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The Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness

Saturday, January 24th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

I went to college 40 years too early.

If you peruse the syllabi of many college courses today, you could easily load up on classes where you were guaranteed an “A” as long as you showed up fairly often and had the proper “attitude” toward the white, male “patriarchy.”

In other words, if you are even halfway creative at trashing white people — white males in particular — your chances of acing a course are excellent.

If they offered some of these courses when I was in college, I’d have graduated summa cum laude.

Today’s outrageous violation of common sense and high educational standards comes to us via Campus Reform, which discovered a course on the “problem of whiteness” at Arizona State University.

At Arizona State University (ASU), students can now learn about the “problem of whiteness” in America.

The public university is offering an English class to its students this semester called “Studies in American Literature/Culture: U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness.”

According to the class description on ASU’s website, students will be reading The Possessive Investment in Whiteness, Critical Race Theory, Everyday Language of White Racism, Playing in the Dark, and The Alchemy of Race and Rights.

At time of publication, 18 students were enrolled in the course offered at ASU’s Tempe campus. Students can receive three credits for successfully completing the course.

The class syllabus is not available online.

“I think it shows the significant double standard of higher education institutions,” James Malone, a junior economics major, told Campus Reform. “They would never allow a class talking about the problem of ‘blackness.’ And if they did, there would be an uproar about it. But you can certainly harass people for their apparent whiteness.”

The course, first reported by the Pundit Press, is taught by Lee Bebout, an assistant professor of English at ASU. According to his faculty page, critical race theory is one of his research interests.

Bebout, who is white, has previously taught classes titled “Transborder Chicano Literature,” “Adv Studies Theory/Criticism,” and “American Ethnic Literature,” among others.

I would recommend, if you were to take this course, not to bring your critical thinking skills into the classroom with you. Your head might explode from all the contradictions.

I will note that Arizona State is not known for its academic achievement or list of scholars. It is, however, known as one of the top ten party schools in America.

So, before you start knocking back those Jagermeister jello shots, just remember to check your whiteness at the door. How can you have a good time unless you realize the “problem” with your whiteness? You might also leave your gonads with someone you trust. Wouldn’t want to accidentally be accused of sexual harassment — or worse — by asking some comely lass where she got that lovely sweater. Not only would you be hauled into court for your insensitivity to members of the female persuasion, but your whiteness would no doubt be thrown in your face as your conduct identifies you as a member of the white patriarchy, for which you should be sentenced to a million hours of community service — and no jello shots.

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Bill O’Reilly Compares Internet Climate to Nazi Propaganda

Saturday, January 24th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

The topic of Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Talking Points Memo on Friday was “How the Internet is Deceiving You.” Using an attack on the film American Sniper by Vox’s Amanda Taub as an example, O’Reilly said, “The far left is going nuts launching hateful attacks on the film and on Mr. Kyle and most of the libel is found on the net.”

O’Reilly said that Taub may even be a terrorist sympathizer, citing an article she wrote trying to explain the actions of the terrorists who blew up a school in Pakistan.

“Here we have Taub providing the rationale for the slaughtering of innocent school children,” O’Reilly said. “Does it get much worse?”

He complained that her article about American Sniper was posted “on a number of sites including Yahoo.”

“But those providers did not tell you, the reader, who Amanda Taub is, or the quality of the organization for whom she works. They just post her disgusting stuff without any context,” O’Reilly continued.

“The chief danger here is not from a propagandist here like Amanda Taub. It’s the entire internet climate,” he said. “Americans are often presented with information that’s false, libelous, and distorted in the extreme. There are no journalistic standards on the net. Few websites even have editors looking at it. They just post this stuff and walk away.”

It’s a fair-enough criticism. Anyone can create a blog or put up a website that has the look and feel of a legitimate news site. Fact-checking is sometimes an afterthought.

O’Reilly thinks this free flow of information (and misinformation) poses a great danger to our republic:

“Unfortunately, many Americans believe what they read and therefore there is a danger to the republic,” he said. “If you know anything about history you know that dictators, both on the left and on the right, first control the press. The Nazis and the communists put out a steady stream of garbage brainwashing their population. To some extent, that is happening now in free societies with the elevation of the net. And it’s flat-out dangerous.”

Has Bill O’Reilly been to N. Korea lately? Or to China (that allegedly burgeoning bastion of capitalism and freedom)? A friend recently returned from a business trip to China and said both Facebook and Google were blocked there. He had to use Microsoft Outlook to send and receive email. “That pesky free exchange of ideas thing,” he said sarcastically.

Nomiki Konst, a political strategist and former Huffington Post blogger, joined Bill O’Reilly after his Talking Points Memo and reminded him that the Nazis had very limited vehicles with which to release their propaganda. Today, she said, there are “literally millions of ways to communicate different messages to different echo chambers.”

She asked him if he wanted to regulate the internet.

O’Reilly, who clearly doesn’t understand how the interwebs and news aggregator sites work, said he doesn’t want to regulate small sites like Vox but said, “When it gets over into the big ones like Google and Yahoo and all of these things and they just post it with no context, that’s propaganda, it’s wrong, and it’s happening all over the place. ”

O’Reilly said he thinks readers ought to know what a writer’s “worldview” is and that it should be clear where writers are coming from.

“If you write an op-ed in a newspaper, it tells at the bottom who you are and what agency you’re coming from. It doesn’t do it on the net.”

Well, except for that whole charade of the unsigned newspaper editorials that we are led to believe are right-down-the-middle pieces, written by trained journalists who have no biases whatsoever. And if we were to use O’Reilly’s truth-in-journalism standards, a large percentage of op-eds over the last 50 years should have been carrying labels that read: WARNING: LIBERAL BIAS. Also, where were the warnings about the danger to our republic when the “Big 3″ networks had far-left “real journalists” like Dan Rather feeding Americans their news on a nightly basis?

Konti told O’Reilly that the best way to rebut opinions that he didn’t like was by having more opinions. “We’re in a free society where we have freedom of speech and you just rebutted hers. That’s the best way to do it.”

In a later segment of the show, O’Reilly discussed the problem with Geraldo Rivera and they both worried about the proliferation of opinions floating around the internet without the guiding hand of “trained journalists.” It’s clear that O’Reilly is nostalgic for the days when just a handful of powerful individuals controlled the media and the flow of information.

The democratization of information is at once powerful and terrifying and liberating, but the technology can’t be undone — the information revolution is here to stay. More speech (and more excellent speech) is what is needed, not regulation.

 

 

 

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Nancy Pelosi Is Asked if a 20-Week Unborn Baby Is a Human Being. Watch What Happens…

Saturday, January 24th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

 

A reporter from CNSNews asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi to weigh in on whether she thinks an unborn child at 20 weeks gestation is a human being.

The House minority leader’s silence on the issue was deafening.

It’s not as if Pelosi had nothing to say — she unleashed a two-minute diatribe upon the offending reporter — it’s just that she completely avoided answering the question that was actually asked.

“Is an unborn child 20 weeks into pregnancy a human being?” the CNSNews reporter asked Pelosi during a press briefing on Thursday.

“You know what, what we’re talking about on the floor of the House is something that says politicians should determine what effects the health of a woman, her life, her health, and the rest,” Pelosi said.  ”I don’t think it’s up to politicians to do that. And that’s why we are very overwhelmingly opposing what is going on on the floor of the House.”

Pelosi made it clear that she opposes the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit aborting babies at 20 weeks gestation and beyond.

Undeterred, the CNSNews reporter tried again to get a straight answer from Pelosi. ”My question is pretty simple,” the reporter asked. “On the abortion issue, I understand your position on the legislation, but even the legislation aside, when it comes to the matter of whether or not an unborn child is a human being at 20 weeks gestation, what is your personal take on it. If it is not a human being, then what do you believe it is?”

It’s not a complicated question. In what category does Pelosi put that kicking, wriggling little “thing” inside a mother’s womb — the little “thing” that science tells us at 20 weeks has hair on the head, eyelashes and eyebrows, fingernails, and functioning kidneys? Is that 10 1/2 ounce “thing” that has its own unique DNA and fingerprints a human, a vegetable, an alien, or something else?

Ms. Pelosi refused to answer the question directly, but she made it clear that it’s only the women of reproductive age (is it because they can vote Democrat?) that she cares about.

“You know it is really interesting that you would come to these meetings to talk about it,” Pelosi scolded the reporter. “The fact is is what we have said: The life and the health of the mother is what is preeminent in when a decision is made about a woman’s reproductive health. It isn’t an ideological fight, it is a personal health issue,” she said.

Anyone who has followed the abortion debate for more than five minutes knows that pro-abortion advocates have fought tooth and nail to make sure the phrase “health of the mother” includes emotional health, which can be broadly interpreted to include just about anything, including the emotional stress of pregnancy.

Pelosi went on to say she has “great standing on the issue” because she’s is a mother of five, as if that gives her some sort of moral authority to impose a death sentence on nearly a million babies in the U.S. every year.

“So, in any event, this is up to women, their conscience, their God, their doctor, their health, their fate, their survival.  And that is what the decision should be. Decisions about women’s reproductive health should not be made by politicians in Washington, D.C., but should honor the decisions that have been made by the Supreme Court, a decision made by the Supreme Court, recognizing the right of women to have that choice,” Pelosi said.

But a 20-week gestation female with fallopian tubes and a uterus — a tiny individual created in the image of God, who sucks her thumb and can hear her mommy’s voice — doesn’t get a choice. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t care about her “fate” or her “survival” because, whether she’s willing to admit this ugly truth or not, “politicians in Washington, D.C.” — including Pelosi — have decided that this tiny girl is not human and she has no rights.

Or, there’s an even more ghastly possibility. Pelosi and others who support abortion on demand know full well that what’s in a mother’s womb is human and they’ve simply decided to turn a blind eye to the holocaust the Supreme Court unleashed on the United States with their 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in the name of “reproductive rights.”

They ought to just say which it is and dispense with the doublespeak.

 

 

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White House: OK for Cameron to Lobby Congress Because He Agrees with Obama, But Not Bibi

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House made clear today that it’s accpetable for British Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby Congress against passing Iran sanctions legislation, but it’s not all right for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do so because he doesn’t agree with the administration’s position.

In the fallout of the latest administration fight with Israel, press secretary Josh Earnest today highlighted Cameron’s visit a week ago in which President Obama and his British counterpart tried to discourage congressional action.

“On Iran, we remain absolutely committed to ensuring that Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon,” Cameron said then. “The best way to achieve that now is to create the space for negotiations to succeed. We should not impose further sanctions now; that would be counterproductive and it could put at risk the valuable international unity that has been so crucial to our approach.”

Cameron told reporters that he was contacting a handful of unnamed senators on his Washington trip. “Not in any way as British prime minister to tell the American Senate what it should or shouldn’t do; that wouldn’t be right — but simply to make the point as a country that stands alongside America in these vital negotiations, that it’s the opinion of the United Kingdom that further sanctions or further threat of sanctions at this point won’t actually help to bring the talks to a successful conclusion and they could fracture the international unity that there’s been, which has been so valuable in presenting a united front to Iran,” he said.

Earnest was asked today about that lobbying versus the White House’s anger at Netanyahu’s forthcoming lobbying before a joint session of Congress.

“What we’d prefer is we’d prefer that the Israeli prime minister share the president’s view about our approach to resolving the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program,” Earnest replied. “He doesn’t share that view. We’ve done our best to try to persuade him that pursuing this diplomatic opening that has been created because of the forceful sanctions regime that’s been put in place is one that’s worth pursuing.”

“But time and time again, Prime Minister Netanyahu has indicated that he does not believe that that diplomatic opening is worth pursuing and we have a fundamental disagreement about that.”

He repeated the administration mantra that Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when he visits March 3 because of the proximity to Israeli elections.

But he also couldn’t name any policy that set a specific amount of buffer time between foreign elections and when the president will meet with an incumbent candidate.

For example, Obama visited Berlin three months before German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2013 re-election — and publicly sang the incumbent’s praises.

“I can’t give you a specific time period. I’m not sure that there’s, you know, a big difference between, you know, 28 days or 45 days or 90 days or whatever it is,” Earnest said.

“I think we could all probably — as reasonable observers of the political process — would conclude that having a meeting about two weeks before a national election might raise questions in some quarters about whether or not that was an attempt to interfere or try to influence the outcome of a democratically held election. That’s precisely what we’re trying to avoid. We want to avoid even the appearance of doing so.”

However, Secretary of State John Kerry is flying to Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday ahead of the Feb. 14 election “to emphasize the importance of ensuring the upcoming elections are peaceful, non-violent, and credible.”

Kerry will meet with candidates President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. He won’t be meeting with the dozen other presidential candidates on the ballot.

“They’re entirely different scenarios in our view,” State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said. “…There’s a difference between hosting a meeting exclusively with one candidate in your own country and visiting a country and making clear to all candidates and all parties about the need to keep — reduce violence, about the need to see the electoral process through.”

On why he’s only picking two out of 14 presidential candidates for meetings? “He’s only going to be there a short period of time,” Psaki said. “But it’s not a situation where we’re hosting one candidate or another in our country, or he’s meeting to support one candidate or another.”

Back at the White House, Earnest also today claimed he misheard an important question.

A reporter asked, “Is it safe to say that he would welcome a change of Israeli prime minister?”

“In fact, we would, and that’s a case that we’ve made to him on many occasions, and that case has been made at a variety of levels,” Earnest replied.

Pressed further, he added, “I’m sorry. I thought you said welcome a new position taken by the Israeli prime minister.”

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Think Progress Finds 2 Economists and a Magic Unicorn to Make $15 Minimum Wage Feasible

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Welcome to the other side of the looking glass.

Fast food workers have been staging strikes across the country for the last three years to demand a $15 minimum wage, among other things. Which begs the question: Would raising wages in the industry to that level force companies to lay off workers to reduce costs?

The answer in a new paper is a resounding no. Economists Robert Pollin and Jeannette Wicks-Lim of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst looked at a scenario in which the federal minimum wage gets increased to $10.50 in one year and to $15 three years after that, which in the end would mean a 107 percent increase over the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. They found that instead of having to cut jobs, fast food restaurants could cover the cost of the increase with savings from reducing turnover, higher prices, and greater economic growth.

I made it as far as that paragraph before my first out loud laugh.

As with most progressive think pieces, it is a veritable cornucopia of qualifying. There are enough assumptions and kinda/sorta/maybes to fill Michael Moore at lunchtime here.

The first assumption is that the jump to $10.50 an hour would be so life-changing that it would drastically reduce turnover. This key component also exposes the fact that progressives would prefer to trap people in low income jobs for as long as possible, if not forever. Rather than get someone on the path to being a fast food franchisee, the progs would rather they remain slightly more comfortable fry cooks.

The second assumption is that sales would only suffer a slight dip from the price increases that would have to be put in place, which is a rather bold hope when even McDonald’s is looking at dropping numbers.

So significantly higher wages and the resultant higher prices are going to eventually result in economic growth. Makes sense, no?

No.

Especially when there is a more sensible way to reduce turnover and avoid raising wages:
McDonalds-Machines

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Smart Shoppers Hitting Gun Buyback Events for Bargains

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Making the system work for you.

A recent gun buyback event in Oregon, aimed at curbing the number of weapons on the street, turned into a planned profit making opportunity for a group of firearms enthusiasts.

The Jan. 17 event was co-sponsored by Central Coast Ceasefire Oregon and the Newport Police Department, who offered gift cards to superstore Fred Meyer in return for guns, no questions asked. A sliding scale meant assault rifles fetched $175 gift cards each, and high capacity magazines were worth $25 credits at the store, which ironically sells firearms.

Second Amendment supporters took to OpenCarry.org’s forum to spread the word about the event, and to plan out their attendance to make maximum profit.

“A $25 gift card for “high capacity magazines – like the ones you can buy for $8?” questioned one forum member.

According to the article, others were intercepting people turning in quality guns and offering them more than the buyback but still getting deals.

Here’s a novel idea: why don’t law enforcement officials work on curbing the number of violent criminals on the street? The gun “problem” kind of clears itself up if you focus on that.

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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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Kerry: Calling Violent Extremism Islamic ‘the Biggest Error We Could Make’

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Secretary of State John Kerry said at the World Economic Forum in Davos today that branding terrorism as Islamic is an “error” that could lose the U.S. allies in fighting groups such as ISIS.

“Today we are witnessing nothing more than a form of criminal anarchy a nihilism that illegitimately claims an ideological and religious foundation,” he said.

Kerry said that “obviously the biggest error we could make would be to blame Muslims collectively for crimes not committed by Muslims alone … crimes that their faith utterly rejects.”

“Religions don’t require adherents to raze villages and blow up people,” he said. “It’s individuals with a distorted and an even ignorant interpretation of religion who do that.”

Kerry said foes wouldn’t be defeated by “vilifying potential partners.”

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You Won’t Believe Why Martin Scorsese Is Abandoning His Documentary About Bill Clinton

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Legendary film director Martin Scorsese is a big Bill Clinton fan. In a 2012 statement announcing his intention to film a documentary on the 42nd president, Scorsese gushed that the film would “provide greater insight into this transcendent figure.”

Two years ago, he started to follow Clinton’s globetrotting, filming the ex-president in Africa and elsewhere doing good works, and representing the Clinton Foundation.

But after two years of work, Scorsese has shelved the project because of some outrageous demands by Bill Clinton. It seems that Clinton wanted to be able to approve interview questions in advance as well as have some control over the final cut of the film. This was too much even for a Clinton worshiper like Scorsese, who not only turned Clinton down, but has shut down production for the time being.

The New York Times explains why Clinton wanted so much control:

Clearly, the film carried the risk that an unflattering camera angle, unwelcome question or even an obvious omission by Mr. Scorsese would become a blemish to Mr. Clinton’s legacy or provide fodder for Clinton critics as the 2016 campaign approaches. Apparently to avoid such problems, people close to Mr. Clinton sought to approve questions he would be asked in the film, and went so far as to demand final cut, a privilege generally reserved for directors of Mr. Scorsese’s stature.

Mr. Scorsese’s camp rejected those suggestions and the project was shelved. The film now appears to be years away from completion.

Chelsea Clinton, who left her lucrative NBC News job in August and works closely with her father, was expected to figure in the documentary in some way, and some in the Clinton circle had speculated that she would be credited as a producer. But a spokesman for Ms. Clinton said any notion that she had sought to join the production was “categorically false.”

In recent months, Mr. Clinton’s team has shown increased discipline in keeping the former president on message ahead of his wife’s likely 2016 presidential campaign. Mrs. Clinton is expected to declare her candidacy sometime this spring.

The former president is often a strong asset for his wife, but Mr. Clinton also proved to be a liability during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary when he made comments about then-Senator Barack Obama that many interpreted as racially insensitive.

Other entertainment projects with the Clinton’s as subject matter are also mostly hung up or canceled:

While “Clinton the Musical,” a stage satire focused on Clinton administration scandals, is now set for an Off Broadway run beginning in March, other Clinton-themed entertainment projects have faltered.

In the fall of 2013, CNN scrapped a documentary about Mrs. Clinton in the face of pushback from Clinton aides and the Republican National Committee; NBC dropped a planned mini-series in which Diane Lane would have portrayed her.

Also, “Rodham,” a planned feature film about the romance between a young Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham, has been struggling through Hollywood’s development process since Lionsgate acquired rights to it in 2013.

The Clintons are not shy about exercising power, as the effort to release to video the TV mini-series The Path to 9/11 illustrates.  The controversial film is still not available for public viewing either via streaming or on DVD. The Walt Disney Company, parent of  ABC, refuses to release the film and has never shown it since its original airing more than eight years ago.

That kind of power is not to be tampered with, as Scorsese no doubt realizes. So rather than compromise his integrity, Scorsese decided to cut his losses and shelve the film.

Even a revered director like Martin Scorsese must kneel and pay homage to the Clinton gang. Adoring them is not enough; you are required to sell your soul for them if asked.

Scorsese passed on the Faustian bargain and is a lot wiser for the effort.

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Quiz: Did the White House Say It, Or Did the Patriots Say It?

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 5.20.52 PM

The staff at Rep. Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) office had a little fun and compiled an online quiz to test your knowledge of infamous cases of implausible deniability: did the statements come from the White House during its everyday course of business, or from the New England Patriots during #DeflateGate?

Click over for all of the questions and answers.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the Patriots’ deflated ball controversy at today’s briefing, and said he hadn’t spoken with President Obama about the issue.

“I mean, the one thing I can tell you is that for years, it’s been clear that there is no risk that I was going to take Tom Brady’s job as quarterback of the New England Patriots. But I can tell you that as of today, it’s pretty clear that there’s no risk of him taking my job either,” Earnest quipped.

“The thing that is clear, though, about Mr. Brady’s job is that it does cause him to make snap decisions in very high-pressure situations, and — and he does it very well,” he added. “He also is in a position where those decisions are regularly second-guessed. So I think certainly on that level, he and I can relate to one another.”

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The Sun Finally Sets on the British Empire

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Except here in Ireland, where they still have six counties, just for spite. Otherwise, get a load of this:

London (AFP) – The government’s decision on Friday to lower British flags following the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has stirred controversy, with critics pointing to the kingdom’s poor human rights record. Tributes from world leaders have poured in for the late monarch, seen by some as a cautious moderniser in a turbulent region, but criticised by others as not having done enough to reform an absolute monarchy adhering to a severe form of Islam.

Saudi law, which forbids women from driving and punishes apostasy with death, is derived from Wahhabi Islam, an ultraconservative sect whose clergy have provided Saudi rulers with religious legitimacy.

“Your flag flying insults every woman in the United Kingdom, HOW DARE YOU,” tweeted former Conservative lawmaker Louise Mensch. Lawyer and journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted: “UK orders flags flown at half-mast for King Abdullah. Will return to lecturing the world about democracy tomorrow.”

And remember — prime minister to the Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha monarchy, David Cameron, is a “conservative.”

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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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Bar for ‘Brave’ Lowered Again, Now at Level ‘Flashing in Silly Pants’

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by David Steinberg

While liberal Los Angeles ties itself in knots attempting to hide its general disdain of the troops while still impressing their colleagues with “brave” yet watered-down, even backtracked criticism of American Sniper, the Los Angeles Times Fashion section takes a courageous stand in defending designer Rick Owens’ decision to send his models down the runway looking like the window of a butcher shop:

Rick Owens’ brave male models bare all on runway

Designer Rick Owens — that scamp — drew gasps and stirred up a social media storm on Thursday during his Paris Fashion Week men’s show by sending some of the models out in deconstructed togas strategically cut with holes that gave peek-a-boo views of their family jewels. In other cases, the models reportedly just dispensed with pants altogether. When wire services transmitted the photos to news outlets, they helpfully warned in all caps: NOTE NUDITY. [Refinery 29 (NOTE NUDITY)]

Once Owens had everyone’s attention, he also showed beautiful sweaters, suits and coats.

Everyone has quirky hobbies and interests, but the human race would be hard-pressed to think of a less enjoyable evening for most of humanity than a viewing of balls followed by a viewing of sweaters.

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 (Pictured: role model)

But they were brave! And so was Lena Dunham when she falsely accused a man of rape and regaled her fans with comic tales of sexually abusing her sister, and so was Wendy Davis when she filibustered a late-term abortion bill. Meanwhile, Chris Kyle is a coward, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali is banned from speaking at Brandeis.

Add “brave” to the liberal lexicon of things that mean the opposite of what the language intended them to mean when lefties say it. Along with “social justice” (the opposite of justice) and “human rights” (things that cannot possibly be rights), ”brave” now means “publicly doing something tangentially related to sex.”

a(“Your Gramps stormed the beaches of France? MY BOYS STORMED PARIS FASHION WEEK!”) 

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Graham: Obama ‘Makes Pickett’s Charge Look Like a Sound Military Strategy’

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Freshly returned from a trip to the Middle East, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he got a chilling message from governments in the region.

“I went to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel. And they said it’s better to be America’s enemy than her friend, because she seemed to respect your enemies more,” Graham told Fox this morning. “Iran is on the march. There are four Arab capitals under the influence of the Iranians at a time we’re trying to negotiate with this new ‘moderate’ regime.”

“The Houthis in Yemen are Iranian-backed. Assad is completely under the control of Iran. You’ve got a problem in Iraq and Lebanon. President Obama’s standing in the region is terrible. His policies are failing. If this is a success story in Yemen, I’d hate to see failure.”

Graham called Obama “basically incompetent,” “stubborn” and “arrogant” when it comes to foreign policy.

“Because he’s refusing to adjust at a time when the circumstances are screaming out to adjust. They’re selling to us that the Iranians are new and moderate. They told us that al-Qaeda was decimated before the 2012 election. They said that Yemen is a success story. Now they’re trying to sell to the Congress, ‘Butt out. We don’t need your input. Stay away from the Iranian negotiations,’” he said. “The Iranians are destabilizing the Mideast. They want a nuclear weapon. And their missile program is inconsistent with a moderate, peaceful regime.”

Secretary of State John Kerry is “completely out of touch, like the president,” the senator added.

“I met with the Free Syrian Army commander. He says ISIL is stronger today than they’ve ever been. And here’s what they’re doing. They’re selling oil to Assad and wheat. They control vast areas of Syria, they’re economically stronger, and they have an unholy alliance with Assad,” Graham said.

“…This makes Pickett’s Charge look like a sound military strategy. What we’re doing in training the Free Syrian Army without neutralizing Assad’s air power is military unsound and immoral, and it will not work. And what we’re doing in Iraq will not work. It will take years at this pace to liberate Mosul. Iraq and Syria are the perfect platform to hit the United States.”

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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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McDaniel Launches Conservative PAC for the ‘Survival of Our Republic’

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Mississippi state senator who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) last year is launching a PAC that he says will fight for “the survival of our republic.”

Chris McDaniel forced Cochran to a primary runoff last June, which the incumbent won by, in part, rallying Democratic voters to the polls.

McDaniel challenged the results, but that was dismissed in court. Cochran sailed to a seventh term in the general election and became chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Following what happened in the Republican primary runoff for the U.S. Senate on June 24, 2014, conservatives are more ready for mobilization and action than ever,” McDaniel said in a statement. “I have the enviable position of having the best of the best thought-leaders in the state and across the country ready to devote their time, money and effort to do what is needed to be sure the truth of conservatism is never again misrepresented by the politically powerful like it was here.”

Who are those thought leaders? McDaniel said the executive committee members and “more details regarding the organizational structure and objectives of UCF” will be announced in the coming week when he embarks on a five-city tour across Mississippi.

“I said repeatedly over the past year that the campaign was not about me and I meant it. I know that can be a foreign concept for the politically and personally motivated,” McDaniel continued. “My only political ambition today is what it has been all along; to make sure our conservative movement is strong and gaining ground, solving problems and communicating effectively. The working people of this state can and must unite for the survival of our republic. If we fight for one another then we will win together.”

As for running for office in the future, he said he’s considering potential races “carefully with the counsel of my friends and family.”

“Whether I run for higher office or not, it makes little difference unless other conservatives are provided the resources and support to step up where they live,” McDaniel said. “This task does not rest on any one man’s shoulders. Simply stated, if we are divided we will fail. My driving purpose right now is to make sure we are not divided, but united.”

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In Praise of Justice Sotomayor

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

On the Fourth Amendment, she’s quite good, one of the few seeking to delay the complete onset of the American Police State, in which cops are tasked not with keeping the peace but finding more crimes to prosecute. From Reason:

The Supreme Court heard oral argument [Wednesday] in the Fourth Amendment case Rodriguez v. United States. At issue is whether an officer “unnecessarily prolonged” an otherwise legal traffic stop when he called for backup in order to safely walk a drug-sniffing dog around the stopped vehicle. According to a previous Supreme Court ruling, the use of drug dogs during routine traffic stops poses no constitutional problems so long as the traffic stop is not “prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete that mission.”

Okay, let’s stop right there. What the hell does “not prolonged beyond the time reasonably required” actually mean? Does it mean something like this?

A Florida concealed carry permit holder had an unpleasant run-in with a Maryland police officer while traveling through the state. John Filippidis and his family drove from Florida to New Jersey last December for Christmas and a wedding. He knew he’d be traveling through states that aren’t gun-friendly, so he left his gun at home.

Filippidis was followed by a Maryland cop on I-95 after passing through the Fort McHenry tunnel. He said the cop flanked him, pulled ahead of him, and then got behind them. After about ten minutes of that, the officer pulled Filippidis over. The officer was from the Transportation Authority Police. He asked Filippidis for his license and registration. Around ten minutes later, he returned and asked John to exit his vehicle.

Of course, things went south from there. Back to Sotomayor:

According to Justice Department lawyer Ginger Anders, who argued yesterday in defense of the police, law enforcement is entitled to wide leeway when it comes to determining the amount of time that’s “reasonably required” to conduct traffic stops. But that argument met with strong resistance from several members of the Court, particularly Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Indeed, Sotomayor went so far as to suggest that the Court’s recent Fourth Amendment jurisprudence was flying off the rails due to its pro-police deference.

I have a real fundamental question, because this line drawing is only here because we’ve now created a Fourth Amendment entitlement to search for drugs using dogs, whenever anybody’s stopped. Because that’s what you’re proposing. And is that really what the Fourth Amendment should permit?

…we can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement. Particularly when this stop is not—is not incidental to the purpose of the stop. It’s purely to help the police get more criminals, yes. But then the Fourth Amendment becomes a useless piece of paper.

Conservatives have got to start walking back their knee-jerk support of the police state, and if a liberal like Justice Sotomayor wants to help them out, they should welcome her.

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Texas Dem: Don’t ‘Try to Ram Through’ Obama’s Plan to Tax Rich

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A Blue Dog Democrat said that instead of President Obama’s plan to target the rich with higher taxes, Congress needs to expand the tax base.

“We have to keep in mind is the words from President Lincoln that said you don’t help the poor by tearing down the rich or you don’t help the workers by tearing down businesses and to have a targeted tax increase, I don’t think that’s the right approach. We should find a way to make the taxes more fair and flatter,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Fox, stressing, “I respectfully don’t agree with the president.”

“For example, corporations, if we can lower their taxes for the corporations so we can compete with other ones across the world. There’s a lot of things we can do to flatten the tax rate and expand the base. And I think if we look at maybe what David Camp looked at, what Paul Ryan might look at and see if the Democrats can sit down and work something out,” he said.

“But to try to ram something through, that’s not the way. It will take some sort of consensus. I hope we can do this. Anybody can talk about tax reform. Can we actually roll up our sleeves and make tough decisions?”

Cuellar said that trying to bring anyone to the middle, though, is “exactly” what’s “wrong with Washington.”

“You have the far right. The far left. And trying to get us together and work this out, it sort of takes moderate Democrats, moderate Republicans to actually get things done,” he said.

“…And a lot of issues, we’re not there. But that’s the approach we ought to have. Otherwise, the far right and the far left will control the debates in Washington, D.C. And the practical aspects of getting stuff done are not going to get done because of the far left and the far right.”

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U.S. Pulls Some Embassy Staff in Yemen, But White House Says No Need to ‘Change Posture’

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The State Department has pulled some of its staff from the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, as calls to evacuate the facility continued.

“While the Embassy remains open and is continuing to operate, we may continue to re-align resources based on the situation on the ground,” a senior State Department official told Reuters. “We will continue to operate as normal, albeit with reduced staff.”

Press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement late Thursday that the U.S. “is troubled by reports of President Hadi and his cabinet’s resignation. At this time, it is critical that all sides avoid violence.”

“The safety and security of U.S. personnel is our top priority in Yemen,” Psaki continued. “We are evaluating the security situation on the ground on an ongoing basis. We call on all parties to abide by their public commitments to ensure the security of the diplomatic community, including our personnel.”

She added that Yemenis “deserve a clear path back to a legitimate, federal, and unitary Yemeni government, consistent with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative, the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference, UN Security Council resolutions and Yemeni law, with clearly defined timelines to finish writing a new Yemeni constitution, to hold a referendum on this constitution, and to launch national elections.”

“The future of Yemen should be determined by the Yemeni people in accordance with Yemen’s constitution and the National Dialogue Conference outcomes. All Yemenis have both a right and responsibility to peacefully participate in this process. The United States remains firmly committed to supporting all Yemenis in this endeavor.”

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told CNN “prudence dictates perhaps moving these people out at least temporarily.”

“AQAP, the al-Qaeda affiliate, is in the neighborhood. They’re in Sana’a as well. We know what they would like to do if they had a chance. The other complication is although the Houthi leadership apparently is making some reassuring noises to our people about not targeting the embassy, we’re not so sure about the chain of command,” King said.

“You have got an 18-year-old with a heavy-duty machine gun, and it could easily get out of control. I think the prudent thing is to move out. I know I have had a bunch of briefings in the last 24 hours. I know that the administration is monitoring this. I said, is it hour to hour? They said, no, it’s minute to minute.”

The senator, a member of the Intelligence Committee, added that “one of the big considerations is, what are the people on the ground at the embassy compound telling them about whether or not they’re able to do their job?”

“…That’s not an easy decision, because if we move out, the compound could be taken over and we couldn’t get back in. But it’s a tough call. But my inclination is err on the side of safety of those Americans.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday that “it’s been determined that there is not a need to change the posture at the U.S. embassy in Sana’a, but we’ll continue to monitor developments on the ground and if changes in that posture are necessary, we have all of the capabilities that are necessary to make those changes.”

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Marco Rubio: Yet Another Man Who Will Never Be President?

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
No chance

No chance

Put his name down, right alongside Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee — coincidentally, the other three 2016 no-hope candidates who have already more or less announced they’re running for the White House:

Sen. Marco Rubio has begun taking concrete steps toward launching a presidential bid, asking his top advisors to prepare for a campaign, signing on a leading Republican fundraiser, and planning extensive travel to early-voting states in the coming weeks, ABC News has learned. ”He has told us to proceed as if he is running for president,” a senior Rubio advisor tells ABC News.

Leading the effort to raise the $50 million or more he’ll need to run in the Republican primaries will be Anna Rogers, currently the finance director for American Crossroads, the conservative group started by Karl Rove that raised more than $200 million to help elect Republicans over the past two elections.

Rogers will begin working at Rubio’s political action committee on February 1 and would become the finance director of Rubio’s presidential campaign.

That bit about Anna Rogers, one of the Rove operatives, is mildly interesting. And not in a good way; Rubio is largely a creation of the Jeb Bush machine in Florida.

Rubio will never be president for a bunch of reasons: he blotted his copybook with his ill-advised Gang of Eight immigration fiasco, thus proving himself to be a “Hispanic” senator first and a conservative second; he’s unimpressive on the stump and will find it difficult to rally the red-meat base in a way that, say, Ted Cruz or Scott Walker or even a retread Rick Perry could; Cubans, by and large, do not appeal to other Hispanics, especially Mexicans; and he has his share of skeletons in his closet which could pop out to haunt him should he make a play for the national stage.

Rubio, 43, will gather on Friday and Saturday at the Delano Hotel in Miami with 300 supporters and major donors to his Reclaim America PAC to discuss his political future. Aides expect Rubio will make a final decision in the comings weeks, but his schedule for the next month already looks more like the schedule of a presidential candidate than a senator.

ABC News has learned Rubio plans to skip all votes in the Senate next week and instead take a campaign fundraising swing through California with events in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, Rancho Sante Fe and Costa Mesa. He also plans fundraising stops in Texas and Chicago.

Let’s see: a freshman senator who plans to skip all votes in the Senate next week in order to fund-raise and campaign for a higher office. Where have we seen that before?

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Kasich 2016? Ohio Governor Thinking About White House Run

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he doesn’t “have any options closed” for a 2016 run at the White House.

“What I’m saying is I’m running the great state, seventh largest in the country. We’re growing. We’re doing fantastic, and I have a lot more thing I want to do. I don’t need to go run for president to feel as though I’m accomplishing things,” Kasich told Fox.

“But, look, if there is something that I think can give me a path to being more effective in a bigger way, I’m not closed to that. I’m open to it. I’m not just interested in doing it to go through motions. A lot of people who are going to run for president do it to sell more books, they can get a television show. That’s not my interest.”

Kasich, recently sworn in to his second term as governor, said the “one thing people in my political party don’t always understand” is that “economic growth is not an end unto itself.”

“Economic growth provides the means whereby we can reach out and help those who live in the shadows,” he said.

“I think the problem in America today is that the folks out there don’t think the politicians understand them. And it is my job as governor to solve problems.”

Kasich won 86 out of 88 counties in Ohio on election night. He called the GOP’s messaging “incomplete.”

“How do you allow people to rise? How do you get everyone, like our minority community, how do we get them to share in the prosperity? We are a divided country, rich, poor, black, white, rural, urban. This is not how we’ll succeed as a country,” he said.

“There are about 20 states in America that don’t have a balanced budget. Not only do we have a balanced budget, structurally balanced, from an $8 billion, but we’re running an over $1.5 billion surplus. And I was one of the key guys to balance the federal budget. So when people start talking about my fiscal stuff they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Kasich replied to conservative criticism of some of his policies. “Secondly, the faith community is a big chunk of the conservative movement of the Republican Party. Just read Matthew 25. Did you feed the hungry? Did you clothe the naked? If we’re doing things like that, to me that is conservatism. And you know what, I have a right to define conservatism as much as somebody sitting in the stands down in Washington trying to tell us what we ought to do. And as a governor it is my job to answer the bell.”

“When I expanded Medicaid people said I brought Ohio’s dollars back to Ohio to deal with mentally ill and drug addicted, so I get criticized by some. I don’t really care about it. Guess what. Do you know how many Republican governors are trying to figure out how to do exactly what did it? Look, this is Reagan. This is what he believed. You don’t — Reagan expanded Medicaid.”

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White House Official: Netanyahu ‘Spat in Our Face… There Will Be a Price’

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

From the administration that called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickens**t” comes more gems after he accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) invitation to address a joint session of Congress:

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” [Haaretz] quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.

“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 “chickenshit” 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.

…Haaretz reported that Obama had personally demanded that Netanyahu tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric in a phone call between the two last week. The president has said a sanctions bill would cripple negotiations with Iranian leaders at a critical stage, and has threatened to veto such a bill should it come through.

The Washington Post reported that Netanyahu’s apparent disrespect for US leadership was particularly offensive to Secretary of State John Kerry, who over the past month had made frenzied efforts on Israel’s behalf on the world stage — making dozens of calls to world leaders to convince them to oppose a UN Security Council resolution which would have set a timeframe for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“The secretary’s patience is not infinite,” a source close to Kerry told the Post. “The bilateral relationship is unshakable. But playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.”

In other words, the principles of support for Israel that the administration has long contended it holds dear are merely conditional on the White House feeling that it has the position of power in this special relationship.

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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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Volunteers Offer to Take 100 Lashes for Imprisoned Saudi Blogger

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by The Tatler

Several prominent Muslim American figures have offered to take 100 lashes on behalf of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced by Saudi Arabia to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islamic clerics.

SaudiBlogger1

In a letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Robert P. George, a Princeton professor and vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, urged the immediate release of Badawi.

Badawai received the first round of his weekly floggings almost two weeks ago. The second round was postponed after doctors reported he had not recovered sufficiently to receive more lashes.

George and Jasser wrote in the letter that if Badawi is not released, they will volunteer to receive 100 lashes each. The letter included five other signatories: Mary Ann Glendon, of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Daniel Mark, assistant professor of Department of Political Science at Villanova University, Hannah Rosenthal, CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Eric Schwartz dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and, Katrina Lantos Swett, president of Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice.

SaudiBlogger2

“Compassion, a virtue honored in Islam as well as in Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths, is defined as ‘suffering with another.’ We are persons of different faiths, yet we are united in a sense of obligation to condemn and resist injustice and to suffer with its victims, if need be,” the letter reads. “We therefore make the following request. If your government will not remit the punishment of Raif Badawi, we respectfully ask that you permit each of us to take 100 of the lashes that would be given to him.”

“We would rather share in his victimization than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured. If your government does not see fit to stop this from happening, we are prepared to present ourselves to receive our share of Mr. Badawi’s unjust punishment,” the group said.

Badawi was arrested in 2012 after his blog writings insulted Islamic Clerics. He was cleared of apostasy, which would have involved a death sentence. Instead he was given 1,000 lashes and a 10 year prison term.

 

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Why Is Obama Funneling Money to Iran?

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Because he is, you know. In the guise of protecting “negotiations” over Iran’s soon-to-be-fully-functional nuclear program.

The Obama administration on Wednesday paid $490 million in cash assets to Iran and will have released a total of $11.9 billion to the Islamic Republic by the time nuclear talks are scheduled to end in June, according to figures provided by the State Department.

Today’s $490 million release, the third such payment of this amount since Dec. 10, was agreed to by the Obama administration under the parameters of another extension in negotiations over Tehran’s contested nuclear program that was inked in November.

Iran will receive a total of $4.9 billion in unfrozen cash assets via 10 separate payments by the United States through June 22, when talks with Iran are scheduled to end with a final agreement aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear work, according to a State Department official…

Iran will have received a total of $11.9 billion in cash assets by the end of June if current releases continue on pace as scheduled.

That would be the same group of fundamentalist savages who in defiance of international, civilized norms seized our embassy under the feckless Carter administration and have never had to feel the lash since.

Barack Hussein Obama: the best friend our Islamic enemies ever had.

Remember when the U.S. government represented America? Seems like eons ago.

 

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[VIDEO] Obama: ‘I’m Mostly Watching SportsCenter’ in My Free Time

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by The Tatler
YouTube Preview Image

President Obama answered the questions of various YouTube celebrities yesterday. During an interview with Bethany Moto, he was asked: “If you have any free time, what TV shows or movies do you watch?”

To which Obama answered:

“You know, I’m really big on sports. The truth of the matter is, I’m mostly watching SportsCenter,” the president responded. “Whenever I’m working out at the gym if there’s a basketball or football game going on, I’m usually tuned in there.”

He was also asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. “I wanted to be a bunch of different things,” Obama said. “I wanted to be an architect for a long time.”

“I suppose in the back of my mind at some point I thought playing in the NBA would be great, being a basketball player. That ended I think around the age of 13 when I realized I wasn’t talented enough,” Obama also said.

 

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Obama Lauds King’s ‘Courage of Convictions’; Biden to Lead U.S. Delegation to Saudi Arabia

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama hailed late Saudi King Abdullah, who died at age 90 after a battle with pneumonia, as leading the kingdom “through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations.”

“He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region,” Obama said of the Saudi plan that would recognize Israel in exchange for concessions including pulling back to pre-1967 borders. “At home, King Abdullah’s vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world.”

“As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship,” the president continued in a statement. “As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond. The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy.”

“May God grant him peace,” Obama added.

Abdullah was going to be buried after Friday afternoon prayers, according to the Arab News. Vice President Joe Biden will lead the U.S. delegation to Saudi Arabia, though it was unclear exactly when Biden would be in the country.

Biden said in a statement that the king’s death is a “great loss” as he “played an outsized role in building his country.”

Secretary of State John Kerry lamented that it was a “sad day.”

“The United States has lost a friend, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and the world has lost a revered leader,” Kerry said. “King Abdullah was a man of wisdom and vision. I loved my visits with him as a senator and as secretary. Even as he battled age and illness, he held on to his sense of determination. His stories of his father and of his family were remarkable. He was so proud of the Kingdom’s journey, a brave partner in fighting violent extremism who proved just as important as a proponent of peace.”

“The courageous Arab Peace Initiative that he sponsored remains a critical document for the goal we shared of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security. He also made great strides to invest in the Saudi people, and the Kingdom’s infrastructure and economic development. The scholarship program that bears his name represents an enormous, far-sighted contribution to Saudi Arabia’s future prosperity. I know he was very proud of his role as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and as leader of his people.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued condolences “on behalf of all the men and women of the Department of Defense.”

“Like his father, who founded modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah was a man of tremendous character and courage – a historic figure dedicated to advancing the lives of his people at home as well as his country’s leadership abroad. He was a committed friend and partner of the United States. And he was a powerful voice for tolerance, moderation, and peace – in the Islamic world and across the globe,” Hagel said.

“I extend my condolences, thoughts, and prayers to King Abdullah’s family, and to all the people of Saudi Arabia. May he rest in peace as we celebrate his rich legacy for many years to come.”

Amnesty International reported that Friday’s scheduled flogging of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was postponed because a doctor determined he “would not be able to withstand” his next round of lashes yet.

Badawi, a 31-year-old married father of three, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars and 1,000 lashes spread out over a 20-week period for “insulting Islam” through articles posted on his website.

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Breaking: Saudi King Abdullah Dead at 90

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

King Abdullah ibn Abdilazīz of Saudi Arabia, known in the kingdom as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, died early Friday morning according to Saudi state TV. No cause of death was immediately given.

Associated Press reports:

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the powerful U.S. ally who joined Washington’s fight against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom with incremental but significant reforms, including nudging open greater opportunities for women, has died, according to Saudi state TV. He was 90.

More than his guarded and hidebound predecessors, Abdullah assertively threw his oil-rich nation’s weight behind trying to shape the Middle East. His priority was to counter the influence of rival, mainly Shiite Iran wherever it tried to make advances. He and fellow Sunni Arab monarchs also staunchly opposed the Middle East’s wave of pro-democracy uprisings, seeing them as a threat to stability and their own rule.

He backed Sunni Muslim factions against Tehran’s allies in several countries, but in Lebanon for example, the policy failed to stop Iranian-backed Hezbollah from gaining the upper hand. And Tehran and Riyadh’s colliding ambitions stoked proxy conflicts around the region that enflamed Sunni-Shiite hatreds — most horrifically in Syria’s civil war, where the two countries backed opposing sides. Those conflicts in turn hiked Sunni militancy that returned to threaten Saudi Arabia.

And while the king maintained the historically close alliance with Washington, there were frictions as he sought to put those relations on Saudi Arabia’s terms. He was constantly frustrated by Washington’s failure to broker a settlement to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He also pushed the Obama administration to take a tougher stand against Iran and to more strongly back the mainly Sunni rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Abdullah’s successor is 78 year old Crown Prince Salman, who is said to be in poor health himself.

King Salman has been part of the ruling clique of princes for decades and is thought likely to continue the main thrusts of Saudi strategic policy, including maintaining the alliance with the United States and working towards energy market stability.

During his five decades as Riyadh governor he was reputedly adept at managing the delicate balance of clerical, tribal and princely interests that determine Saudi policy, while maintaining good relations with the West.

Very little is known of Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He gradated from Great Britain’s RAF college with a degree in aeronautics and also went to General Staff school in the US. He served as the Kingdom’s intelligence agency director for 7 years, beginning in 2005.

Abdullah was a strong US ally and a decent ruler. His experience will be missed in the Middle East as the challenges facing the Kingdom continue to grow. Some considered him a “reformer,” but this is surely an overstatement. The radical conservative Wahhabi clerics are a powerful influence in the country, and as long as they wield that influence, any “reforms” will be close to meaningless.

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Do You Believe Bill Belichick on Deflategate?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick strongly denied he had anything to do with deflating game balls used during the AFC Championship contest last Sunday with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Patriots won the game 45-7, and after an investigation by the league following the game, the NFL determined that 11 of 12 game balls used by the Patriots were well under the psi specifications for inflation.

A deflated ball theoretically gives the quarterback and receivers an advantage in the kind of wet, cold weather conditions under which the game was played on Sunday. The ball is easier to both catch and throw.

At a press conference, Belichick said he had no explanation for the deflated balls and said he had never given the rules governing the inflation of balls a thought in 40 years of coaching.

Belichick: I’ll start out by addressing the football issue here. When I came in Monday morning, I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs. I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning. I would say I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew or have talked about it in the last 40 years that I have coached in this league. I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls and the process that happened between when they were prepared and went to the officials and went to the game. So, I’ve learned a lot about that. I obviously understand that each team has the opportunity to prepare the balls the way they want, give them to the officials and the game officials either approve or disapprove the balls. That really was the end of it for me until I learned a little bit more about this the last couple days.

Belichick claims that he goes out of his way to make the balls used in practice as difficult to handle as possible:

Let me just say that my personal coaching philosophy, my mentality has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice. So with regard to footballs, I’m sure that any current or past player of mine would tell you that the balls we practice with are as bad as they can be: wet, sticky, cold, slippery. However bad we can make them, I make them. Any time that players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make them worse and that stops the complaining. We never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse. We play with whatever or kick with whatever we have to use and that’s the way it is. That has never been a priority for me and I want the players to deal with a harder situation in practice than they’ll ever have to deal with in the game. Maybe that’s part of our ball security philosophy.

I’m trying to coach the team and that’s what I want to do. I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs. They know a lot more about it than I do. They’re a lot more sensitive to it than I am. I hear them comment on it from time to time, but I can tell you and they will tell you that there is never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero. Tom’s [Brady] personal preferences on his footballs are something he can take about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide. I could tell you that in my entire coaching career I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure. That is not a subject that I have ever brought up. To me the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pregame and we play with what’s out there. That’s the only way that I have ever thought about that.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also denied any involvement in deflating game balls, saying “I didn’t alter the balls in any way.”

NBC News reported that Brady addressed the issue with his teammates Thursday, saying in a closed-door meeting that he likes footballs “a certain way” and that they should stay focused on the Super Bowl.

In his news conference, Brady said there’s a usual process he goes through in getting used to using game day footballs, explaining it’s like any other piece of equipment for him. However, the quarterback repeatedly professed his innocence in doctoring any of the footballs.

“I feel like I have always played within the rules. I would never break the rules.”

Brady also echoed the earlier sentiment of his coach, Bill Belichick, in saying he was stunned by the news of the illegal footballs.

“I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning what was happening,” Brady said.

Sources told Fox Sports that the Baltimore Ravens, who played the Patriots the previous week, tipped off the Colts about the deflated ball issue. During the game, a ball was actually taken out of play to be examined by officials. It’s possible that examination led to the investigation by the NFL that began after the game was over.

The NFL is being tightlipped about what they’ve discovered, but says the investigation should be concluded by the weekend. The question then becomes, how to punish the Patriots?

In 2007, the Pats were fined and lost a first round draft choice due to their violation of league rules in videotaping the defensive signals of an opponent during the game. But stealing signals is one thing. Actually breaking the rules to gain a competitive advantage is another.

The ever-image-conscious NFL will probably not hit the Patriots with significant penalties. The league had a tough offseason as several high-profile domestic abuse cases and the arrest for murder of former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez caused the NFL to reexamine policies and procedures governing off-field behavior.

But calls for forcing the Pats to forfeit the game and send Indianapolis to the Super Bowl are absurd, as are calls to limit the Patriots’ ability to sign free agents or make trades.

The most likely outcome would be hefty fines and perhaps the loss of a draft choice. Meanwhile, the reputation of Belichick — already in tatters — took another hit. It is a supreme irony that a man who may go down as the greatest coach in NFL history would be remembered for his hand in cheating scandals as much as his Super Bowl wins.

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Bibi Accepts Boehner Invitation, But He Won’t Be Welcomed by White House

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) invitation to address a joint session of Congress on terrorism and terror-sponsor Iran.

Boehner originally proposed Feb 11, but the date will be bumped to March 3 to coincide with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in D.C.

AIPAC confirmed that Netanyahu will be speaking at the March 1-3 megaconference.

“I am honored by this invitation, which reflects the special friendship shared by Israel and the United States as well as the strong bipartisan support for Israel across America,” Netanyahu said in a statement today.

“Just last week I discussed with President Obama the common challenges we face from Islamist extremism, including resurgent terrorism and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he continued.

“I look forward to being able to share with the joint session Israel’s vision for working together to address these threats and to reiterate Israel’s commitment to the bond that unites our two democracies.”

But President Obama will not be meeting with Netanyahu when he visits.

“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement today. “Accordingly, the president will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his planned address to the U.S. Congress.”

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‘It Sure Hurt’: Reid Explains Workout Accident, Announces Eye Surgery

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be having reconstructive surgery on his face after the workout accident in his home.

Reid skipped Tuesday’s State of the Union address on the advice of his doctors, but returned to the Hill today for a press conference.

“I know there are a lot of rumors as to what happened, but it’s very simple. My wife and I were in our new home. I was doing exercises that I’ve been doing for many years, with those large rubber bands. And one of them broke and spun me around, and I crashed into a — these cabinets and injured my arm,” Reid said.

“It didn’t knock me out, but it sure hurt. And I was taken to the hospital. And came back here after a couple of days. I have some bones broken around my eye. And on Monday, as I understand it, we’re going to fix that. They’re going to reconstruct the bones here. The bone that’s broken is — the bone that’s broken is this one right here. It’s been pushed in against my eye, and they’re going to move that back out.”

Reid explained that because of the injury, “there’s blood in the front and back part of my eye.”

“And they’re going to have to move it — reconstruction of that bone there. They’re going to drain the blood off this part of the eye, the back part of the eye,” he said. “And they’re confident that I’ll be really quite good after that.”

Reid didn’t answer a question about whether he’d consulted with the upper chamber’s eye doctor, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), but said he didn’t expect his medical problems to interfere with his plans to run for re-election in 2016.

“The doctors have been very supportive of my plans. Nothing has changed during the time that I was — the first couple of weeks of recovery,” he said. “…So everything is on line. In Nevada, you know, we have quite an operation in Nevada that hasn’t lost a step. We’re off and running.”

Is he afraid of losing sight in the eye permanently? “Well, I’m looking forward to Monday, that’s for sure,” Reid said.

“I’m, as some of you know, an avid reader. I read lots and lots of books. I read some good ones during the break. So, what I — because I have not been able to read, they have told me that if you have an eye that’s healing and you try to overwork your good eye, it puts too much pressure… So I haven’t been reading.”

When Reid was first injured, his spokesman said the senator suffered a concussion. Today, Reid said, “To my knowledge, I’m not getting treatment for concussion.”

“I mean, although I do have a better understanding of the football players and baseball players who have concussions. No one’s told me I had one, but perhaps I had. I don’t know.”

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Door Opened on Drone Reporting as Media Companies Start Testing

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Ten media companies have aligned to test drone newsgathering with Virginia Tech, shortly after CNN announced it would be developing drone reporting with Georgia Tech.

They’re wandering into new territory as regulations currently don’t allow media organizations to use the unmanned aircraft.

Advance Publications Inc., A.H. Belo Corp., The Associated Press, Gannet Co. Inc., Getty Images (U.S.) Inc., NBC Universal, The New York Times Co., The E.W. Scripps Co., Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and The Washington Post have partnered to test drone newsgathering at the FAA-approved site in Virginia.

At the testing site, one of six approved by Congress as a first step to forging domestic drone regulations, the news agencies will “conduct controlled safety testing of a series of real-life scenarios where the news media could use small UAS technology to gather the news,” according to law firm Holland & Knight.

The firm has been working with the media companies since the middle of last year to come to an agreement on testing.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently entered into a research and development agreement with CNN.

“Our aim is to get beyond hobby-grade equipment and to establish what options are available and workable to produce high-quality video journalism using various types of UAVs and camera setups,” said CNN Senior Vice President David Vigilante. “Our hope is that these efforts contribute to the development of a vibrant ecosystem where operators of various types and sizes can safely operate in the U.S. airspace.”

While the FAA has granted exemptions for the use of drones in other industries including agriculture and film, no media organization has yet been granted permission to use drones for newsgathering.

“Unmanned aircraft offer news organizations significant opportunities,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement. “We hope this agreement with CNN and the work we are doing with other news organizations and associations will help safely integrate unmanned newsgathering technology and operating procedures into the National Airspace System.”

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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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Pelosi Peeved That Boehner Had ‘Hubris’ to Say ‘I Rule’ and Invite Bibi

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House has complained that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) broke with executive protocol in his invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint sessions of Congress — and now Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is saying Boehner had the “hubris” to break an unwritten congressional protocol as well.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday that “the typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there.”

“That certainly is how President Obama’s trips are planned when we travel overseas,” Earnest said. “So this particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”

The Netanyahu address is scheduled for Feb. 11.

“When I was — also when I was minority leader and became one of the four leaders, it was clear always that if we wanted — if we had a suggestion about a head of state to come, that it was something that had to — you passed around the four top leaders,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference today.

“For example, one of my, as minority leader before being speaker, one of the people that I was excited to invite or hoped to invite was the president of Liberia, woman president of Liberia, [Ellen] Sirleaf Johnson. And I knew that she would be a spectacular guest for the House, but — or for the Congress, a joint session, but I talked to Senator Frist, I talked to — I talked to the leadership about would that be OK. And they agreed that it would,” she continued.

“A concern that people had, going back then, was will members show up, because members are not always enthusiastic about attending these joint sessions.”

Netanyahu’s 2011 address to a joint session of Congress was packed.

“So that was — that was my introduction to it, you talked to all four, the other three leaders. There’s some consensus among four. And I’m not saying that it’s a big challenge. People usually would cooperate. But they’d raise their concerns about attendance, this or that. I know Sirleaf Johnson we would be bursting at the seams, and we were, with member attendance,” Pelosi said, adding more examples: “So, when I was speaker, we had King Abdullah of Jordan, President Sarkozy of France, the taoiseach of Ireland, Taoiseach Ahern, Prime Minister Brown of England, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, and President Calderon of Mexico, some kind of a combination of initiated by the White House or initiated by Congress, but agreed to by all four leaders.”

“So, it’s out of the ordinary that the speaker would decide that he would be inviting people to a joint session without any bipartisan consultation.”

Pelosi added, “Of course, we always — our friendship with Israel is a very strong one. Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to the joint session two times already.”

“And there are concerns about the fact that this, as I understand it from this morning, that this presentation will take place within two weeks of the election in Israel. I don’t think that’s appropriate for any country, that the head of state would come here within two weeks of his own election in his own country,” she said. “The more serious part of your question is about the sanctions. Yes, the president was correct in his presentation and the strength with which he presented his appeal to Congress that we not have sanctions at this time.”

Pelosi chided pro-sanctions lawmakers, including many Dems. “Everybody knows that Congress can pass sanctions anytime. So, what is the point? What is the point? What is the — the problem is that it could seriously undermine the delicate diplomacy that is at work… And so, what is the point of — of sanctions? And if that’s the purpose of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit two weeks before his own election, right in the midst of our negotiations, I just don’t think it’s appropriate and helpful.”

She wasn’t done.

Pelosi said Boehner has “awesome power” in his position as speaker, but “that power is not to be squandered.”

“It’s hubris to say, you know, ‘I rule; I’ll decide.’ And without any sensitivity to the fact that an election is taking two weeks — and within two weeks, the invitation I get is for the 3rd of March and the election is the — what? — the 17th, something like that. And also the fact that what is the purpose of it. Is the purpose to come and talk about sanctions? To talk about a policy in opposition to the policy that our president has just put forth in his State of the Union address and that has been in operation for many months?”

Boehner said in a statement Wednesday that Netanyahu “is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people.”

“In this time of challenge, I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life,” Boehner continued. “Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again.”

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