

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Slate Social Justice Warrior Overcome by the Urge to Retroactively Complain About…Chandler Bing

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

This is a thing that happened today.

I loved Friends during its 1994–2004 run, but when I started re-watching the sitcom thanks to its Jan. 1 arrival on Netflix, I steeled myself to be disappointed. I knew that from our modern vantage point, the fashion and technology would feel, at times, obsolete. (Ross’s Season 3 “laserdisc marathon”!) I suspected some plotlines would be a little creaky, too: Ross’s relationship with an undergrad, say, and Monica in a fat suit. But as a longtime fan, I worried most about Joey.

Joey’s “thing” was that he was an inveterate womanizer; in the pilot, he compared women to ice cream, and told a mopey Ross to “grab a spoon.” In the year 2015, would this kind of horndogginess play? The trope of the leering lothario just felt so old, so unfunny, so painfully CBS. But as I watched, I was soon reminded of Joey’s other qualities: His warmth, his happy-go-lucky confidence, and his love of jam. Joey is great! Sure, he loves beautiful women, but somehow his openness and goofiness—and Matt LeBlanc’s performance—still make him easy to watch.

You know who isn’t easy to watch? Chandler Bing.

Indeed, of all the aspects of Friends that seem trapped in the past, Chandler Bing is the most agonizingly obsolete. Once he may have seemed coolly sarcastic, the gang’s designated “funny one.” But through the eyes of a 2015 viewer even vaguely cognizant of modern gender politics, he’s also the cringe-worthy one.

Chandler, identified in Season 1 as having a “quality” of gayness about him, is endlessly paranoid about being perceived as insufficiently masculine. He’s freaked out by hugs, and by Joey having a pink pillow on his couch. (“If you let this go, you’re going to be sitting around with your fingers soaking in stuff!”)

In retrospect, the entire show’s treatment of LGBTQ issues is awful, a fault pointedly illustrated by the exhaustive clip-compilation “Homophobic Friends.” But Chandler’s treatment of his gay father, a Vegas drag queen played by Kathleen Turner, is especially appalling, and it’s not clear the show knows it. It’s one thing for Chandler to recall being embarrassed as a kid, but he is actively resentful and mocking of his loving, involved father right up until his own wedding (to which his father is initially not invited!). Even a line like “Hi, Dad” is delivered with vicious sarcasm. Monica eventually cajoles him into a grudging reconciliation, which the show treats as an acceptably warm conclusion. But his continuing discomfort now reads as jarringly out-of-place for a supposedly hip New York thirtysomething—let alone a supposedly good person, period.

One wonders what kinds of childhood traumas were visited upon these leftist scolds to make them decide ahead of time what they won’t like about a sitcom that went off the air over ten years ago. Probably something horrific like mommy not getting the right kind of frosting for the 10th birthday cake.

I am often considered somewhat cranky, yet on my worst days I’m the Happiest Guy On Earth compared to your garden variety Social Justice Warrior (SJW). Imagine living such a miserable life that the phrase “I steeled myself to be disappointed” comes out of your brain in reference to watching a popular situation comedy.

In their zeal to despise all things American, progressives spend their days creating struggles and seeing oppression in places like sitcoms, where most people see an easy laugh.

The writer laments the treatment of “LGBTQ issues” in a show that really didn’t go after a lot of heavy issues. Ross wasn’t a very flattering portrayal of paleontologists either. Monica seemed far too anal to be a really inventive chef. Rachel’s career path was unrealistic.

The list of things to complain about in a show that never really was about any of those things is endless.

Because it was a lighthearted television show, you SJW shrew.

Progressives rail at the lack of depth in things that aren’t supposed to have depth because they are working out personal issues related to the shallowness of their own lives and political philosophy, it’s that simple.

They are that simple.

And sad.

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Like Switzerland? Forget It — You Can’t Afford to Live There

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

The most expensive countries on earth? The ever-useful (and not just for its up-to-the-minute pictures of celebrity bikini bodies) Daily Mail has the list:

A map showing the cost of living around the world shows how the U.S. is now less affordable for residents – but still cheaper than Britain and France. The global report reveals how Britain is the 10th most expensive country to live in with Australia tenth and America 24th.

Switzerland tops the list while Norway and Denmark appear in the top five for the third year in a row according to the results of a survey which took into account the cost of groceries, transportation, restaurants and utilities.

In a damning reflection of Venezuela’s domestic problems, the Latin American country has climbed from 12th place in 2013 to third place in 2015.

Iceland has also jumped significantly, up from 10th place in 2013 to fourth in 2015. The world report, carried out by Numbeo, was fashioned into an infographic by movehub – a resource for people moving abroad.

You can find the complete list here and the fascinating infographics here.

highest

 

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The Religion of No Fun Strikes Again

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
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And by “strikes,” I mean literally:

Islamic State religious police have been filmed beating musicians and destroying their instruments as punishment for playing an ‘un-Islamic’ keyboard. The men were pictured being hit across the back and legs with a wooden stick in a public square after ISIS’s fanatical Islamic enforcers ruled the electric keyboard was ‘offensive to Muslims’.

Another picture shows two keyboards and what appears to be a lute smashed to pieces after raids thought to have taken place in Bujaq, a few miles to the east of Aleppo in Syria…

Since taking control of large parts of Syria and Iraq last year ISIS claims to have formed a Caliphate in the Middle East, and has taken to enforcing strict Sharia law within its borders. Thieves are regularly pictured having their hands or arms amputated in public squares amid crowds of onlookers, while adulterers have been executed.

So let’s get this straight: basically, no music, no representative art, no pictures of Muhammed, no Bamiyan Buddhas — no art that precedes the establishment of Islam in those unhappy, once-great lands (Persia, take a bow) that fell to the Musselman conquest. And yet the Left makes common cause with these savages, simply because they share a common enemy: the West. Let’s see how that works out for them.

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Colleges Struggle to Define Rape-ish

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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A college graduate going by the nom de plume of “Hot Piece” penned a story of a bad sexual encounter for her website Total Sorority Move. The Chronicle of Higher Education picked up on the story for its report on the changing nature of what constitutes rape on college campuses.

Hot Piece detailed a sexual encounter with a male student she referred to as a “friend” who she’d been “flirting with all” throughout college. Alcohol happened. Lots of it, apparently, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since Hot Piece “…spent her undergraduate years drinking $4 double LITs on a patio and drunk texting away potential suitors.” One thing led to another and talking about sex led to …sex:

Maybe I didn’t want to feel like I’d led him on. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him. Maybe I just didn’t want to deal with the “let’s do it, but no, we shouldn’t” verbal tug-of-war that so often happens before sleeping with someone. It was easier to just do it. Besides, we were already in bed, and this is what people in bed do. I felt an obligation, a duty to go through with it. I felt guilty for not wanting to. I wasn’t a virgin. I’d done this before. It shouldn’t have been a big deal–it’s just sex–so I didn’t want to make it one.

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First They Came for our Pizzas…

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

The food nazis are at it again:

Kids love pizza, but a new study shows that it doesn’t love them back. On days when children eat pizza, they consume an average of 408 additional calories, three additional grams of fat and 134 additional milligrams of salt compared with their regular diet. For teens, putting pizza on the day’s menu adds 624 calories, five grams of fat and 484 milligrams of salt.

The analysis, published online Monday by the journal Pediatrics, examines pizza’s contribution to the childhood obesity crisis because it is so widely consumed. On any given day, 22% of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 eat pizza. (That compares to 14% of toddlers and 13% of Americans overall.) The only foods more popular with kids are “grain desserts,” a category that includes cakes, cookies and doughnuts.

For this they needed research?

Health policy researcher Lisa M. Powell of the University of Illinois at Chicago and her colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess pizza’s impact on children’s diets. Participants in NHANES, a project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, complete dietary recalls that list all the foods and drinks they consumed in the previous 24 hours. Responses from 7,443 children between the ages of 2 and 11 and 6,447 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 were involved in the new study.

The results revealed that younger kids eat 83 calories’ worth of pizza a day and teens eat 143 calories of the dish each day, on average. Those amounts were high enough to account for 5% and 7% of total daily calories, respectively. On days when pizza is eaten…

Oh, shut up.

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Feminist Mag Complains American Sniper Unfair …to Babies?

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Get ready for a good laugh. If you aren’t ready, file this story for when you need one. I did, and it hit the spot.

Online feminist mag Jezebel, which spends more time discussing Lena Dunham’s haircuts than anything actually relevant to feminism, featured a story on “human-baby activist” Alice Vincent’s complaint that Clint Eastwood used dolls instead of live babies for his latest box office smash American Sniper.

Yep. “Human-baby activist.” It gets better:

The film notoriously forewent actual child actors in favor of plastic baby dolls, presumably to avoid traumatizing real babies from the terror of being in the same room as director Clint Eastwood. A sagacious decision, but one that poised yet another dilemma: the plastic babies are milkfed and symmetrical, glowing in their perfection and delicately rosy cheeks, sweet and subdued, and will never encounter colic. The babies’ noses are flawlessly buttony, their cheeks absolutely round, their tiny lips distended in an unachievable bow. The babies’ tans are even, and a perfect shade of sunkissed white skin. Their very existence, the upholding of these babies as somehow the way all babies should look, exerts undue pressure on actual live babies to live up to this type of unachievable ideal, and ultimately sends the message to American Sniperviewers that if their babies are not as perfect as the babies onscreen, then they are not as worthy. It says that in order to be considered beautiful, a baby must be a doll.

Babies, beware. Even though you don’t yet have the cognitive ability to watch a film, Hollywood is out to harass and intimidate you with their impossible beauty standards. Jezebel ends their compelling coverage of this hot-button issue with a “plea” to the American Sniper gang:

We make a collective plea to Clint Eastwood and the cast of American Sniper for the liberation and visibility for all babies, not just ones constructed of plastic and rubber: of human babies, and of babies who are flawed, and babies whose shit and piss and puke is tangible, not just the kind scrawled out into a diaper with yellow and brown magic markers. We demand the depiction of normal, oxygen-breathing babies on our screens, in a show of solidarity that babies come in all shapes and sizes, all religions and nationalities, and do not have to be in possession of perfect diction or enthusiastic participants in nightlife to be good enough to be included in the cast of a film.

Clint, Bradley, next time you’re about to make an Oscar-nominated movie about a war hero, think about the babies!

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Famous Rabbi Who Marched with MLK ‘Left Out’ of Selma

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was a pioneer who stood alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the march on Selma and the fight for civil rights in America. And viewers of the film Selma will never know that fact, because director Ava DuVernay elected to eliminate Heschel from the film.

In an op-ed for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Heschel’s daughter Susannah writes:

The 50th anniversary of the 1965 march at Selma is being commemorated this year with the release of the film “Selma.” Regrettably, the film represents the march as many see it today, only as an act of political protest.

But for my father Abraham Joshua Heschel and for many participants, the march was both an act of political protest and a profoundly religious moment: an extraordinary gathering of nuns, priests, rabbis, black and white, a range of political views, from all over the United States.

…My father felt that the prophetic tradition of Judaism had come alive at Selma. He said that King told him it was the greatest day in his life, and my father said that he was reminded at Selma of walking with Hasidic rebbes in Europe. Such was the spiritual atmosphere of the day.

…What a pity that my father’s presence is not included in “Selma.” More than a historical error, the film erases one of the central accomplishments of the civil rights movement, its inclusiveness, and one of King’s great joys: his close friendship with my father. The photograph reminds us that religious coalitions can transcend and overcome political conflicts, and it also reminds us that our Jewish prophetic tradition came alive in the civil rights movement. Judaism seemed to be at the very heart of being American.

In an interview with the Algemeiner, Heschel commented further:

“I felt sad and I had moments when I felt angry,” she said of the omission, describing it as “tragic.” …“This filmmaker seems to want to try and change the narrative,” she told The Algemeiner. “It is about black people trying to do it themselves.”

“I understand this as a Jew, because that is what Zionism is about, but I know that we were helped by others, and the Civil Rights Movement was about coalition, it was about Christians and Jews coming together, marching together, and feeling at that moment in Selma that something profoundly religious and moral was taking place.”

According to the Algemeiner, “The film’s producer, Ava DuVernay, defended her inaccurate portrayals in an interview on PBS, saying: ‘This is art; this is a movie; this is a film. I’m not a historian. I’m not a documentarian.’”

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Black Activists Make Solidarity Trip from Ferguson to Palestine

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Counter Current News reports:

Recently, a number of representatives from the Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter and various Ferguson anti-police brutality protesters made history through a solidarity trip to Palestine. The purpose of last week’s trip was to connect with activists living under Israeli occupation. The 10-day trip to the occupied Palestinian Territories, specifically in the West Bank, was organized to show a link between oppression emanating from the Israeli State as well as that which victims of police brutality are experiencing in America.

The trip was organized by the legal and policy director of the Dream Defenders, Ahmad Abuznaid, Florida attorney and Palestinian native.

Ebony adds:

Over the past week, the delegation has met with refugees, Afro-Palestinians, a family that was kicked out of their house by settlers in East Jerusalem, and organizations representing Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). …[tour member] Carruthers recalled their delegation crossing paths with a tour group led by Israeli authorities. “They were clearly receiving a completely different story about the occupation. It’s deeper than just spreading lies, the false narrative is violent.”

Tour participants did not bother noting that a politically motivated trip covering only Palestinian territories obviously carries the implication of a “false narrative.” They did, however, identify with the Palestinians, commenting that blacks are “displaced refugees” in the United States. This trip followed a visit to Ferguson paid by a Palestinian delegation this past November who sought to forge relationships with black activist groups.

Financial backing for Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter, and a cohort of sister organizations has all been directly traced to George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, which reportedly spent $5.4 million last year funding the Ferguson protest movement. 

The plethora of organizations involved not only shared Mr. Soros‘ funding, but they also fed off each other, using content and buzzwords developed by one organization on another’s website, referencing each other’s news columns and by creating a social media echo chamber of Facebook “likes” and Twitter hashtags that dominated the mainstream media and personal online newsfeeds.

At least 8 out of the 14 trip participants were members of organizations funded by Soros.

Support for these radical groups goes deeper into D.C. than Soros’s pockets. In 2012, Breitbart reported that Eric Holder’s

Department of Justice was facilitating the agenda of a group [the Dream Defenders] that appears to have been led by an employee of the law firm representing the Martin family, a stunning amount of bias for the federal goverment to show in a local crime case.

Most recently, Eric Holder joined President Obama and Vice President Biden in meeting with representatives of the Dream Defenders and other race-based organizations to sooth tensions in the wake of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson’s non-indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown. Phillip Agnew, co-founder of Dream Defenders, attended both this meeting and the subsequent trip to the Palestinian territories.

With a White House bent on depicting radical Islamic terrorist acts as a “War on Muslims” and a president encouraging his fellow Democrats not to “bow” to pressure from pro-Israel donors, one can only wonder where such high level political support for groups such as the Dream Defenders will lead.

 

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Huckabee: Obamas are ‘Great Parents,’ But Miss Mark on ‘Wholesome’ Music for Daughters

Sunday, January 18th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Former Arkansas governor and potential 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Sunday that the Obamas are “great parents,” but he stands by his concern about the “cultural divide” in which the Obama girls are allowed to listen to Beyonce’s music.

In an interview about his new book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, Huckabee told People magazine that he doesn’t understand how the Obamas allow Malia, 16, and Sasha, 13, to be fans of the songstress and White House regular.

“I don’t understand how on one hand they can be such doting parents and so careful about the intake of everything – how much broccoli they eat and where they go to school and making sure they’re kind of sheltered and shielded from so many things – and yet they don’t see anything that might not be suitable for either a preteen or a teen in some of the lyrical content and choreography of Beyoncé, who has sort of a regular key to the door,” Huckabee told the magazine.

Today, Huckabee told ABC’s This Week that the book passage talking about Beyonce is written “in the context of first of all saying Beyonce is a wonderful talent.”

“My point is, she doesn’t have to do some of the things that she does in the lyrics, because it’s not necessary. She has nothing to make up for. She’s an amazing talent,” he said. “My point was, even in speaking about the Obamas — and I said about them in the book, they’re great parents. But it was President Obama in an interview with Glamour who said that some of the lyrics he won’t listen to with his daughters because it embarrasses him.”

“Well, here’s my point, if it embarrasses you then why would you possibly think it’s wholesome for your children to put it into their heads?”

Huckabee stressed “that’s the point.”

“If you’re very concerned about what happens with your children, and the Obamas are. They’re great parents. They’re careful about making sure their kids get a lot of vegetables and eat right. That’s terrific. But what you put in your brain is also important as well as what you put into your body and that was my point based on what the president, himself, said,” the governor continued. “So, I think if people read the chapter they see that it’s about this cultural divide, the disconnect between the three bubbles of New York, D.C. and Hollywood versus the land of God, guns, grits and gravy, that’s where the title comes from.”

Huckabee said he plans to announce his presidential intentions “later in the spring.”

“The fact that I left the Fox gig, which was a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for me, to leave that, I didn’t do it just because I was tired of going to New York every week,” he said, adding that if he runs this time he’ll “raise more money, for one thing.”

“That was the big hurdle for us back in 2008. A lot of people didn’t take the campaign that seriously until we were winning states and winning primaries. I literally got by on a dime to the dollar of both John McCain and Mitt Romney,” Huckabee said. “So in some ways, we were a very green campaign. We got more miles per gallon than anybody else. But you do have to have a lot of money to be able to not only push your own campaign, but you have to be able to defend your record against all these crazy attacks that will come against you.”

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Living Large: Beats Working

Saturday, January 17th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Or so this mother-daughter combo seems to think:

A mother and daughter who get £34,000 a year in handouts because they are too fat to work say they’d rather be happy and on benefits than depressed and thin. Janice and Amber Manzur weigh a total of 43 stone and are so overweight they have to use mobility scooters to get around.

But both women refuse to diet and mother-of-two Ms Manzur, 44, insists: “I’d rather my daughter live life on benefits being fat and happy than depressed and thin.” Ms Manzur lives in a three-bedroom house that has been customised by the council to accommodate her disability and drives a Fiat Quibo disability car worth around £15,000.

Ms Manzur said: “There’s no point in dieting, it doesn’t make a difference. I’ve always been big and I’m too fat to work, so I have a genuine disability. I should be miserable but I’m happy. I know this is the way I’m meant to be.”

Be sure to click on the link for some live-action photos of Britain’s welfare state in action.

Ms Manzur said her and her daughter have been the victims of cruel comments from strangers. She said: “We attract quite a bit of attention when we pop to the shops on our matching scooters. ”A man once compared us to a herd of elephants. Another rolled down his car window, called us “fatsos” and said, ‘Get off and walk’. We just ignore them. We can’t change the way we were born.”

At least one member of the family is working, though.

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Why the Firing of Atlanta’s Fire Chief Is Inspiring ‘Religious Liberty’ Bills

Friday, January 16th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

In 2014, in the midst of a slew of lawsuits cropping up over whether businesses could refuse to bake cakes or provide flowers for same-sex weddings for religious reasons, a group of Georgia lawmakers proposed a religious freedom act in the state legislature. The measure failed, largely due to pressure from the business community.

This legislative session, the theme of religious freedom has reared its head again, this time for a different reason — the firing of Atlanta’s Fire Rescue Department Chief Kelvin Cochran over a book Cochran wrote in which he makes his views on homosexuality and adultery known.

Cochran has since become what one local columnist calls “the face of ‘religious liberty’ bills“:

Last month, Cochran was brought before the executive committee of the Georgia Baptist Convention, the state’s largest denomination and a supporter of a religious liberty bill already on file in the House. Cochran was greeted as a hero, though his appearance, while a formal city investigation was underway, made him no new friends at City Hall.

The Georgia Baptist website has put audio excerpts of Cochran’s speech online, as well as a sales link to his book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” at Amazon.com. A Georgia Baptist online petition in support of Cochran now has 4,452 signatures.

But supporters of the bill currently before the legislature argue that a religious freedom act is about more than one man — it’s about protecting the rights of people of faith in an era in which those rights are increasingly precious.

Opponents argue this legislation is unnecessary, that religious freedom is well protected by the First Amendment. But in 1990, the Supreme Court limited that protection, which was the very reason Congress passed the federal RFRA. That law restored the protection Americans had enjoyed for decades before the unfortunate Supreme Court decision. Many states have followed suit to ensure religious freedom is similarly guarded against state and local assaults.

Opponents also deny faith-based speech and activities are ever disfavored in Georgia. But students of faith at the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and other universities would disagree. Christian student organizations at Georgia universities and public schools have been denied the recognition and funding routinely granted to non-religious student organizations. Tech prohibited students from engaging in “intolerant” faith-based speech. At Savannah State, a Christian student club was expelled from campus for “hazing.” The offense? Engaging in a foot-washing ceremony at a discipleship retreat.

Though many examples of discrimination against faith-based activity arise in the context of public schools and universities, the problem isn’t restricted to academia. In DeKalb County, a church that had been renting a recreation center for weekly services was suddenly told it was no longer welcome, pursuant to a new (unwritten) policy against renting the center to churches. A Christian in Pine Mountain was prohibited from placing free Bibles in a library that allowed distribution of other community materials. Rockdale County required churches — alone among all other organizations — to have at least three acres of land. In case after case, people of faith have been singled out for more burdensome treatment.

A group of pastors, rabbis, and other people of faith have stepped out to oppose the measure, as have the same corporate interests who helped defeat the bill last year.

Critics say its passage, regardless of Teasley’s intentions, would open the door for private business owners to discriminate against gays and other minorities — by citing religious beliefs — and make the Peach State a national laughingstock and economic pariah.

It’s early in the legislative session, and it remains to be seen whether the bill has enough support to pass this year. Stay tuned, and we’ll see what happens under the Gold Dome.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / f11photo

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Duke Backs Down on Muslim Prayer Call

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Fox News reports:

Duke University has abandoned its plan to transform the bell tower on the Methodist school’s neo-gothic cathedral into a minaret where the Muslim call to prayer was to be publicly broadcast.

“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

…“Members of the Muslim community will now gather on the quadrangle outside the Chapel, a site of frequent interfaith programs and activities,” Schoenfeld said.

The university did not say whether the Muslim call to prayer would be “moderately amplified” at the new location.

The credit reportedly goes to Franklin Graham, who called for donors to pull their funding from the historically Methodist university if the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast from the Chapel bell tower.

Christian and Jewish groups hold respective services in private settings on campus. While Duke is one of the few universities to have a full-time Muslim cleric and dedicated Center for Muslim Life on campus, the location is apparently not considered an adequate space for prayer. Without a legitimate reason given, the Muslim students at Duke remain steadfast in their campaign to make Muslim prayer a public event on the Duke campus.

 

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College Decides Vagina Monologues ‘Not Feminist Enough’

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Campus Reform reports:

Mount Holyoke College, an all-women’s college in Massachusetts, is retiring its annual production of the Vagina Monologues this year because the play is not inclusive of transgender students.

…In a school-wide email from the Theatre Board, a representative from the group, Erin Murphy, explained the problems with the play and the reasoning behind its discontinuation.

“At its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman…Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive,” the email, obtained by Campus Reform, said.

This is what happens when your politics demand the separation of sex from gender. As the admissions page on Mount Holyoke’s website explains:

…concepts of what it means to be a woman are not static. Traditional binaries around who counts as a man or woman are being challenged by those whose gender identity does not conform to their biology. Those bringing forth these challenges recognize that such categorization is not independent of political and social ideologies.

Mount Holyoke re-defined “what it means to be a woman” last year when it decided to begin accepting transgendered students.

The annual production of the play is part of a country-wide tradition to perform Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues on Valentine’s Day to raise awareness about gender-based violence and usually coincides with the V-Day campaign. The proceeds are donated to sexual assault prevention organizations or women’s rights organizations.

Apparently victims of domestic abuse aren’t going to be getting any cash from Mount Holyoke. Unless, of course, they can provide credentials detailing their womanhood. And what, exactly, might those credentials be? You’ll have to call the admissions office to find out. Or, just watch the video (shown above) the college had to produce and release in order to explain exactly what they mean when they say “women’s college.”

 

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Duke University Chapel to Broadcast Muslim Call to Prayer

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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HuffPo reports:

The chant, known as “adhan,” will resound from the Duke Chapel bell tower every Friday beginning Jan. 16, echoed by members of the Muslim Students Association, the university announced via Duke Today. The chant will sound for three minutes at a “moderately amplified” level to announce the Jummah prayer service, held Friday afternoons in the chapel basement.

The Adhan will be sung in Arabic, then followed by an English translation, according to a Facebook event announcing the call.

“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life, told Duke Today. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”

The announcement comes one day after the White House clarified that their anti-terror summit would not cover acts of radical Islamic terror, having determined that those acts are only part of a greater War on Muslims.

The chapel that will broadcast the Islamic call to prayer also hosts events for Christian and Catholic groups on campus. Duke’s Muslim students pray at the chapel despite having their own Muslim Life at Duke center on campus. Jewish students, who comprise more than ten percent of the undergraduate and graduate student populations, hold events at the privately funded Freeman Center for Jewish Life located on campus.

For the private university’s 700+ Muslims, the decision is being praised as a sign of their acceptance into the Duke community.

Roughly 6,500 undergraduates and 8,300 graduate and professional students are enrolled in the prestigious private university that maintains “a historic affiliation with the Methodist Church.” The Methodist Church has publicly supported divestment, pulling pension investments from companies tied to Israel as a method to pressure Israel to cease settlement expansion.

In 2004, Duke University granted $50,000 in funding to the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) to demonstrate on campus. The conference was so volatile that Commentary magazine announced in 2005 “The Intifada Comes to Duke.” Motivated by the PSM, award-winning student journalist Philip Kurian published an anti-Semitic op-ed in the student newspaper titled “The Jews.” Loaded with conspiracy theories, Kurian argued against what he termed Jewish “privilege,” writing,

What’s worst is that the ‘Holocaust Industry’ uses its influence to stifle, not enhance, the Israeli-Palestinian debate, simultaneously belittling the real struggles for socioeconomic and political equality faced, most notably, by black Americans.

Richard Brodhead, whose decision it was to fund the PSM on campus, is the current president of the University.

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Israeli Embassy Puts Mona Lisa in Hijab, Warns: Paris, We Told You So

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The Israeli Embassy in Ireland published a far more provocative piece of art than did Charlie Hebdo this week. Far too angry to even broach forgiveness, the JPost reports that the Embassy

…posted a photograph on its Twitter account on Wednesday featuring Mona Lisa decked out in Islamic garb while holding what appears to be a rocket.

The post seems to be a common sentiment among Israelis who are angry over what they perceive as the international community’s inability to empathize with its precarious security situation.

Sensitive to criticism over its response to Hamas rocket fire, Israel has often sought to conflate its struggle against Palestinian terrorism with the jihadist violence that reared its ugly head in France last week, claiming the lives of 20 people.

The artwork was released amid news that French President Hollande did not want Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend Sunday’s unity march in Paris. Hollande felt the Israeli prime minister’s presence would “…divert attention from the theme of national unity the million-person event was intended to symbolize,” according to Israeli media reports.

…The French official who conveyed Hollande’s wish to Jerusalem said that Netanyahu’s presence and that of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, would “cause difficulties.” The French believed that Netanyahu’s presence among the foreign notables leading the march would inevitably introduce dissonant echoes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jewish-Muslim relations that would jar the somber atmosphere.”

As France works to distance itself and its Jews politically from Israel, the Obama administration is hard at work crafting acts of radical Islamic terror into a War on Muslims. The White House refuses to employ France’s term “war against radical Islam,” instead choosing to refer “…to terrorists as ‘violent extremists who have sought to incite a religious war against Islam.’” The Orwellian doublespeak does not bode well for Jews abroad or in America. Despite the fact that anti-Semitism motivated many of the non-Muslim related terror attacks that will be discussed in February’s “summit on violent extremism,” Obama’s ultimate goal regarding radical Islamic terror is and always will be to defend Muslims. Even if it is at the risk of the Jewish population.

Perhaps the Israeli Embassy in Ireland is correct in saying that “Israel is the last frontier of the free world.” And perhaps that is the real reason their artwork is so disturbing.

 

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Christian Prankster 1, State Broadcaster 0

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle

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I wrote back in 2011:

I hated guys like Bill Whatcott when I was pro-choice, and I hate them more now that I’m not.

Which was pretty harsh.

That said, Whatcott is one of Canada’s most notorious public pests.

In fairness, all he’s done is adopt tactics of the Left for generations to great practical effect, such as picketing, parody and public nuisance.

In a stunt literally worthy of Charlie Chaplin, for instance, Whatcott once managed to position himself at the front of a “Gay Pride” parade while holding up an anti-sodomy banner.

I run hot and cold on the matter of whether such stunts actually “work,” but I grant Whatcott credit for being an out-there Christian “crusader,” especially given Canada’s general distaste for such public displays of non-conformity.

And today, I’m obligated to congratulate him for accomplishing the (almost) unthinkable:

Winning a $30,000 libel judgement against our rich, powerful and knee-jerk “progressive” public broadcaster, the CBC.

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‘Magical Jews’ Responsible for Paris Terror Attacks

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

I love a good Jewish conspiracy. I’ve even been known to dabble in creating a few myself. If you’ve heard that the “We’ve Taken Over the World” after-party will be hosted by the Free Masons and we (the Jews) have already signed up to bring the cake, that’s one of mine. The one about the “magical Jews” behind last week’s Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher being “a hybrid race of shape-shifters” who “know how to get everywhere” because “they are master manipulators” belongs to the Muslims in the “Park Slope” of Paris ghettos.

That’s right. In case you weren’t already aware, Jews are X-Men in disguise, Clark Kent-ish disguises, because somehow despite their shape-shifty ways they manage to look just like average human beings. This conspiracy theory is the kind best attributed to immigrant populations that embrace the hatred and radicalization common among the ignorant, willfully unemployed and unassimilated of western civilization. We, the assimilated, acculturated, intellectualized of the bunch like Jose Diaz-Balart have educated ourselves into romanticizing such situations with wacky theories of our own, like:

You can be surrounded by a very comfortable-looking situation but feel despair because you feel that you are so isolated within a society that has nice restaurants but ignores you and ignores your dreams and aspirations.

But how quickly Diaz-Balart and his intellectual compatriots forget that Western Europe, too, was a cultural victim of conspiracy theory-level ignorance, not that long ago. Dreams and aspirations grounded in that anti-Semitic ignorance led to world wars and the murders of millions of Jews. So, should we really be encouraging France to feed into the “dreams and aspirations” of today’s madmen?

Apparently Dana Kennedy thinks so. Or, at least, she’s resigned to it. After detailing the conspiracy theories in her article for The Daily Beast, she back-tracked on Telemundo when Diaz-Balart whipped out the “not all Muslims are like this” clause, turning an important piece on the roots of radical Islamic anti-Semitism into a tepid commentary on Paris housing projects.

Want the real scoop? Read the story. You know, before those shape-shifty Jews sneak on the Internet and remove it.

 

 

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When You Can’t Trust the Beer, What Can You Trust?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

It used to be you couldn’t drink the water but you could drink the beer. But not in Mozambique:

Three more people have died from drinking contaminated beer, bringing the number of fatalities to 72, as the number hospitalized fell by more than 150, health authorities in Mozambique said on Tuesday. About 35 victims are now hospitalized, down from 196, according Paula Bernardo, director of health, women and social welfare in the northeastern Tete province. At least seven people are still in critical condition in hospitals in the Chitima district, Bernardo told Radio Mozambique.

Dozens of people fell ill in Chitima and in the neighboring Songo district after drinking traditional beer, known as Pombe, at a funeral over the weekend. The beer, brewed from millet or corn flour, is believed to have been poisoned with crocodile bile, according to district health officials.

Crocodile bile? Snopes says it’s a myth:

Crocodile bile, like bat whiskers, the hair of a black cat, a pinch of gargoyle sweat, eye of newt, and troll teeth, does not appear to be deadly on its own.

Forbes takes a longer look at this urgent and pressing matter:

Professor Nyazema hypothesized that the traditional descriptions of this poison might be consistent with a toxic plant that may have been added to the brew in witchcraft practices. Nyazema seized on the observation that the chemical structure of bile acids are not that far removed from plant-derived cardiac glycosides, drugs like digoxin (Lanoxin) that are still used to aid patients with heart failure and some types of heart rhythm disturbances.

The cardiac glycosides, commonly called digitalis for the mixed plant extract, have a low therapeutic index – meaning that there’s a small margin between the beneficial therapeutic dose and the toxic dose. Plants like foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) are commonly found in southeastern Africa having escaped cultivation from European colonists, but Nyazema also lists 11 other species of local plants that contain similar cardiac glycosides.

While high doses of cardiac glycosides will obviously slow the heartbeat to zero, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea are among the coincident signs of cardiac glycoside poisoning. These are also consistent with the minimal descriptions provided by Mozambique health authorities.

I’ll have a Heineken, thanks.

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Lena Dunham Scared Neo-Cons Want Her ‘Buried Under a Pile of Rocks’

Monday, January 12th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Lena Dunham used last night’s red carpet appearance to announce that she’d deleted her Twitter account in order to “create a safer space for myself emotionally” in the wake of the Barry One shakeup. That last part was understood parenthetically, of course, as “creating a safer space” obviously has nothing to do with having one less social media outlet through which to publicly bare your breasts.

What she failed to mention is that she didn’t really delete her Twitter account. After all, she’d just used it hours before to promote the 4th season premiere of Girls. Oh, who’s kidding who; without the bare breast pic, it was probably her publicist logging in under her username.

Leading neo-con John Podhoretz used the shout-out to promote his own writing praising Girls, while fans of the HBO star used Dunham’s statement to get angry, incite flame wars and block fellow Twitter users over nothing. What was that about deranged neo-cons again?

Just to set the record straight on those crazy neo-cons, the Free Beacon detailed Tweets sent by known neo-cons to Dunham over the past few years. Threatening, indeed, especially discussing Chinese hegemony in Asia. I know she went to Oberlin, but please, she was an arts major after all. Why are you threatening to discuss current events that will inevitably impact the female population with a self-proclaimed feminist? Don’t you know she’ll block you if you use too many big words?

Which makes one wonder why Dunham would bother making such a big deal out of her haters. She knows how to block them. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t want to. In fact, this was her feeble, ultimately meaningless attempt to stick it to her critics from the safest and most public space imaginable. The neo-cons got better press out of this than she did, because the audience is sick of her incessant whining and the airheads hosting a red carpet show are too dumb to bite. They wouldn’t dare bring up rape (cue her tears) let alone her habit of lying about being raped on campus in order to sell books. They can barely wrap their mouths around, “What are you wearing?” In Lena’s case, they were probably impressed that she bothered to get dressed at all.

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Obama vs. the Black Community

Monday, January 12th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

The great analyst Joel Kotkin takes a look at the state of black America and finds it wanting:

Since the racial euphoria that accompanied the president’s election, views of race relations held by blacks and whites, according to Pew, have become decidedly less optimistic. Nearly half of whites and roughly two in five blacks, according to a recent Politico poll, say race relations have worsened under Obama. Only 4 percent of whites and 13 percent of African Americans thought relations had improved. Another recent survey, this one by Bloomberg, finds 53 percent of Americans opining that race relations have declined under Obama.

Here’s the real tragedy: Some 50 years after the passage of sweeping nationwide civil rights legislation, the institutionalization of affirmative action and billions poured into addressing urban poverty, many African American youth remain well outside the mainstream, unmoored to the economy and far too liable to get into confrontations with law enforcement. This is clearly connected with such factors as the preponderance among African Americans of 70 percent single-female-headed households, nearly half of which are poor.

That whole “Great Society” thing from the 1960s is really working out well for African Americans, isn’t it?

Then, there are the murder statistics. Columnist Walter Williams has noted that, out of roughly 7,000 blacks murdered last year, 94 percent were killed by another black person. Half of all homicide victims are black, while blacks account for barely 13 percent of the nation’s population. Williams calculates that the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, more than 22 times higher.

Not surprisingly, these sad numbers are also reflected in economic statistics. African American unemployment remains twice that of whites. The black middle class, so responsible for, and understandably proud of, Obama’s elevation, according to the Urban League, in the past decade has conceded many of the gains made over the prior 30 years.

Despite the hoopla about urban revival, a recent study reveals that entrenched urban poverty – places where 30 percent or more of the population lives below the poverty line – actually grew in the first decade of the new millennium, from 1,100 to 3,100 neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the population of these areas doubled, to 4 million.

There’s a great deal more, all of it depressing. But remember — the Democrats who have wreaked such horrendous destruction still look upon their handiwork as a good thing.

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Why Sexy Wartime Pinups Are Back in Style — This Time in Ukraine

Sunday, January 11th, 2015 - by Oleg Atbashian
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Sexy American pinups of the ’40s and ’50s take a special place in the hearts of post-Soviet artists. When pinups were on the rise in the States, the Soviet government had decisively excluded such “bourgeois decadence” from the culture of the builders of communism. Instead, Soviet men were encouraged to rest their eyes on the portraits of exemplary workers and collective farmers who happened to be women, painted in the tradition of socialist realism.

Today, feeling nostalgic for that which never was, artists in different parts of the former USSR are trying to reconstruct the missing link in their cultural evolution — either by drawing a series of clever mashups, mixing vintage American pinup girls with Soviet propaganda posters, or by visualizing scantily clad retro-babes in classic pin-up poses but with Soviet enthusiastic fire in their eyes, who can only exist in an imaginary alternative timeline, in which the Soviet government hadn’t been so zealous in suppressing the sexuality of its citizens.

And today, Ukrainian graphic artist Sviatoslav Pashchuk is bringing back military-styled pinups — after all, it was during World War II that the pinup culture was born originally, satisfying the need of American GIs to gaze at creatures of beauty in the midst of cruel wartime brutality.

Now that a brutal war is raging in the east of Ukraine, the new series is quickly becoming a hot item among Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers, who are defending their country against the Russian aggression. The guys are grateful to the artist for the diversion. They get the reference, admitting that this patriotic erotica is even sweeter to their eyes than it was to the American GIs during WWII. These pinups are also a reminder of the bigger world they had left behind and to which they hope to return after the war is over. Alas, not all of them will.

Each pinup is dedicated to a different branch of armed service or a volunteer battalion, accompanied by humorous and often rhymed patriotic slogans, with a warning at the bottom in fine print: “separatism is dangerous to your health.”

The artist is offering them for sale with the understanding that part of the proceeds will go to support the Ukrainian military. Since this is not a real commercial operation, the only way to order them for now is by sending him an email at sviatko@ukr.net.

Donbas Volunteer Battalion: Goodies For The Bullies

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What Did Back to the Future 2 Get Right About 2015?

Sunday, January 11th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle

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A delightful video from the always-entertaining guys at Dark Corners breaks it down:

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Muslim Saves 15 Jewish Lives in Kosher Supermarket Terrorist Attack

Sunday, January 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Lassana Bathily, a Muslim immigrant from Mali in West Africa, obviously has no problem with Jews. As an employee of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris, he not only worked for Jews on a daily basis, he also took the opportunity to save 15 Jewish lives when the store was attacked by radical Islamists this past Friday.

The Jewish Press reports:

Lassana Bathily, a Muslim employee at the HyperChacher supermarket in Paris, saved the lives of 15 Jewish shoppers, when he hid them in the supermarket’s basement freezer after the terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly, entered the store and opened fire.

Bathily also had the presence of mind to also turn the freezer off.

BuzzFeed carried a translation of the French television news interview with Bathily:

“When they ran down, I opened the door [to the freezer],” he told France’s BFMTV.

He quickly shut off the freezer and switched off its light. As he closed the door to shelter the customers inside, he told them, “Stay calm here. I’m going out.”

Eventually police raided the market, killing Coulibaly. As the hostages were freed from the freezer, they had a few words of thanks for Bathily. “They congratulated me,” he told BFMTV.

Describing the 24-year-old man as “shy,” the UK Daily Mail explains, “Using a goods lift he escaped and was able to give the police valuable information about what was happening inside and where the hostages were hiding.” Those huddled in the freezer were able to use cell phones to contact relatives and make them aware of the situation and that they were safe.

Multiculturalists may attempt to use Bathily as an example against stereotyping Muslims and avoiding the identification of radical Islamic terrorism. However, the exact opposite is the case. Bathily is yet another example of why saying “Je Suis” is the ultimate statement after a tumultuous week of terror in France. Whether we are Charlie Hebdo or Juif, the reality is that our existence as a free people who  believe in the Divine, inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of justice” alone is enough to offend radical Islamic terrorists.

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Liberal Schools MSNBC News Host on Radical Islamism

Sunday, January 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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When Melissa Harris-Perry’s producers invited J.J. Goldberg on to speak about the Jewish community in France, they were probably expecting  textbook politically correct responses from the editor at large of America’s largest left-wing Jewish newspaper, the ForwardWhich is why it’s so funny to watch Harris-Perry attempt not to balk at Goldberg’s frank candor on the radical Islamist roots of anti-Semitism in France. “The anti-Semitism problem in France is not primarily a problem of anti-Semitism from French Muslims,” she rushes to clarify at 2:32. “There is a problem of anti-Semitism there, but it is not primarily a problem of Muslim versus Jewish populations there, but rather a question of  – sort of — French citizens in the broadest sense.”

“Um, I don’t think so,” Goldberg begins before detailing in brief France’s dance with anti-Semitism over the past century, noting that the incidents happening now are “happening from the Muslim community.” He then rattles off a series of French leaders who are Jewish and have established bonds with the Israeli Jewish community. “The integration of Jews into France and the acceptance of Jews in France is very, very thorough,” he explains. He ends his segment by noting that 70% of Jews in France today have come from Sephardic countries of origin where they have experienced “tension with their Arab neighbors”.

Harris-Perry attempts to interrupt his scholarly explanation twice before giving in and going to the commercial break.

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The Worst Possible Souvenir from Disneyland

Thursday, January 8th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

There’s hardly any place more magical than the Disney Parks at Christmastime. However, this holiday season a handful of guests at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, got a souvenir they didn’t bargain for: measles.

Nine people with confirmed cases of measles were at Disneyland or the adjacent Disney California Adventure Park in Orange County between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, according to the California Department of Public Health. Three more people with suspected measles also visited Disney during that time.

[...]

Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said, “We are working with the health department to provide any information and assistance we can.”

If you’re thinking, “I thought measles was practically eradicated with those shots we had to get as children,” think again. The anti-vaccination subculture deserves the blame for this outbreak.

Measles was once a nearly universal disease of childhood. Thanks to vaccines, however, it was declared eradicated in the USA in 2000. Since then, the country has seen 60 to 70 cases a year, usually people who were infected in other countries and diagnosed here.

The disease has returned in recent years, as more parents skip or space out their children’s vaccines because of misguided concerns about vaccine safety, [Paul] Offit [chief of infectious disease at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia] says. Dozens of studies have found vaccines to be safe, with no link to autism or other serious conditions.

Still, fears stoked by misinformation from celebrities and the Internet have done a lot of damage, Offit says.

The majority of these cases involve people who were never vaccinated, including two babies too young for the shot, but in one case, the patient had received all vaccinations.

Health officials have expressed concern over this particular outbreak, especially since it centers around a popular tourist destination.

The Disneyland outbreak is disturbing, Offit says, because it affects people who are likely to get on planes, where measles can spread easily. Two of the confirmed cases linked to Disneyland were Utah residents.

Disneyland is safe as of now, but for those nine guests, this Christmas trip was more than they bargained for.

Image via Shutterstock / Hatchapong Palurtchaivong

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CNN Reporter Blames the Jews for Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Thursday, January 8th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hasbara

There’s a reason many Israeli satellite providers don’t waste their money on CNN. The infamously anti-Semitic cable news channel’s reporter Jim Clancy blamed Wednesday’s terrorist attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on — who else — the Jews.

To be completely accurate, he dubbed the radical Islamist “pro-Muhammed” mentality that led to the terror attacks “Hasbara.” Hasbara is the term used to describe pro-Israel international PR. What does hasbara have to do with fostering or endorsing radical Islamist terrorism? Nothing. Unless, of course, you’re taken to task for your inaccuracies by a Jew. Then, suddenly, your gross inaccuracies along with all the world’s problems are because of the Jews.

Kessler proceeds to present Clancy with facts (something CNN reporters avoid at all costs), and the most Clancy can generate in terms of a response is:

Yeah, that didn’t happen, because there’s something else CNN reporters lack: journalistic integrity. There’s another Jewish word for that, Jim. It’s called “schmuck.”

Hat tip: Mediaite

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Just Because It Sucks Is No Reason to Leave New Jersey

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Or is it?

Nearly two of every three families making an interstate move involving New Jersey last year were leaving the Garden State, the highest rate in the country. New Jersey had the greatest percentage of outbound moves of any state nationally last year with almost 65 percent departing, according to a company which bills itself as the largest transporter of household goods in the country.

The Garden State has led the nation in outward migration for the fourth time in five years.

What a surprise! Despite The Sopranos and The Jersey Shore,  who would live in Jersey who didn’t have to? The weather is terrible, the scenery is non-existent (New Jersey is the land God Forgot), and the whole place stinks to high heaven. In the old days, people lived in New Jersey because they couldn’t afford to live in New York City, or because they had talked themselves into the proposition that there are nice places in New Jersey, by which they mean the pine barrens.

More stats:

Forty-one percent attributed their move to retirement. More than half (56 percent) of people leaving New Jersey were over the age of 55, with 22 percent older than 65.

Among the other states where more people moved out than in, New York’s rate was second at 64 percent with Illinois third (63 percent). Two other northeast states also ranked in the top 10 — Pennsylvania was ninth and Connecticut 10th. United Van Lines has been tracking moves for 38 years, it said.

While residents are fleeing New Jersey in far greater numbers than people are arriving, that’s not the case in many states. In Oregon, nearly two-thirds (66) percent of the moves are inbound; In South Carolina and North Carolina, about 61 percent of the moves were inbound.

Blue state, red state… how about that?

 

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Christian Leader Weighs In on Newsweek’s Take on the Bible

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

Newsweek made its way back into print with a bang, ringing in 2015 with a lengthy cover article about the Bible. In the 8,500 word piece, business writer Kurt Eichenwald barely hides his disdain for evangelicals and those who interpret the Bible through a theologically conservative lens:

They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation.

They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.

[...]

The Bible is not the book many American fundamentalists and political opportunists think it is, or more precisely, what they want it to be. Their lack of knowledge about the Bible is well established.

Eichenwald sets out to rip apart just about every mainstream belief about the Word of God, relying almost exclusively on liberal scholarship to prove his points.

The article probably ticked off plenty of theological conservatives, but one evangelical leader found himself angry enough to refute Eichenwald. Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, mounted his missive in a post on his website.

When it comes to Newsweek‘s cover story, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” Eichenwald appears to be far outside his area of expertise and knowledge. More to the point, he really does not address the subject of the Bible like a reporter at all. His article is a hit-piece that lacks any journalistic balance or credibility. His only sources cited within the article are from severe critics of evangelical Christianity, and he does not even represent some of them accurately.

[...]

Eichenwald demonstrates absolutely no attempt to understand traditional Christian understandings of the Bible, nor ever to have spoken with the people he asserts “claim to revere [the Bible] but don’t read it.” What follows is a reckless rant against the Bible and Christians who claim to base their faith upon its teachings.

In a predictable move, Eichenwald claims to base his research on “works of scores of theologians and scholars, some of which dates back centuries.” But the sources he cites are from the far, far left of biblical studies and the most significant living source appears to be University of North Carolina professor Bart Ehrman, who is post-Christian. Even so, he makes claims that go far beyond even what Bart Ehrman has claimed in print.

Mohler muses aloud whether “some fundamentalist preacher [ran] over young Kurt Eichenwald’s pet hamster when the reporter was just a boy” and accuses the journalist of raising arguments “that could only impress a ten year old.”

Yet, most impressively, Mohler refutes nearly all of Eichenwald’s points and blows holes in the writer’s logic before concluding that Eichenwald “has an axe to grind, and grind he does.”

Anyone who has read the Newsweek screed would do themselves a favor to read Mohler’s response. It’s nice to see him stand up to the flimsy scholarship and agenda-driven writing Eichenwald puts on display.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock / Natykach Nataliia

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Gay Mafia Takes Out Hit on TLC’s My Husband’s Not Gay

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

YouTube Preview Image

Cinemablend reports on the backlash over TLC’s My Husband’s Not Gay, a special focusing on Mormon men, both married and single, “who are attracted to men but who cultivate relationships with women”:

Over at Change.org, former Christian Josh Sanders wrote about his experiences as a gay man whose church convinced him to undergo reparative therapy so that he would no longer be gay. His petition calls for TLC to “stop spreading such dangerous misinformation” by canceling My Husband’s Not Gay.

GLAAD also backs up the petition, and the organization’s President and CEO made a statement this morning calling My Husband’s Not Gay “downright irresponsible”. Here’s the whole statement:

“This show is downright irresponsible. No one can change who they love, and, more importantly, no one should have to. By investing in this dangerous programming, TLC is putting countless young LGBT people in harm’s way.”

The Cinemablend article expresses the bias made common by activist groups like GLAAD in their own explanation of the show’s premise:

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