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The Dude Dissects Disinformation

Sunday, June 1st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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(Warning: Profanity)

After actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely death, The Daily Beast ran an opinion piece by James Poulos, “Everything is Politics to the Right, Even Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death.” One need not point out the irony that the article itself, written from a presumably Leftist perspective, politicizes Hoffman’s death. In this instance, we are too busy being asked to contemplate the dearth of morality on the Right, a movement so committed to their politics that not even death can rest in peace. Poulos essentially took offense at Ben Shapiro’s critique of “‘the broken leftist culture that dominates Hollywood,’ allegedly ‘enabling’ the suicides of its great talents.’” He then spun that offense into a critique of the inhumanity among the stereotypical Christian Right (note: Shapiro is an Orthodox Jew).

Originally dismissed by my editor and friend, David Swindle, as a puff piece written by a “contrarian narcissist” looking to make a buck off of the latest political controversy on the web, I was half tempted to ignore the story myself. But, certain elements within Poulos’s writing smacked of more than self-congratulatory prose.

Firstly, I noticed that the author blames conservatives for what has been a Leftist problem for decades – specifically that, to a Marxist especially, “everything is political.” (The wording I first heard from a critical studies professor, but an avowed Communist later backed him up.) Secondly, I noticed how the author attempted to defend a religious point of view by claiming that conservatives have none – specifically that they have no mercy. It’s a rather abusive point of view given the history of Marxism, specifically the way socialist governments relate to their constituents. Yet, it works to elevate progressive liberalism/Marxism to a holy state of reverence.

The bottom line is that critiques like this are published consistently.  They seem fairly innocuous to most people because they address cultural issues as opposed to pressing political ones. But, I couldn’t help but wonder if they play an integral part in the broader disinformation campaign actively at work within our culture. So, I reached out to Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa for his take on the story.

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(Warning: Profanity)

Poulos’ story smacks of disinformation. Remember? There is a major condition for a disinformation to succeed: to be built around a “kernel of truth” that would lend credibility. Shapiro’s 130-word  post about Hoffman’s death provided that kernel of truth. The rest of Poulos’ story is, in my view, a diversion. Hoffman’s horrible death risked stirring up ugly debates about liberals’ legalization of drugs in the US, and Poulos did  his best to change the subject. In the process, he demonized Shapiro’s conservatism.

Poulos story looks to me like a version of  Hillary’s “It takes a Village.” That was another diversion. In 1996 she was  defending her involvement in Whitewater & Travelgate, and she changed the subject. Hillary also killed two birds with one stone — remember Obama’s “if you’ve got a  business, you did not build that”?

Hillary’s diversion worked–in spite of all her problems,  she became a US senator.

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The Saddest, Scariest Millennial Statistic You’ll See Today

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Who are the millennial generation, and what does their rise mean for the future of the country?

Everyone is trying to figure millennials out — what makes them tick, what they care about. Like previous generations, millennials aren’t monolithic. They don’t all agree with each other on society and politics anymore than previous generations did. There are some divisions among millennials that hinge on racial background — white millennials prefer less government, while non-white millennials strongly prefer more. While they are more liberal on average than previous generations, according to Pew Research’s most recent major study, we all tend to be more liberal when we’re young and don’t own anything, and haven’t yet met the iron hand of the taxman. Not all of today’s earnest young liberals will remain so.

A couple of statistics suggest that many millennials will never outgrow their youthful leftism. One stat suggests that they are bequeathing a generation that will be even more in favor of big government than their own generation.

According to Pew:

Millennials lead all generations in the share of out-of-wedlock births. In 2012, 47% of births to women in the Millennial generation were non-marital, compared with 21% among older women. … In 1996, when Gen Xers were about the same age that Millennials were in 2012, just 35% of births to that generation’s mothers were outside of marriage (compared with 15% among older women in 1996).

Millennials are slower to marry than previous generations. They have moved the median marriage age up to 29 for men and 27 for women. They are largely delaying marriage because they are loaded down with massive student debt, and because there are few jobs available to them upon which they can build their lives. The current Democratic administration’s anti-jobs policies are largely to blame for the latter. The lack of accountability in university practices and tuition is largely to blame for the former. Millennials are being squeezed by the Obama economy. Yet they remain more likely to vote for Democrats, if they vote.

I’m not here to slam single parenthood, but single parenthood has proven to be a very strong predictor of one’s economic outcome and one’s politics, meaning, one’s relationship to the government and the policies one tends to vote for. Simply put, single adults tend to vote in a certain way, and children of single adults tend to have poorer economic outcomes, which leads to a certain voting pattern. Marriage is a strong predictor of political behavior.

Currently just 26% of millennials — those between age 18 and 33 — are married. At the same age, 36% of GenX and 48% of the Baby Boomers were married. And 69% of millennials say they want to get married, but the lack of jobs is holding them back.

Children who grow up in single parent homes tend to have higher rates of incarceration, higher rates of drug use, lower academic performance, lower overall income — greater overall dependence on government, in one way or another — than children in two-parent homes. They tend to produce less for the economy and cost more taxpayer dollars.

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This Is Morgan Freeman on Helium, And These People Are Smarter Than You

Friday, May 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s Friday afternoon going into a holiday weekend. If you’re sane, you don’t care all that much about politics at the moment. Well, you care. You just care about other things too.

So here’s Morgan Freeman nipping helium and talking astronomy. Because, why not?

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As a drummer since the age of around 11 I guess, I’ve put up with a lot of crap from you people. We’re knuckle-draggers. We’re slow. We’re the guys who couldn’t sing and couldn’t play a chord so we picked up two sticks and started hitting stuff.

Well, it turns out, you’ve all been misjudging us. The science is settled: Drummers are smarter than you. You pretty much owe us drummers everything.

The research suggests that drummers have innate problem-solving skills and a positive impact on communities. Researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet found that, after playing a series of beats, drummers who had better rhythm scored better on a 60-question intelligence test. Seems using all the various parts of a drum kit to keep one steady beat is actually an expression of intrinsic problem-solving abilities.

Furthermore, other studies show that rhythmic music can actually make other people smarter. A University of Washington psychology professor found that his students got higher scores after undergoing rhythmic light and sound therapy. A University of Texas Medical Branch researcher using the same method on elementary and middle school boys with ADD noted an effect comparable to Ritalin. In fact, the boys’ IQ scores actually went up and stayed up.

It gets even crazier, and more primordial, with reports suggesting drumming played a role in our own civilization. Researchers at theUniversity of Oxford discovered that drummers produce a natural “high” when playing together, heightening both their happiness and their pain thresholds. The researchers extrapolated that this rhythmic euphoria may have been pivotal in mankind establishing communities and society. Essentially, drum circles were the very foundation that made human society possible.

You’re welcome. Enjoy last night’s drum off between Will Farrell and Chad Smith.

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When You Live Under Sharia, Being ‘Happy’ Is a Crime

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Mashable and Bloomberg report that Iran’s mullahs are unhappy with six Iranians who created a video of Pharrell’s infectious hit, “Happy.”

The video, which has been made private on YouTube on its original channel but has been grabbed and uploaded by others, shows three men and three women dancing to the deliriously joyous song. The women appear to have committed two crimes against the kings of mullahrky — they’re dancing with men, and they’re not wearing hijabs. Crime #3 is enjoying a single moment of life. The “Happy” six are seen dancing around in an apartment and on a rooftop. Their video picked up 200,000 views before the mullahs got mad about it.

Here is a screenshot from the video. Covering this face would be a crime. I’m not even kidding.

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The “Happy” six were paraded on Iranian TV this week, as examples of what making the mullahs angry can cost you.

Here’s the video that constitutes a crime against sharia law and all that the mad mullahs hold dear.

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See the Photo that Is Enraging Iran’s Tyrants

Monday, May 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has gone backward in time. What was a modernizing country in which many women avoided the burka, as in this photo from Tehran in the 1970s before the revolution…

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…has become a mullahcracy ruled by a few bearded men armed with sixth-century ideas.

This man, Ayatollah Khamenei, rules Iran behind its “elected” presidents and officials.

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Today, he is angry at Iranian actress Leila Hatami.

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Why? Because of the photo on the next page.

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“Moms’ Night Out” Spanks Spider-Man?

Monday, May 12th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

In its opening weekend, it grossed more than it cost to make. On the revenue-per-screen rankings it beat the “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” coming in second only to the R-rated comedy “Neighbors,” which stars Zac Ephron and Seth Rogen.

Moms’ Night Out” (PG) is a feel-good comedy about a harried young mother who just needs a little time away. It offers no hot superstars — unless you count Samwise Gamgee and “Everybody Loves Raymond’s” wife in supporting roles. (Granted, Sarah Drew played the Christian doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but that’s not silver screen, and virgins are so not hot in Hollywood.)

The movie was shot in the glamorous state of Alabama, around Birmingham. Rotten Tomatoes says the critics find it “cheap-looking, unfunny and kind of sexist to boot…a disappointment from start to finish.” Despite the critics wisdom, 85% of the audience liked it. Why?

In a word: relatability.

Ok, I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but it’s a thing.

For the vast majority of Americans, traditional family life connects. Unlike the typical Hollywood production, this film features husbands who faithfully love their wives, women who love to be mothers, people who attend church regularly (not just show up in an empty darkened sanctuary when they’re suicidal, on the lam or searching for Knights Templar treasure). As a bonus, it includes characters who can speak without cursing and cope without drinking.

My lovely bride and I took our teen boys — ages 18 and 15 — to see “Mom’s Night Out.” I laughed and cried. (I blame Trace Adkins for the weeping.) As we climbed the steps to the top of the theatre, I remember thinking, “Look, two parents with two older teenaged boys going to a movie together!” Our younger son liked it so much he took his 19-year-old sister to see it the next day.

The folks who made this movie will likely watch the Oscars from their living rooms, out of curiosity…after they put the kids to bed. And that’s just fine. Because they’ve done something special — they’ve bonded emotionally with the people who do the most important work in the country, and with those of us who admire our wives, mothers and grandmas.

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New Photo Caption Contest: Hollywood Movie Poster Parody – ‘Saving Barack Obama’

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Credit: Washington Free Beacon

Credit: Washington Free Beacon

Drudge linked to this piece from the Washington Free Beacon:

Parody Obama Movie Posters Arrive in L.A. for President’s Visit

‘Saving Barack Obama: A Steven Spielberg Ploy’

Movie posters for a spoof entitled “Saving Barack Obama” have hit Los Angeles ahead of the president’s visit to the city.

The posters, which feature President Obama walking into the horizon between a pair of his teleprompters, have appeared on bus stops and benches throughout Los Angeles, including just outside Melrose Avenue, the main entrance to Paramount Pictures.

A parody of Saving Private Ryan the poster says it is “A Steven Spielberg Ploy,” and its tagline reads, “The mission is a fraud.”

The appearance of the artwork coincides with Obama’s visit to Los Angeles on Wednesday to receive a humanitarian award from Spielberg.

So, for all you loyal contest writers out there, here is your mission should you accept it:

Since the poster tagline reads, “The mission is a fraud,” you are instructed to write the second tagline.

Or, you could just caption the entire movie poster.

But,  be nice because you would not want to insult anyone in Washington or Hollywood now, would you?

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Things We Lost in the Unforgettable Fire

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It has been just about four years since British band Bastille formed and started storming the music world. They started as a six-piece but soon dropped the violinist and cellist, which is a pity. How huge might their biggest hit to date, “Pompeii,” sound if it had serious strings to go along with the monastery vibe in its towering vocals?

In the few years Bastille has been around and whittling themselves down to a four-piece, the two years they have been recording, they have produced one EP, Laura Palmer, and one full album. But that one album is incredible.

The aforementioned “Pompeii” was not the first single release from Bad Blood, but it has been the most successful release to date. It hit number 2 on the UK charts last fall, and number 5 in the US, helping Bad Blood to strong sales in both countries. It also helped Bastille rack up nominations and awards. It has pulled over 90 million views on YouTube. “Pompeii” is that song you keep hearing just about every time you turn on the radio.

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Dive deeper into Bad Blood, though, and “Pompeii” isn’t even the best song there. Neither is the title track. The best track has to be “Icarus.” Or maybe “Things We Lost in the Fire.”

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The first time I heard “Pompeii” I thought Baltimora was back from the musical grave. But Bastille are much, much better than that one-hit wonder.

Unlike most pop of all decades, Bastille’s work  so far has a lived-in feel to it. They’re new but they sound like they’ve been here before. There is a retro synth feel to their sound, and a dash of wit and wisdom in their lyrics. In “Pompeii” the singer tastes the end of the world all around him:

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

Yet after admitting that the victims may have deserved their fate — “We were caught and lost in all of our vices” — he still asks himself, “How am I gonna be an optimist about this?” Good question.

Bastille’s members are young — singer Dan Smith is 27, keyboardist Kyle Simmons is 26, drummer Chris Wood is 28 and only bassist William Farquarson is 30 — but their lyrics carry a sense of history. It’s not every band that turns out a track about the destruction of an ancient city or a mythological figure. Kansas treated the myth of Icarus in “Carry On Wayward Son.” The Call is a bit closer to Bastille in sound, and treated the death of a city in the 1980s with “The Walls Came Down.”

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That song propelled The Call to a kind of underground stardom through the 80s into the 1990s, but they never broke out of that into the mainstream. The success they deserved constantly eluded them.

A couple of years after The Call dropped Jericho, a European band struck a global nerve with a song that was immortalized in one of the best videos of the age — A-Ha’s “Take On Me.”

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And at around that same time, an Irish band that had already established itself in New Wave dropped one of the greatest rock albums of all time, The Joshua Tree. U2 had already been around for a few years; War was already one of those albums everyone had at least heard of, and Live At Red Rocks was already a hit. “Pride: In the Name of Love” from The Unforgettable Fire album established them as a band that did a bit more with its music than most. Joshua Tree launched U2 to the edge of space.

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30 years later, U2 are rock billionaires and still the top rock act in the world. One secret to their success is their ability to write soulfully without alienating anyone. They’re deep, yet vague, serious yet unspecific. Another is their adaptability. Their sound has always grown into the times. Another is their creativity. Among U2 only Dave “The Edge” Evans can read a sheet of music, and as a guitarist he is far from the skillset of an Eddie Van Halen, yet U2 can pull off sounds that more musically gifted acts can’t touch.

U2 named themselves after a Cold War spy plane. Bastille took their name from the day of a prison’s revolutionary fall, and the date of singer Smith’s birthday — July 14th. Both names seem easy and even shallow, yet suggest something more.

It’s easy to overanalyze why a particular band’s music works for you and another’s doesn’t, and as a political writer I’m definitely prone to overanalyzing. Bastille seems to have a few things in common with these 80s bands that may be their sonic forefathers. They write with the sense of history of both The Call and U2. Their songs go places that most pop acts don’t, but the aforementioned do. Sonically, Bastille and A-Ha could easily share the same stage, though Dan Smith’s voice quality and control put him leagues beyond Morten Harket, Michael Been and even Bono (but maybe not early Steve Walsh). Had Bastille kept the violinist around they might have even come off with an arena rock feel along the lines of Kerry Livgren’s prog rock forerunners.

Bastille has a very, very long way to go before any comparison between them and Kansas and especially U2 should be taken seriously at all. After one album and into recording their second, they’re not there yet, though have already tasted more success than The Call and “Pompeii” stands a chance of sticking around like “Take On Me” has. But as debuts go, Bastille’s has been one of the more successful in a while. The depth in their writing and the qualities in their sound suggest that Bastille won’t fall anytime soon.

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Donald Sterling’s Execrable Ex Has Dragged Us All Into Another Stupid National Soap Opera

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Clippers owner Donald Sterling was recorded in a private conversation, or a series of private conversations, saying heinous and stupid things. If the things he said did not line up with his behavior that would be one thing, but in this case, they do. The NAACP humanitarian award winner has been sued for discriminatory housing practices in the past, and not even by the lawless Obama government. The federal lawsuit against Sterling was in 2006. The NAACP was set to honor him in 2014. Why the NAACP thought him worthy of honor ought to be asked, directly of those who made the decisions on that award.

Sterling remains married. His estranged wife, Rochelle, is suing the girlfriend who taped him, but not for taping him. The girlfriend’s identity depends on whom you ask. V. Stiviano has more aliases than your average spy. According to Rochelle’s lawsuit, she has been known as Vanessa Maria Perez, Monica Gallegos and Maria Valdez. At least. The lawsuit also charges that the woman with a dozen names sidled up to Sterling so she could love wrestle some of his gigantic pile of cash away from him. So to the occupation of professional shape-shifter with the $10k bubbles on her chest, we can add the world’s oldest profession, if the estranged wife’s allegations are true.

The lawsuit was filed last month by Rochelle Sterling, Donald Sterling’s estranged wife. It claims that Stiviano accepted gifts from Donald Sterling purchased with money jointly held by the Clippers owner and Rochelle Sterling without the wife’s knowledge. Rochelle Sterling maintains that Stiviano persuaded her husband to lavish her with expensive gifts, including a 2012 Ferrari, two Bentleys and a 2013 Range Rover totaling more than $500,000.

Well, that’s chump change to a guy who owns a basketball team. It’s lunch money. But if you’re the estranged wife, half of that lunch money is supposed to be yours, so you employ an army of attorneys to court wrestle it back. Those lawyers will end up costing more than the gifts, but it’s the principle of the thing, or something. These monied fools’ antics will soak up headlines for months to come.

It’s fair to note at this point that there doesn’t seem to be a rooting interest for any of us outsiders in any of this. Donald Sterling appears to be a man who believes his billions entitle him to everything and to live above the rules the rest of us live by. He proved, as if it needed proving again, the even an old toad can buy a sexy girlfriend if he has enough money. That girlfriend taped a private conversation and leaked it to one of the worst media outlets in the world. She didn’t even have the decency to stay bought. Her actions raise the question: Was she setting Sterling up from the beginning? The estranged wife may be motivated by noble views of marriage, but is more likely motivated by plain old greed, jealousy and revenge. The NBA, not known as the best-run sports league around, now has decisions to make. Should it deprive Sterling of his private property for being an awful human being? The NBA does have a brand to protect. When the Mavericks’ mad owner, Mark Cuban, is the voice of reason, perhaps it’s time for everyone to re-assess this whole thing and stop being played in what looks like a gigantic wallow in a collapsed marriage in decadent 21st century America.

Clippers players and fans have done nothing wrong. To the extent that there are victims in all this, they are the victims. The Clippers have risen from being one of the league’s worst franchises to playoff contention. I lost interest in professional basketball years ago, but if I cared about it I would cheer for them. The rest of these people don’t deserve our attention.

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Fox Developing TV Series About Jesus’ ‘Lost Years’

Monday, April 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

FX Productions is developing a sort of origins story series — think Smallville or any of the Avengers movies — for the life of Jesus. What can go wrong?

With popularity of Bible-themed projects showing no signs of subsiding, Fox has put in development Nazareth, an event series written/executive produced by David Franzoni (Gladiator) and executive produced by Bob CooperNazareth is the first project under an overall deal for event series that Fox has signed with Cooper and Tyler Mitchell’s Landscape Entertainment. It follows the formative years of Jesus of Nazareth. There had been a lot of interest recently in Jesus’ so called “lost years,” a lesser known period in his life because there is very little written about him from the age of 13, following a pilgrimage to Jerusalem he took with his parents, to age 30, when he began his ministry and was baptized by John the Baptist.

Why doesn’t a TV network try producing a Mohammed’s “lost years” TV show?

They could make it an animated cartoon show.

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Dallas Cowboys Release 2014 Schedule, Begin Early Preparations for Late Season Collapse

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There’s no way to sugar coat this: The Dallas Cowboys’ 2014 schedule is brutal. It would make Attila the Hun look away with trembling lower lip.

America’s Former Team open the season at home against the San Francisco 49ers. Show of hands, who thinks Jerry’s Boys will win that one?

Yeah, it’s at home and it’s the season opener, but Jerry World hasn’t exactly been a fortress for the home team. Going into last season the Cowboys had compiled a record of 17-15 at what is now AT&T Stadium. Last season they went 5-3 at home but lost key games against the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Great Cheesehead Debacle of 2013 was the most painful — the Cowboys capitulated after leading by 23 at halftime to a team that didn’t even have its MVP quarterback. It was a disgraceful result of failing to follow the law that you run the ball when you have the lead, especially when your running back is averaging well over 5 yards per carry.

Don’t get me wrong, AT&T Stadium is great for importing European soccer matches. But the sheer spectacle of Jerry World seems to motivate the NFL’s visiting teams while the home crowd is too busy watching the pole dancers and the gigantic TV to cheer in sync with what’s happening on the field. The Niners will come in ready to roll over their old nemesis, and will probably come out with a season opening win.

Let’s suppose that the Cowboys then reel off a string of wins and get to November 23 with a record of 9-1. They won’t — they face the Seahawks on Oct 12 at Seattle, for one tough match, and have the Saints at home for another. Realistically, the Cowboys will be 5-5 or at best 6-4 after the first 10 games. The Cowboys have been weak in games against non-NFC East opponents over the past couple of years. They face some very difficult non-NFC East opponents in the first part of this season, plus a tricky match against the Texans, who were terrible last season but are always up for the in-state rivalry game.

But again, let’s just say that the Cowboys are 9-1 through Nov 9.

November 23 begins a nasty run. They travel to New York to face the Giants, who might actually be good again this year, then home to the Eagles, at Chicago, at the Eagles, home to the Colts and finish the season at Washington.

Those six games will define the season. The Cowboys over the past few seasons have gone into the late run with a chance to win the NFC East and get to the playoffs. But they have dropped just enough games in the late run to see them miss the post-season. In 2012, they went 3-3 after Thanksgiving and lost to the Redskins in a game that decided their post-season fate. In 2013, they went 3-3 after Thanksgiving, and lost 3 of their last 4 games, including a Jerry World loss to the Eagles that, again, decided their playoff fate.

Now look at this year’s late season run again.

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The Bears will be in their usual dogfight for the NFC North. The Colts have Andrew Luck to pick apart the always generous Dallas D, which if anything got weaker in the offseason. And four NFC East games that will decide who takes the division, including near back-to-back games against the Eagles. The Cowboys were very strong against the East last season, going 5-1, but thanks to their non-divisional games they still went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. They’re not likely to run up a division record like that again this season. None of the East teams look particularly strong, but the Cowboys haven’t used the offseason to get stronger either. They lost two key veterans on the defense, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, while also releasing WR Miles Austin. Austin has been injury-prone, but was still a threat when healthy. Hatcher went to Washington and is already talking smack.

The Cowboys could well go 1-5 during that late stretch, leaving them 9-7 even if they have gone into that stretch in command. The best realistic scenario is for them to get to that point at 5-5 and then break even, to end up with yet another mediocre 8-8 season and miss the playoffs by losing at the Redskins on Dec 28. Watch for Hatcher to close out the season by sacking Tony Romo and causing a fumble, when the Cowboys should have been running the ball anyway.

What the Cowboys will need in that run-in is someone on the sidelines and someone the field who can put some steel into the team and carry them across to the playoffs. But that’s the kind of personnel that the recent vintage Cowboys have lacked the most.

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Seth Meyers Isn’t Funny

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

When I’m watching late night talk shows, it’s generally Conan or Jimmy Kimmel. Fallon strikes me as lazy but he’s growing on me.

I caught last night’s Late Night with Seth Meyers show and, frankly, I wish I hadn’t. He’s terrible.

 

He should’ve lost me with the monologue, which was full of weak obviousness. He led with an Earth Day joke in which a guy scolded him about throwing away a banana peel.

Banana peels are biodegradable, but whatever. He did a joke about AOL, meatballs, the shrinking middle class, and a bunch of other totally forgettable one-liners. I challenge you to laugh at just one of his monologue jokes.

He did some canned bit about 1980s NFL pencils. I used to have several of those pencils, so I could identify with collecting them when you were a kid. But the bit was just bad.

He did a “Deep Google” bit which could’ve very been funny, but wasn’t funny at all. It came off as embarrassingly contrived. Maybe that’s his schtick?

He did a bit in which he got romantic with planet earth because of Earth Day. It was awful. Painfully unfunny. Here, watch it if you want to, but it’s 3:30 you’ll never get back.

Then he had Sofia Vergara on. She can light up a black hole, but Meyers’ segment with her — bad. No chemistry.

Then he had Natalie Dormer on. She’s on Game of Thrones and is now filming the next Hunger Games movie. Dormer has been on everything, from The Tudors to Elementary and now the most talked-about show on earth.

Meyers mostly talked with her about running.

So, Meyers had two gorgeous actresses who are at the top of their games on his set, one right after the other, and he still managed to not be very interesting. The show would have flowed better if he had been cut out of both of those interviews entirely.

I didn’t stick around after the Dormer interview.

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This Is An Actual, Serious CNN Headline

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s nice to see that the Clinton News Network has taken a break from Ancient Aliens Meets Flight 370 to cover Justin Bieber and the urgent stories of our day.

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First Photos Emerge from Star Wars VII Set

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A pair of photos from the set of Star Wars VII have hit the ‘net. They don’t show much, other than to confirm that shooting on the first true sequel to the Star Wars franchise since Return of the Jedi is underway. It’s set for release in December 2015.

The photos show a desert landscape in Dubai, which has replaced unstable Tunisia as the backdrop for Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine. The second shows what appears to be props to build the foot of an imperial AT-AT. They made their first appearance in 1979′s Empire Strikes Back, in the battle for ice planet Hoth.

Sightings Of The Set Of Star Wars

 

R2-D2 is the only confirmed character to return from the earlier films, but others are expected to make cameo appearances, at least. Disney now owns, and J.J. Abrams now directs, the Star Wars franchise.

h/t HuffPo

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What Kind of an Idiot Names His PAC ‘Boats ‘N Hoes’?

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This kind.

Political consulting firm employee Shaun Nowacki registered the political action committee, “Boats ‘N Hoes PAC,” with the Texas Ethics Commission on April 1, according to state records.

Nowacki is listed as comptroller for Blakemore and Associates Consulting Firm, whose namesake, Allen Blakemore, is the “senior strategist” for Republican Dan Patrick’s lieutenant governor campaign. The firm also advised Greg Abbott, the GOP nominee for governor, during eight previous campaigns from 1991 to 2004, according to Blakemore’s website.

The distance from that dope to major Texas GOP candidates is considerable, but not enough to keep Democrats from squawking about it. That’s politics. Republicans quickly distanced themselves from the idiotically named PAC, which seems to be named after a comedic, and probably offensive to many, rap in the 2008 movie Step Brothers, which starred Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.

Perhaps registering it on April 1 is supposed to make it some sort of prank, but whether that’s the case or not, it backfired. The Democrats pounced and commenced with the usual “war on women” bits.

That name constitutes a war on taste and good sense. It’s fair to seriously question the judgement of the individual who registered it, even as a joke.

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CBS Reveals that Stephen Colbert Will Replace Letterman

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s an odd choice, but CBS has made it official: Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as host of The Late Show once Letterman retires.

I say it’s an odd choice because Colbert plays a character on his Comedy Central show. He’s parodying Bill O’Reilly. Does he bring that schtick to a full talk show at CBS, or does he leave it behind and re-invent himself?

The safe bet would be to stick with what brought him success so far, but the safe bet would not have been to bring Colbert to The Late Show in the first place. Craig Ferguson would have made a good replacement, as he already has a talk show on CBS. He just would have had to move forward an hour, and probably polish up a thing or two. His show carries forward with the wackiness that Letterman had, a long time ago.

Colbert…I don’t know.

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Blame Obama: Archie To Be Killed Off

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Nothing is sacred.

Not even Archie Andrews is immortal in the world of comics.

Archie Comics says the famous comic book character will heroically sacrifice himself while saving the life of a friend in a July installment of “Life with Archie.” The comic book series tells the story of grown-up renditions of Archie and his Riverdale gang.

Archie’s final moments will be detailed in “Life with Archie” No. 36, while issue No. 37 will jump forward a year and focus on his friends Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Reggie honoring the legacy of their red-headed pal, who first appeared in comics in 1941.

If they are so determined to bring realism to comic books they should have Archie die while waiting for surgery that he can’t get because it isn’t covered on his Obamacare “Bronze” plan.

For the record: I was always a Veronica guy.

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Letterman Calling It Quits Next Year

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Has Leno called CBS yet?

David Letterman, the longest-running host in the history of late-night television, announced that he will retire from his CBS show next year, the latest shakeup in a rapidly changing late night talk-show lineup.

Mr. Letterman, who has always used his show as the outlet for discussing developments in both his life and his career, revealed his decision during a taping Thursday afternoon in Manhattan.

Mr. Letterman, 66, said he had informed the CBS president, Leslie Moonves, of his intention to step down from “The Late Show” at the end of his current contract, which expires in 2015. Mr. Letterman is considered by many to be the most original voice in the late-night format, and Mr. Moonves has been steadfast in his assurances in recent years that he would never ask Mr. Letterman to retire, saying at one point, “You don’t do that to a television legend.”

His departure will mean that the coveted 11:35 pm time slot will have a largely new lineup of hosts. In January of 2013, Jimmy Kimmel moved his ABC show from midnight to 11:35, and in February Jimmy Fallon replaced Jay Leno on NBC’s “Tonight” show.

Yes, I know that Letterman has been phoning it in for a few years and went off the lefty political deep end during the 2012 election, but for a good chunk of the ’80s and ’90s he knew how to bring it. I’ve been around so long I remember when he was doing stand-up even before he became a regular guest-host on The Tonight Show. The battle between him and Leno to take over Johnny Carson’s spot was some of the best behind the scenes television drama ever (Bill Carter, who wrote the above-linked article, authored a great book about it called The Late Shift).

I was only half kidding about Leno calling CBS. Jay is a noted workaholic and more than likely wasn’t thrilled with having to exit NBC this year.

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VIDEO — Fallon Rips Obama AGAIN, This Time Over Russia — With Sarah Palin at His Side!

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Russian President Vladimir Putin says “I come from strong genes, Obama comes from Mom jeans.”

His opposite in this Jimmy Fallon sketch: Sarah Palin. Showing solid comedic chops.

The Tonight Show audience seems to love her. Take a look.

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h/t Glenn Beck

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WATCH — Jimmy Fallon Mocks Obama’s 7 Million Triumphalism

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

While the mainstream media report the Obama administration’s Obamacare enrollment figure uncriticially, Jimmy Fallon pokes a few holes. Take a look.

Fallon didn’t even slow jam the bad news: “It’s amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory, and fine people if they don’t do it, and keep extending the deadline for months. It’s like a Cinderella story.”

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Rachel Ray Turns Her Show Over to Obamacare Propaganda, Tears Up While Pitching Sign-Up Deadline

Monday, March 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s more and more evident that much of the entertainment industry has merged itself with the Obama administration. Following Ellen, Funny or Die and many other entertainment outlets shilling for President Obama’s unpopular law, celebrity chef and talker Rachel Ray has done the same. She had Vice President Joe Biden on to urge Americans to sign up for Obamacare.

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Ray even thanked the Obama administration directly for imposing its unpopular and non-functional law on the American people. Neither Ray nor Biden mentioned any of the Americans who have lost their coverage because of Obamacare, or who have faced terrible problems because of it. Effectively, they don’t exist — just like Harry Reid said.

h/t NRO

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MSNBC’s Golden Boy Loses to Re-Run of Golden Girls, May Be Canned

Monday, March 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

MSNBC’s decision to hang its future on 28-year-old TV rookie Ronan Farrow never made a lot of sense. He has famous parents and lots of Twitter followers, but no TV experience and no background that suggests he’s anything other than a predictable Hollywood liberal bloviator.

The NYDN reports that Farrow’s show is performing poorly — very poorly — and may go away soon.

Ronan Farrow’s MSNBC talk show is facing cancellation amid poor ratings, sources exclusively tell Confidenti@l.

Farrow, 28 — the opinionated, blue-eyed son of actress Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra (even Farrow’s not sure which) — has been a disaster for MSNBC. The channel took the frequent cable-show guest and handed him his own program, “Ronan Farrow Daily,” which premiered in late February.

“He sort of stinks on TV,” an MSNBC source told Confidenti@l. “He hasn’t turned out to be the superstar they were hoping for.”

The golden boy can’t even beat the 1990s comedy Golden Girls:

Even worse: Wednesday’s show was 708th among all programming ranked by Nielsen, in both total viewers and the 18-to-49 age group advertisers covet. The midnight airing of “Baggage” on the Game Show Network came in ahead of it, at No. 707, and the 8 a.m. “Golden Girls” on the Hallmark Channel (No. 700) crushed it.

It’s shocking, really, that Farrow’s story about Bronies — while war looms in Europe — didn’t turn his fortunes around.

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Two Awesome Takes on the Noah Movie

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I’ll get the disclosure out of the way: I haven’t seen Darron Aronofsky’s Gladiator meets Prometheus version of the Biblical account of Noah and the flood. I don’t really intend to see it, at least while it’s in the theaters.

But I have read Erick Erickson’s review of the film, which is so good I’ll probably end up catching Noah once it’s at Redbox and I want to have a laugh. Having a bad day? Watch Noah!  The days of the ancients and the foundations of our culture as a big-screen laugh-fest — what an idea! Mel Brooks did it first, but whatever. Erickson sees Noah as a feel-good romping comedy with sci-fi touches. His review is certainly more entertaining than Kathleen Parker’s dour take on evangelical reaction to it. But she’s kind of a Beltway clown anyway. Adam and Eve as space aliens? Rock monsters? Magical snake skins? Unicorn genocide? Whatever. The Biblical account is strange enough. Did Hollywood really need to give the Ancient Aliens guys the biggest big-screen shout-out they’ve had since X-Files went away?

On the other hand, Sarah Rumpf sees something else in Noah. Not only is it nothing like Genesis, it’s not even original. It’s a crafty rehash of another recent successful film. Click over to her blog to see which one. She makes a pretty good case.

But here’s a thought. The entertainment-industrial complex usually goes out of its way to offend and put off a huge market — evangelicals, Catholics and other traditional believers (except Muslims — mustn’t lose our heads!). Apparently they don’t really want our money that bad, perhaps we should stop giving it to them. Hollywood is now so far gone that even when they do get around to making something that might appeal to those audiences, they manage to mock those audiences anyway. When you believe in nothing, nothing is sacred, and the only group whose ox you won’t gore is the one that credibly threatens to kill you if you do.

Ages ago, Bill Cosby did a riff on Noah that was hilarious while also being respectful. “What’s an ark?!?” But then again, unlike most of today’s entertainment titans, Cosby had talent that went beyond making explosions and tying everything to the latest political fads.

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Guess Who this Duck Dynasty Star Wants to Take Hunting

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson appeared on the Laura Ingraham Show Monday. Ingraham asked the Duck Dynasty star who he would like to take out to the sticks for a duck hunt. Robertson gave a surprising answer: He’d like to take Obama.

“I’d like to talk and debate and find out what’s going on in his brain a little more,” Robertson said to explain his choice. He said that he likes to debate people he disagrees with. The Robertsons are outspoken Christians who pray together as a family at the end of each Duck Dynasty show. They have also become outspoken conservatives. They helped conservative businessman Vance McAllister win a special election in Louisiana in 2013.

Robertson said he would like to chat with Obama to see if he can change his thinking. There would certainly be a lot to talk about. The president’s signature legislation, Obamacare, forces businesses to conform to the president’s mandates. Robertson said he has met Obama a couple of times, and would like to “sit out there and talk” while duck hunting. “There’s been many a debate over politics and religion” during Robertson duck hunts, he said, allowing that this past season provided lots of time to debate “the state of the world.”

If the presidential hunt happened, the greater likelihood is that Barack Obama, who has never run a business or held a serious non-political job prior to the presidency, would use the time to lecture the multimillionaire CEO on how to run his successful family business.

h/t Mediaite

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Open Thread: Best Wheel Of Fortune Guess EVER (VIDEO)

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Even the control room was stunned and took a few seconds to acknowledge that he’d gotten it right away.

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Barack Obama Takes Up Ventriloquism. Oh, Wait, that’s Just Really Weird Staging on Ellen’s Show.

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

What the…?

The staging makes Ellen DeGeneres look like a ventriloquist’s puppet, or a chirpy little kid.

“You know I’m a fan, Ellen, but your acting is a little wooden!”

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During the segment, the president took a break from keeping his March Madness bracket updated to talk about tattoos, selfies, and his mom jeans. So, it was pretty much like his appearances on the regular network news shows.

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VIDEO — Obama Announces More Sanctions Against Russian Officials, Appears on Ellen

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama announced today that the United States will levy additional sanctions against Russia for invading and annexing Crimea. Up to today, the president had levied sanctions against 11 Russians, who had laughed those sanctions off.

The president said that the new sanctions will hit more officials and others who provide “material support” for Russia’s government.

The entertainment president concluded his remarks and left. He touts Obamacare on the em>Ellen DeGeneres Show today. Justin Timberlake appears on the same episode as the President of the United States.

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Geraldo to Compete on Celebrity Apprentice Next Season. Obama Rumored to be Prepping for 2017 Season with Dale Carnegie Training.

Friday, March 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Fox’s Geraldo Rivera learns to stop hoping for death on the battlefield, looks to get fired in a pretend boardroom.

TMZ reports that Fox News host Geraldo Riverawill compete in the upcoming season of Celebrity Apprentice, the NBC reality series in whichDonald Trump puts on a stern face and coins phrases like “You’re fired” while B-list celebrities run around making fools of themselves for charity or something.

According to TMZ’s “spies,” Rivera and formerCosby Show star Keshia Knight Pulliam are among the show’s newest roster of cast members.

Rivera may also face off against a couple of Real Housewives alums and Kate Gosselin. So, he has no chance of actually winning.

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Jimmy Kimmel Crushes #SXSW’s Insular Universe of Insidery, Self-Love and Smug

Friday, March 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

“What do love about DJ Heavy Flo?”

How about Willie Nelson Mandella? “Do you enjoy the band I’m Not Done With the Salad?”

“Which do you like better, Vegan Bikini or DJ Metamucil?”

None of these bands exist. But no one on Kimmel’s Lie Witness News was honest enough to admit that.

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Basically, people never want to look like they’re not in the know when they’re in a crowd that is organized entirely around how much in the know you are.

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Obama Takes His Entertainment Career to New Heights; Defends Wearing Mom Jeans with Ryan Seacrest

Friday, March 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Barack Obama may be the President of the United States, and while he’s flopping badly in that role, he is quickly building up a formidable entertainment career. Fresh from appearing on Funny or Die’s “Between Two Ferns,” Obama stepped up a few notches to Ryan Seacrest’s national radio show. Entertainment industry insiders, agents and teenage girls know what a coup it is for any talent to get a few minutes with Seacrest, and Obama made the most of his visit. Take a listen.

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Seacrest, widely regarded as the king of entertainment media these days, complimented Obama for appearing comfortable in the Gap’s women’s wear department. Most men, as Seacrest noted, are uncomfortable any time they venture anywhere near any women’s clothing department, even if they’re just passing through one at Walmart on the way to the sporting goods section. It just feels wrong. To most men, including Seacrest. But not Obama.

Seacrest brought up a sensitive subject: Obama’s penchant for wearing “mom jeans.” Obama vigorously defended his choice of denim wear, stating forcefully that he was “unfairly maligned,” that he “looks sharp,” and that his jeans “fit very well.” Entertainment industry watchers took that as a hint that Obama may move into modeling, and even introduce his own line of skinny jeans at next year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. By then, Obama will have lost Congress and Russia will have swallowed up Eastern Europe and fractured NATO beyond repair. Obama will be in the waning years of his presidency, and looking for a way to connect with the hipster crowd and continue his rise in the world dominated by the Kardashians and Real Housewives fare.

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Open Thread: 17 Equations That Influenced History

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

You remember all of these, right?

stewart 17 equations table corrected

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With His Signature Policy in Deep Trouble, President Obama Naturally Turns to Boy Band Pop Singer Lance Bass for Help

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In which the American Idol presidency comes to a logical move.

SooperMexican was impressed.

As was Iowa Hawk:

It’s evident that Barack Obama sought the presidency just to launch some sort of entertainment career.

Dana Loesch reports on a parallel developing story.

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These People Know How ‘Game of Thrones’ Will End.

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

You’ll learn a couple of things from this Vanity Fair piece. One, George R. R. Martin really does know what happens to the universe of Game of Thrones and everyone within it. Two, being a Democrat president who talks endlessly about “equality” has its unequal advantages.

In the April issue of Vanity Fair, on stands March 13, show co-creator David Benioff tells Windolf, “Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with him [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be. If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.” Martin tells Windolf, “I can give them the broad strokes of what I intend to write, but the details aren’t there yet. I’m hopeful that I can not let them catch up with me.”

Windolf also asks Benioff and Weiss about the recent rumors that President Obama receives screeners of the show to watch before the general public. In an e-mail, they jointly reply, “One perk of being the most powerful man in the world: yes, you get to see episodes early.”

It’s no secret that if the president was not a celebrity Democrat, GoT’s producers wouldn’t be so friendly. They put the last Republican president’s head on a pike.

got-bush

 

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Uh-Oh! Another Movie Is Causing Problems Across the Islamic World…

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Russell Crowe has earned himself a fatwa in three Islamic countries — so far — for his epic film Noah:

One of the world’s most respected Islamic institutions has issued a fatwa against a Hollywood epic about Noah’s Ark because it ‘contradicts the teachings of Islam’.

Russell Crowe’s £75million film Noah has also been banned in three Arab countries after religious leaders complained that it depicted the Biblical figure – who is also a holy messenger in the Koran.

Due to premiere later this month, the blockbuster will not show in Qatar, Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates and several other countries are expected to follow suit.

Their beef against Noah is that it depicts a figure deemed to be holy in Islam. That is haram, whether the depiction is flattering or not. Non-Muslims don’t do haram, but these folks would like to force us to.

Crowe’s Noah is apparently just odd, as the Genesis epic reportedly runs off into global warming alarmism. That wasn’t a political or religious issue in Noah’s day. Or, if it was, it had nothing to do with cars and airplanes and the use of internal combustion engines, leaving Al Gore with a massive sad.

Director Darren Aronovsky didn’t even rely heavily on his source material, or respect the Christian audiences most likely to want to see the film.

“Noah is the least biblical biblical film ever made,” Aronofsky is quoted as saying. “I don’t give a fuck about the test scores! My films are outside the scores. Ten men in a room trying to come up with their favourite ice cream are going to agree on vanilla. I’m the rocky road guy.”

Classy. That’s reaching out to your target audience!

Back to the fatwa.

The fatwa – a ruling or injunction under the laws of Islam – was made by the influential Al-Azhar institution in Egypt’s capital Cairo, a centre of Sunni Islam thought which was founded in around AD970 and includes a university and a mosque.

‘Al-Azhar… renews its objection to any act depicting the messengers and prophets of God and the companions of the Prophet (Mohammad), peace be upon him,’ it announced in a statement.

The fatwa added that the depictions ‘provoke the feelings of believers… and are forbidden in Islam and a clear violation of Islamic law’.

Oddly enough, there isn’t yet a fatwa against Son of God.

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You’re In Austin for #SXSW2014. But Where Are You Gonna Eat?

Thursday, March 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A couple hundred thousand inventors, entertainers, musicians, hucksters, hawkers, vendors, earnest young liberals and other assorted types are descending on Austin, Texas even as I write this. I went downtown to get badged for SXSW 2014 over lunchtime and the place is already transforming from its usual zoo-like self into a full-blown zoo. And I’m telling you right now, if you’re one of them, you’re going to get tired of the food in the convention center. It’s good, but you’re in Austin. This is one of the most difficult places in the entire world to find a bad place to eat. Even the taco trucks around here range from good to excellent. So have fun and eat up. Here are a few suggestions on places to go, from someone who lives here.

Iron Works BBQ. This institution is right down the street from the convention center. It’s not outrageously priced, and it is authentic Austin BBQ. The lines are sure to be long this week, but you owe it to yourself to stop in and savor the brisket at Iron Works at least once while you’re here. You won’t even need a car to get there, just some patience this week. 100 Red River Street

Texas Chili Parlor. If you do have a car or other means of transport, the Texas Chili Parlor is worth a visit. It’s a hole in the wall, I’m not gonna lie, but it’s got loads of character. It also has good food, if you like Texas-style chili and Fritos.  1409 Lavaca Street

Piranha Killer Sushi. I’m guilty of being a native Texan, but I’m also guilty of having lived in Japan and of knowing my way around a sushi bar. Austin is home to plenty of great Asian restaurants including everything from Chinese to Korean to Vietnamese and just about everything else. Piranha is among the top sushi spots in town. It has a great menu, nice clean decor, and it’s not a million miles from the convention center. It’s also not cheap, yet not likely to break your bank. 207 San Jacinto Blvd

Serrano’s. Tex-Mex at or near its best, and it’s not a daylong hike from the convention center. Serrano’s has an extensive margarita menu, the salsa is hot, and if the weather isn’t, you can enjoy yourself out on the patio/amphitheater that overlooks the river. 1111 Red River Street

The Oasis. You’re going to need a car to get to this one, but if you have wheels and time, it’s worth it. I’m not gonna lie, while the food is good it is not the main reason to visit the Oasis. The killer view of Lake Travis is the reason to visit to the Oasis. The hilly area to Austin’s north and west looks a bit like Tuscany (ok, a small bit. I’m not sure that Tuscany has cacti and pickup trucks everywhere). Go to the Oasis around sunset and you’ll thank me later. Directions to the Oasis here.

Bacon. Bacon made last year’s SXSW list of places to eat. It makes this year’s list of places to eat. It will always make the list of Austin places to eat for as long at it exists, because bacon makes everything better. It just does. And Bacon’s menu is based entirely on bacon. The only downside is that the restaurant is about one-tenth the size it needs to be.  10th & Lamar

El Arroyo. More Tex-Mex, but this is Austin so what did you expect? El Arroyo (“the ditch”) is another local institution. Get the shrimp diablo. Always get the shrimp diablo. Trust me on this. 1624 W 5th

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