The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to Wisconsin’s Republican-backed law requiring voters to present photo identification to cast a ballot, a measure Democrats contend is aimed at keeping their supporters from voting.
The justices declined to hear an appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law. The ACLU said it then filed an emergency motion with a federal appeals court to try to keep the law from taking effect immediately.
Republican Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said the law cannot be implemented for the state’s April 7 election because absentee ballots are already in the hands of voters but would be in place for future elections. “This decision is final,” Schimel said.
Naturally, the ACLU’s suit was based on the canard that requiring ID disenfranchises the poor, minorities, students and any other groups Democrats feel they have a good shot as manipulating votes for.
These same people who don’t think voters should have official identification are now calling for mandatory voting. Pretty sweet little fraud setup if you are legally required to produce bodies at the polls but they can’t be legally identified, no?
Hillary Clinton made an appearance with labor leaders Monday, calling for a non-partisan struggle against economic inequality in one of her last speeches before formally launching her expected bid for the White House.
Clinton returned to a theme she has sounded frequently in recent months, lamenting the “ideological bunkers” that she said have prevented solutions from being found to the nation’s problems.
“It’s really nice to get back into an evidence-based discussion, about what works and what doesn’t work, and to try and learn from examples,” she told the audience at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
One hundred words, and there is enough hypocrisy there to last her entire campaign, both from her and the reporting.
“Clinton returned to a theme she has sounded frequently in recent months”
Note how the dutiful press helps Team Mrs. Bill maintain the illusion that she’s been out there working hard for America. Her book tour reminded everyone of how awful she is in front of people and they’ve managed her more tightly than the way Tony LaRussa handled a pitching staff back in the day. The only thing she has done “frequently in recent months” is avoid the commoners she professes to be oh-so-concerned about.
When she’s not scrubbing her emails, of course.
The pitch about wanting to be “non-partisan” and have a “discussion” is where this narrative becomes a train on icy mountain tracks that’s just lost its brakes.
Politics in America have certainly always been divisive, but the Clintons redefined bitter partisanship in the 1990s. In fact, Hillary’s only solo accomplishment may be that she introduced the phrase “politics of personal destruction” into the vernacular all the while engaged in those very same politics. Add to that the fact that she doesn’t really have discussions, she issues edicts and gives orders.
Her Madameship and the press can keep trying to paint a portrait of her that is awash in warm fuzziness, but she’s going to be out in public a lot soon.
If the Republicans are smart they’ll send someone with a camera to try and have a “discussion” with her about how to earn money.
The Internet Goes Berserk: Why People’s Heads Are Exploding Over Ted Cruz’s Speech Announcing His Candidacy
There’s something interesting going on online. Just go to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and search for “Ted Cruz,” “#TedCruz2016″ or “Ted Cruz candidate.” Do you notice something?
That’s right, people’s heads are truly exploding.
Many conservative activists are celebrating Cruz’s official announcement that he’ll run for president. They believe he’s just what they and the rest of America need: a principled, small-government conservative who sticks to his guns no matter what.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 23, 2015
Popular radio talk show host Mark “The Great One” Levin’s also impressed:
Ted Cruz’s terrific speech today – must watch! http://t.co/mdTbmWzHz8
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) March 23, 2015
One conservative hero praises another: this tweet basically says it all.
And there’s more – much more:
— Joel C. Rosenberg (@JoelCRosenberg) March 23, 2015
Cruz truly touched a chord with conservative voters:
Listening 2 Ted Cruz speak (w/o a TelePrompter) at Liberty University about God, Our Constitution & his Love of America is so refreshing!
— Amy Mek (@AmyMek) March 23, 2015
See also this tweet:
— Barbara W (@sassybarbara12) March 23, 2015
And this one:
— Zep (@mightyones1968) March 23, 2015
Twitter also seems to be hit by all kinds of (pro-Cruz) memes, most of them focusing on his status as an outsider and rebel:
Those memes aren’t only extremely popular on Twitter, but also on Facebook, where pro-Cruz groups are exploding; they’re literally adding hundreds if not thousands of people today, who are all happy to show their support for Cruz:
Glenn Beck’s followers on Facebook are also thrilled, both with Cruz’s speech and his candidacy:
Meanwhile, progressives have a slightly different take on Cruz’s upcoming announcement. They go all in, some by making jokes at his expense:
— Chelsea Anarchy (@chelseasuddon) March 23, 2015
Note that they’re not explaining why his political views are wrong — they just attack him personally:
#TedCruz for president is the best joke of the year
— Bassem Masri (@bassem_masri) March 23, 2015
There are also those who are going all-out birther on Cruz:
— Ofay Mayo (@blunted215) March 23, 2015
In fact, birtherism is more popular than ever:
i can’t wait to see republicans try to explain throwing support behind canadian ted cruz yet demanding to see obama’s birth certificate.
— crissle (@crissles) March 23, 2015
Some even pull out the racist and birther cards at the same time:
— Danny Zuker (@DannyZuker) March 22, 2015
See this one, too:
Donald Trump: “Wait, Ted Cruz isn’t white? Maybe I want to see that birth certificate…” pic.twitter.com/S1OJdWskWr
— teresa lo (@teresalo_tweets) March 23, 2015
It’s the same on Facebook:
CNN’s followers are extremely dismissive and even aggressive:
The last ones (but I could go on and on):
Now, it’s perfectly clear why conservative Twitter and Facebook users are so happy. They rightfully believe that he’s one of them and that he could very well be Ronald Reagan’s real successor.
But why are leftists’ heads exploding as well? I’ve got no doubt I know the answer: they fear him. Tremendously even. He is everything they oppose: a true, small-government conservative. And that’s not all; he’s also articulate, has a spine, and is highly educated. On top of all that, he’s one of the few Republican politicians who are able to energize the conservative base. That’s the same group of voters who stayed home in 2012 and 2008, thereby handing the presidency to Obama.
That’s why they’ve started to ridicule and humiliate him, and they’ll undoubtedly continue doing so in the days, weeks and months ahead. It comes straight out of Saul Alinsky’s playbook: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
So, what do you think? Why are progressives responding so aggressively to Ted Cruz’s announcement? Am I right, do they fear him? Another question: what do you think of Cruz? Many conservative icons have already endorsed him (Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck among others). Are you as excited as they are?
Cross Barry, pay the price via his buddy at Justice, Eric Holder:
Federal investigators could file criminal corruption charges against Sen. Robert Mendendez of New Jersey as early as this week, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the investigation. Mendendez, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been under investigation for possible corruption and has denied wrongdoing, the paper reported Sunday.
Specific charges weren’t immediately clear, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating Mendendez for more than two years. Menendez is accused of using his political position to boost the business interests of a friend and Democratic Party donor, in exchange for gifts. Sources cited by the Wall Street Journal said Mendendez would be charged in his home state of New Jersey.
The Journal story is behind the pay wall, so this is from Fox News. But to put what’s happening in context, this story from the New York Times last month may be helpful:
When Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey said last week that he would give President Obama two months before defying a veto threat and voting for new sanctions on Iran, he made it clear that the delay was not out of loyalty to his fellow Democrat in the Oval Office.
“I don’t get calls from the White House,” Mr. Menendez said when asked whether the president or his team had lobbied him for the reprieve. It was a frank acknowledgment of the rifts that exist between Mr. Obama and Mr. Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The divisions have burst into public view in recent weeks as Mr. Menendez, a second-term senator, has taken on Mr. Obama over Cuba and Iran.
Mr. Obama’s advisers say they speak with Mr. Menendez regularly, and the senator described his relationship with the White House as excellent. But deep policy and political divisions remain between Mr. Obama and the senator, one of the Democrats best positioned to defend the administration’s foreign policy in Congress.
Adios, Bob. It was nice knowin’ ya.
President Obama just got a letter from 367 members of the House stressing that Iran must have no pathway to a nuclear weapon.
On Thursday, House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said there were 360 signatures on the letter. The next day, as it was sent to the White House, there were a few more.
Engel and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) began circulating the letter around Congress earlier this month.
The letter to Obama notes that “of the 12 sets of questions that the International Atomic Energy Agency has been seeking, Tehran has answered just part of one. Just last week, the IAEA reported that it is still concerned about signs of Iran’s military related activities, including designing a nuclear payload for a missile.”
“The potential military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program should be treated as a fundamental test of Tehran’s intention to uphold the final agreement. Unless we have a full understanding of Iran’s past program it will be impossible for the international community to judge Iran’s future breakout time with certainty.”
The letter notes Iran’s “decades of deception” and said “any inspection and verification regime must allow for short notice access to suspect locations, and verifiable constraints on Iran’s nuclear program must last for decades.”
The hundreds of lawmakers also said the administration cannot split Iran’s “destabilizing role in the region and state sponsorship of terrorism from the nuclear deal.”
“Iran’s Supreme Leader has also called for an expansion of his country’s ballistic missile program, yet another dimension of the potential threat posed by Iran,” the letter continues. “Iran’s role in fomenting instability in the region — not to mention Iran’s horrendous repression at home — demonstrates the risks of negotiating with a partner we cannot trust.”
The lawmakers promise that only if “convinced” that a final deal’s terms “foreclose any pathway to a bomb” will Congress “consider permanent sanctions relief.”
“The United States has had a longstanding interest in preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability. Over the last twenty years, Congress has passed numerous pieces of legislation imposing sanctions on Iran to prevent that outcome, ultimately forcing Iran into negotiations. Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation. In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the letter, which was notably sent to Obama as J Street opened its conference in Washington. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is scheduled to speak to the pro-Palestinian lobbying group tonight.
V.S. Naipaul Says It All About the Islamic State: It’s Islamic, It’s Evil and It Needs to be Destroyed
Don’t take it from some pasty-faced white guy. Take it from a Nobel Prize-winning British author of Indian extraction from Trinidad. Here’s the teaser from the Daily Mail:
The Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul has warned that Islamic State are the most potent threat to the world since the Nazis. In a hard-hitting article in today’s Mail on Sunday, the revered novelist brands the extremist Muslim organisation as the Fourth Reich, saying it is comparable to Adolf Hitler’s regime in its fanaticism and barbarity.
Calling for its ‘military annihilation,’ the Trinidadian-born British writer says IS is ‘dedicated to a contemporary holocaust’, has a belief in its own ‘racial superiority,’ and produces propaganda that Goebbels would be proud of.
And here’s what Naipaul has to say about the rise of fanatical barbarians:
My first book [on the subject of Islam] was called Among The Believers and the second, perhaps prophetically, Beyond Belief. Since those books were written, the word ‘fundamentalism’ has taken on new meanings. As the word suggests, it means going back to the groundings, to the foundations and perhaps to first principles. It is used to characterise the interpretation given to passages of the Koran, to the Hadith, which is a collection of the acts in the life of the Prophet Mohammed and to an interpretation of sharia law.
However, the particular fundamentalist ideology of ‘Islamist’ groups that have dedicated themselves to terror – such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and now in its most vicious, barbaric and threatening form the Islamic Caliphate, Isis or the Islamic State (IS) – interprets the foundation and the beginning as dating from the birth of the Prophet Mohammed in the 6th Century. This fundamentalism denies the value and even the existence of civilisations that preceded the revelations of the Koran. It was an article of 6th and 7th Century Arab faith that everything before it was wrong, heretical. There was no room for the pre-Islamic past.
Naipaul’s warning is important: Islam does not simply seek the forced conversion or death of every single “unbeliever” on the planet. It also — and this is the part that should interest anyone in western civilization — the eradication of everything non-Islamic. No more Mozart, no more Goethe, no more Shakespeare, no more Chartres Cathedral. It is a deadly pestilence that must be eliminated if the West is ever to survive in anything like its current form.
The idea that faith abolishes history has been revived as the central creed of the Islamists and of Isis. Their determination to deny, eliminate and erase the past manifests itself in the destruction of the art, artefacts and archaeological sites of the great empires, the Persian, the Assyrian and Roman that constitute the histories of Mesopotamia and Syria.
They have bulldozed landmarks in the ancient city of Dur Sharukkin and smashed Assyrian statues in the Mosul museum. Destroying the winged bull outside the fortifications of Nineveh satisfies the same reductive impulse behind the destruction by the Taliban of the Bhumiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has described this destruction of art, artefacts, inscriptions and of the museums that house them not only as a butchery of civilisational memory but as a war crime.
After we bombed Germany and Japan into submission, in response to their war crimes we hanged their leaders, outlawed their former systems of government and forcibly imposed democracy upon them. Something similar is going to have to happen to an expansionist Islamic world, and soon:
Though the appeal of Isis can be challenged by other strands of Islam, its murderous presence persists in the failed states of Iraq and war-torn Syria and threatens to spread through northern Africa.
The crippled Iraqi government has launched its reluctant armies against Isis. The Iranians, being Shias opposed to Sunni Caliphates, are supporting the Iraqi army and the Shia militias, who are a considerable force independent of the Iraqi government, are in a coalition to fight Isis on the ground. With air support from the West, they may manage to push Isis back.
Such an offensive, with the immediate objective of regaining Iraqi territory has to be urgently expanded. Isis has to be seen as the most potent threat to the world since the Third Reich. Its military annihilation as an anti-civilisational force has to now be the objective of a world that wants its ideological and material freedoms.
Is the West’s current leadership up to the task? Don’t make me laugh.
The vicious murder of a 27-year-old woman named Farkhunda has stoked outrage among everyday Afghans who are fighting back against abuse of women and Islamic extremism.
Farkhunda was attacked by a mob in Kabul on Thursday after being accused of burning the Quran. She was beaten, run over by a car, and burned before her body was tossed in the muddy Kabul River.
Afghan authorities have confirmed there’s zero evidence that she even burned a Quran, and her parents say she was murdered for calling out a mullah on a practice seem as un-Islamic — he then wanted revenge and incited the mob.
“I want all the judicial institutions to prosecute the perpetrators,” her father, Nadir, told Tolo News. “I don’t want blood of my daughter go in vain.” Her mother stressed she was “proud” of her daughter, who “sacrificed her life for the right path.”
Afghanistan’s interior ministry suspended 13 police officers and officials in the investigation; videos show nearby police watched as Farkhunda was attacked. The mullah who incited the mob has been arrested along with a dozen others. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has also appointed a fact-finding team to investigate the murder. There’s copious video of the savage mob attack online.
But the strongest messages are being sent by Afghans, who are taking to the streets until justice is realized.
When Farkhunda was buried on Sunday, it was women who carried her coffin to the cemetery.
— Omid Farooq (@OmidFarooq) March 22, 2015
— Bethany E. Matta (@BethanyMatta) March 22, 2015
— Bashir Ahmad Gwakh (@bashirgwakh) March 22, 2015
Ramin Anwari, a 30-year-old activist, called the funeral “history-making and revolutionary,” according to the Telegraph.
“For the first time I saw visible anger at mullahs whose twisting of Islamic law have caused so much suffering in Afghanistan,” he said.
The protests are just heating up, and the pressure is on politicians who try to justify Farkhunda’s murder.
The two Afghan MPs who earlier supported the brutal murder of #Farkhunda, have both apologized to the people in separate Facebook messages.
— Mustafa W. Kazemi ن (@CombatJourno) March 22, 2015
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) March 23, 2015
— Tiago Morais Morgado (@tmoraismorgado) March 23, 2015
Guests at a fancy, charity Groundhog Day party in Russia erupted in a riot after attendees learned the host was going to kill, cook and serve the groundhog as an entree.
The event was held in Moscow and the star groundhog was brought in from a local children’s petting zoo. “A host of Russian celebrities happily posed with the creature, a relative of the squirrel, as they arrived at the charity event in aid of underprivileged children.”
Host Aleksey Polihun, 35, announced to his guests he was going to serve the groundhog on a platter with cranberry sauce. Polihun said it would be “entertaining to have a groundhog which didn’t survive Groundhog Day.”
It’s not clear why the party was held so long after Groundhog Day on February 2nd.
Guest Marya Nekrasova, 26, said: ‘It was outrageous.’
‘The poor thing was terrified… and it may be hard to believe but some people actually cheered him on.’
She added: ‘One of the other guests in the end offered to buy it off the menu and took it back to the zoo.’
But host and possible psychopath Polihun said after the riot:
‘It’s a pity. I think it would have been very tasty.
‘A bit like rabbit but with more zing to it.’
He added: ‘In the end most people thought I should let him live, so I did.
‘I just thought it would be entertaining to have a groundhog who didn’t actually survive groundhog day.
President Obama’s role during the Israeli elections was larger than reported, according to a pollster for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.
“What was not well reported in the American media is that President Obama and his allies were playing in the election to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu,” John McLaughlin, a Republican strategist, said in an interview on John Catsimatidis’s “The Cats Roundtable” radio show broadcast Sunday on AM 970 in New York. ”There was money moving that included taxpayer U.S. dollars, through non-profit organizations. And there were various liberal groups in the United States that were raising millions to fund a campaign called V15 against Prime Minister Netanyahu,” McLaughlin said.
He noted an effort to oust Netanyahu was guided by former Obama political operative Jeremy Bird and that V15, or Victory 15, ads hurt Netanyahu in the polls. McLaughlin said the Israeli leader rebounded after delivering a speech to Congress early this month, prompting more critical ads. 15 was viewed as part of a broader campaign to oust Netanyahu. The group was linked to Washington-based nonprofit OneVoice Movement, which reportedly received $350,000 in State Department grants. Money to OneVoice stopped flowing in November, officials said, before the Israeli elections.
For Hillary Clinton, the personal was political; for Barry Hussein the political is always personal. It was said of Mrs. Clinton’s husband by George Will that Bubba may not have been the worst president in history, but was certainly the worst man ever to become president. Obama has retired both titles.
The idea was to ban the construction of new fast-food outlets in South Central Los Angeles, in order to save the local inhabitants from their own worst culinary impulses. So how did that work out?
The South Los Angeles fast-food ban did not decrease obesity in poor neighborhoods because residents found unhealthy food at restaurants in strip malls and convenience stores instead, a new study has found. In 2008, a dietary ordinance targeted a 32-square-mile area south of Interstate 10 that struggles with high obesity rates and other health problems. The ban went into effect in South Los Angeles and restricted the opening or expansion of standalone fast-food restaurants.
However, the law, believed to be the first effort of its kind by a major city to improve public health, did not ban new fast food restaurants in strip malls. This made it possible for unhealthy food to continue making its way into the low-income neighborhoods.
Roland Sturm, a senior economist at RAND Corporation and lead author of the study, said findings should not come as a surprise, as most food outlets in the area are small food stores or restaurants that have limited seating and were not affected by the policy.
In the study, which was published in the Social Science and Medicine journal, Sturm found that in the targeted area, free-standing restaurants were rare to begin with and no new ones have opened since the ordinance took effect. These standalone fast-food restaurants are outnumbered by restaurants in strip malls and small food stores, such as convenience stores, which were not restricted by the ban, according to NPR.
It’s certainly true that if in the extremely unlikely event a denizen of Beverly Hills or the West Side were to drive through the intersection of Florence and Normandie (the epicenter of the Rodney King riots), the frightened white person would see fast-food joints as far as the eye can go, with nary a Whole Foods or a Starbucks (the nearest one appears to be at Slauson and Western) in sight.
But it’s also typical of lefty “do-gooderism” that a law purportedly meant to ban more occasions of gustatory sin was so poorly written that it had no ameliorating effect whatsoever; in fact, it probably made things worse. Kind of like Obamacare, although far less malevolent.
Findings showed that before the dietary ordinance went into effect in 2008, 63 per cent of residents in the area reported being overweight or obese compared to 57 per cent in other parts of the county. But three years on, instead of the law curbing weight gain, the opposite trend took force as obesity rates grew by 12 per cent in South Los Angeles.
‘The South Los Angeles fast food ban may have symbolic value, but it has had no measurable impact in improving diets or reducing obesity,’ said Sturm.
Nice work, everybody.
In an extraordinary moment more than 13 years in the making, the second elected Afghan president since the fall of the Taliban stood in the hub of America’s military community and thanked the troops’ sacrifice to liberate and build his country.
More than 850,000 U.S. troops and civilians, along with thousands of contractors, have served in Afghanistan since the war began in October 2001, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter reminded all at the beginning of the ceremony in the Pentagon courtyard. “We remember the 2,215 Americans and their spouses, parents, sons, and daughters who paid the ultimate price during the course of the conflict,” Carter said.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had warm words for those “who have sacrificed continually since 9/11 to bring us freedom and hope.”
“Each one of you has left a legacy but I also understand Afghanistan has marked you,” he said, noting “sometimes you wake up at night not sure whether you’re there or here” and realize “I’ve left a piece of my heart in Afghanistan.”
“Thank you,” Ghani said.
“Each one of you also has left a memory in the heart of every Afghan that you’ve touched and encountered,” the president continued, adding that U.S. forces were “not there just to fight” but “you built schools, you built roads” while bringing “an attitude of caring and sacrifice.”
The Afghan National Security Forces, which includes military and police, now “emulate the best of your example.”
While thanking the troops and their families, Ghani stressed thanks “mostly to the American taxpayer — the men and women who have had made your hard-earned dollars available for Afghanistan.”
The partnership between the U.S. and Afghanistan now enters a different “phase,” he said, focusing on “building resources,” trade with Europe through the supply road left by coalition forces, and ensuring that Afghanistan can meet the growing security challenges.
Ghani has admitted ISIS is now inside Afghanistan, telling NBC News “we have sufficient evidence that they were targeting us because to their narrative, to their storyline, Afghanistan is central.” That’s the Khorasan region touted by the Islamic State.
“We are not going to be a burden,” Ghani vowed to the Pentagon community, giving a nod to JFK when he added Afghanistan wants to focus on what it can do for the world instead of what the world can do for Afghanistan. “We are going to get our house in order.”
On terrorism, not just ISIS but the more persistent and deadly Taliban threat, “We are a front-line state. We die on a daily basis.”
“We die, but we will never be defeated,” Ghani added. “…We the people of Afghanistan are willing to speak truth to terror… we are going to overcome.”
The current partnership with the United States, the president said, “is foundational because we will be the first line of defense globally.”
Ghani said his “fondest hope to veterans is we hope to welcome you in Afghanistan as tourists,” where “millions of us will be able to thank you personally, shake your hand, welcome you into our homes.”
To the sounds of the Washington Post March, Ghani shook hands and greeted troops and family members on the lawn.
Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah meet with President Obama on Tuesday for a “working lunch” at the White House.
Abdullah and Ghani wrote in a joint Washington Post op-ed Friday that “while the opportunities to build peace and stability have never been greater, a new ecology of terror threatens to block not just our prosperity but yours as well.”
“Properly supported, Afghanistan is uniquely positioned to block the spread of extremism,” the leaders wrote. “With the bitter exception of the Taliban regime, Islam in Afghanistan has traditionally been inclusive and reflective, not violent and angry. And after 36 years of conflict, our people have become immunized against ideologically based conflict.”
Alas, at the Times, even the public editor — the reader’s representative whose job is to keep the Newspaper of Record of the Upper West Side honest — is a partisan hack. As even she had to admit today:
In the heat of a very hot news moment last summer, I criticized a Times story about the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I want to acknowledge that I misjudged an important element of that story.
In my post, I found fault with what I saw as “dubious equivalency” and the vaguely described anonymous sourcing in an article that led the paper on Aug. 20. Giving implicit credence to the named sources who described Michael Brown as having his hands up as he was fired on by Officer Darren Wilson, I criticized the use of unnamed sources who offered opposing information: They said that the officer had reason to fear Mr. Brown. I even went so far as to call those unnamed sources “ghosts” because readers had so little ability to evaluate their identity and credibility.
Now that the Justice Department has cleared Mr. Wilson in an 86-page report that included the testimony of more than 40 witnesses, it’s obvious to me that it was important to get that side of the story into the paper.
No kidding! Alas, the Times and other liberal news outlets all too often let the Narrative cloud their news judgment, as they did in the Duke “rape” case (which was nothing of the sort) in Ferguson and just about any other event in which whites and blacks are on opposite sides. In the case of Ferguson, there could be no doubt, after the publication of the autopsy sketches and examination of the bullet wounds, that Michael Brown was rushing toward the police officer, and did not have his hands up. It was an obvious lie from the beginning, told by one who had a vested interest in blaming the police. And the media instantly fell for it.
I still believe, as I did then, that the description of the sourcing was confusing. But that’s a relatively minor issue, and understandable in the rush of breaking news. The main thing is that The Times did its job in describing what were indeed “conflicting reports,” and getting them on the record in whatever way was possible at the time. That served readers well.
I noted once before, in a very low-key way, that my criticism of this story was too harsh. But I want to go further now and say that what I wrote was substantially flawed.
As I’ve mentioned before, in the completely unlikely event that was ever again approached to run a major school of journalism, I would make mandatory courses in firearms and forensics.
“(Not So) Happy Anniversary, Obamacare!,” writes Ron Fournier for National Journal. He continues: “White House lies sold it. Republican lies soiled it. Most Americans don’t like it.”
On the fifth anniversary of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act stands as an ugly reflection of today’s political culture: partisan, short-sighted, and flawed.
You’d think that he would then go on to blast it for being the mess it is. But no. Ron adds the following:
—[A]nd yet, better than the alternatives.
Better than the alternative whats exactly? Better than HillaryCare? Perhaps, I don’t know. Both plans were severely flawed and should, therefore, never have been passed. This is government, we’re talking about. It’s serious business. If a plan is “short-sighted and flawed” Congress shouldn’t approve it. End of debate.
Having said all that, I’m still pretty happy with this anniversary. The reason? Nothing has done more to educate Americans about the perils of a federal government run by progressives. They now realize – and no, I’m not just talking about conservatives, but about moderates and even some liberals as well – that big, wasteful programs cause more problems than they solve.
And that’s not all. On top of all that ObamaCare has caused conservatives to finally unite and rally around the flag. In both 2012 and 2014, they were more passionate than ever before; more involved than in a long, long time (at least since the Reagan years). Chances are that’ll spill over into the presidential elections, perhaps enabling a true small-government conservative to win the Republican nomination and the presidency itself.
So yes, let’s wish ObamaCare a happy anniversary. It’s the best thing that happened to promote good governance in decades.
California Governor Jerry Brown, also known as Governor Moonbeam, appeared on Meet the Press yesterday to share his thoughts on climate change and on the fact that Sen. Ted Cruz. Cruz will formally throw his hat in the presidential ring today at Liberty University.
“That man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of the existing scientific data. It’s shocking and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office,” Brown said after host Chuck Todd had played him a clip of a Cruz interview.
Todd played a clip of Cruz from Late Night with Seth Meyers where Cruz told Meyers:
“I just came back from New Hampshire where there’s snow and ice everywhere. And my view actually is simple. Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. And many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up.”
To which Brown responded: “I say what he said is absolutely false.”
Brown went on to blame California’s water problems on
global warming climate change.
“Look, they say the scientists know more about it,” Brown said. “I will tell you this, our research results that now say there’s a connection to the current drought and extreme weather in the East, other parts of the world, the UN has already said there’s going to be 40 percent of the world will suffer from water shortage.”
As the battle to secure our digital mobile equipment continues forward, Google has just upped the ante. A new feature in the Android operating system allows a user to keep his phone locked unless it is physically on his body. “A number of Android owners have spotted a new feature that keeps the phone constantly unlocked as long as it’s in a person’s hand, resting on their leg or even just sitting in a pocket.”
The feature uses the phone’s accelerometer to know when the phone is in use or being handled, only locking the phone when it is placed on a flat surface.
Android Police first noticed the feature when it appeared on the Nexus 4, a Google device, running the operating system Lollipop.
The on-body detection menu explained: ‘The feature uses your device’s accelerometer to detect whether your device is still being carried on the body.
‘If your device detects that it’s no longer being held, your device won’t stay unlocked.’
It’s not entirely an airtight security measure. If the phone is unlocked and handed to another person, the phone will stay unlocked. Another critical issue is butt-dialing. If the phone is in your pocket, will it be locked or unlocked?
Android also has a useful security measure called “face unlock,” which made an appearance in an earlier version, Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.
Both security features require the user to “opt-in” to use — so if you still want to use a password or fingerprint reader, you can.
I'm running for President and I hope to earn your support! pic.twitter.com/0UTqaIoytP
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 23, 2015
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who was expected to announce his plans to run for president in a speech at Liberty University on Monday morning, instead took a non-traditional approach, sending out a midnight tweet saying, “I’m running for president. I hope to earn your support!”
Earlier on Sunday, Cruz sent a text message to his followers, telling them to watch for an announcement on Twitter at midnight. Those who stayed up waiting for the tweet were not disappointed, because in addition to the announcement, they were rewarded with a new campaign video (paid for by Cruz for President). It features scenes of American flags waving, cute babies, tractors (with lots of corn) and motorcycles. It’s evocative of President Reagan’s “Morning in America” ad with its iconic scenes of American life.
His campaign also launched a new website, Ted Cruz 2016.
Pictures surfaced on Twitter Sunday night of the Cruz family doing a walk-through at Liberty University in preparation for Monday’s event, which will likely receive even more buzz after tonight’s surprise Twitter announcement.
AP posted photos of Ted Cruz's walkthrough at Liberty Univ. tomorrow. Sure looks like an announcement. pic.twitter.com/QmImV5ASln
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) March 23, 2015
Responses from Cruz’s followers on Twitter were, not surprisingly, enthusiastic:
@tedcruz Amen! Where do we send donations please?
— Leslie Sureda (@weswieann) March 23, 2015
— Woman4 #Cruz2016 (@Victoria41768) March 23, 2015
— Concerned American (@LUVofCountry) March 23, 2015
— LindaAnn (@AmeriJeepRang2) March 23, 2015
Ted Cruz announcement coming at midnight! pic.twitter.com/wwgoi3E8kj
— Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) March 23, 2015
Tonight around midnight there will be some news you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned…
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 23, 2015
Anonymous staffers told the Houston Chronicle that Cruz will launch his presidential campaign at Liberty University on Monday, bypassing the exploratory committee process, and becoming the first Republican to officially announce his candidacy.
Liberty University president Jerry Falwell confirmed that Texas Senator Ted Cruz will be speaking at the school’s weekly Convocation on Monday.
“We’re honored that political candidates are now requesting to appear at Liberty,” Falwell said in an article on Liberty University’s website. “We never had that happen years ago — we had to invite them. I think it’s a testament to what Liberty students have accomplished and what they are accomplishing.”
Cruz, the son of a Baptist minister, has joked to Dallas News, “I’m Cuban, Irish and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist.”
Sen. Cruz will appear on Hannity on Fox News Monday night, following what is likely to be his presidential announcement during Liberty University’s 10:00 a.m. Convocation.
Once again, the Confederate battle flag is the center of controversy as the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, a case involving the display of the flag on a specialty license plate in Texas.
The question facing the court is more complex than it would originally appear: is the “speech” that the flag represents a matter of individual freedom or, since the license plate is issued by the state, is it a question of government speech, where Texas can pick and choose which sentiments and issues it supports?
The case is important because other issues that private citizens wish to highlight on their license plates — abortion, war and peace, minority rights — can also be rejected if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the state.
The case goes back to 2009, when the Texas branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which honors soldiers who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, submitted a design proposal for a specialty license plate to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that included a Confederate flag. The DMV board that voted on the proposals fielded angry public comments and twice rejected the plate as an offensive celebration of slavery, according to the Supreme Court-focused news site SCOTUSblog.
The SCV sued, saying the DMV is violating the free speech rights of drivers who would select the license plate. Texas countered that license plates are government property on which the government can decide its own message. (The First Amendment guarantees that the government won’t abridge individuals’ right to free speech, but the government is allowed to police its own “speech.”)
Texas—which does celebrate an annual Confederate Heroes Day—asserted in a case brief that it “is fully within its rights to exclude swastikas, sacrilege, and overt racism from state-issued license plates 14 that bear the State’s name and imprimatur.”
In its own brief, the SCV shot back that having the annual holiday shows that “The State apparently does not believe that the ‘message’ of the Confederate flag is offensive to the public, or, if it is offensive, the State certainly does not shy away from its expression because of such offense.”
The case has attracted some unusual bedfellows, with the American Civil Liberties Union, pro-life groups, and even the satirist P.J. O’Rourke filing briefs in support of the SCV.
The AP said Texas offers 350 varieties of specialty plates (including ones devoted to restaurants, the Boy Scouts, and blood donations) that brought in $17.6 million in revenue last year. The state does offer license plates commemorating “Buffalo soldiers”—black regiments that fought Native Americans in the 19th century.
“There are a lot of competing racial and ethnic concerns, and Texas doesn’t necessarily handle them any way but awkwardly sometimes,” Lynne Rambo, a professor at the Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth, told the AP.
Five federal appeals courts have ruled in favor of the non-profit SCV, according SCOTUSblog, including, most recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The battle flag of the Confederacy (actually, it’s one of several battle flags used by southern armies during the war) is perhaps the most misunderstood — usually deliberately so — piece of Americana there is. It is not the national flag of the Confederacy, which you can see here. So the question becomes, what is it?
If we are going to penalize southern soldiers and think awful things about them because they fought and died under that flag, then we might as well ban Old Glory as well. Historian James McPherson estimates that no more than 20% of union regiments were abolitionist regiments formed expressly to free the slaves, or regiments with abolitionist sympathizers. Most northern working men opposed freeing the slaves, fearing they would head north and take their jobs. And northern whites almost universally opposed giving blacks the right to vote, to be educated in their schools, and to worship at their churches.
The fact is, almost all of America had the kind of casual, racist attitudes back then that modern-day opponents of the battle flag appear to ascribe to southerners only. So why pick on the battle flag?
It’s sad but true that the battle flag was incorporated into the flags of several southern states during the civil rights era not to honor southern soldiers, but to signify opposition to federal interference in what they considered states’ rights. In that sense, the anti-battle flag advocates have a point. It was used as a symbol of oppression and opposition to equal rights which has no place in modern America.
The flag is also employed by the Klan and many hate groups across the country. But as an expression of free speech, should it be allowed on license plates?
Allowing Texas to ban the battle flag from license plates would open the door to banning other, more overtly political speech. Pro- and anti-abortion messages could be banned depending on who is in power. “Drill, baby, drill” could be banned by a liberal administration that opposes fossil fuels. Giving the state the power to regulate free expression is a slippery slope that the Supreme Court will, hopefully, prevent us sliding down.
Canadian Kathy Shadie writes to inform us of a new documentary from a relatively new website that details what happened to Tom Flanagan, a political operative who helped engineer the election victory of conservatives in Canada. If you think what happened to Liz Mair was unfair, your blood will boil over what happened to Flanagan.
You guys — my American friends — might not recognize the name Dr. Tom Flanagan, but up here in Canada, he’s a political legend.
He was the backroom “brains” behind what many said couldn’t be done in “L/liberal” Canada:
The grassroots conservative movement that eventually saw Steven Harper get elected (and reelected) Prime Minister.
But one day, in the time it took him to drive home from a speaking engagement, Tom Flanagan was tossed under the bus by the same people he put in power.
A new — and very timely — documentary looks into what happened.
Here’s the trailer:
TheRebel.media is Ezra Levant’s new Canadian conservative media venture you might have heard about via Ricochet and PJMedia — the one that crowdfunded all their cameras, computers and mics in around 48 hours.
It’s been a going concern for just over a month, and now TheRebel.media is presenting its first longform doc, “Flanagan,” this Sunday, March 22.
So…Was this political correctness gone mad yet again? A Shakespearean tragedy for our times? Or should a “genius” like Flanagan have known better than to go too far?
Given what just happened with Liz Mair, “Flanagan” will give American viewers something to think about.
Here’s the full length documentary, courtesy of TheRebel.media.
— HummusNotWar (@cityofhummus) March 21, 2015
Blogger Elder of Ziyon writes:
Deebo at Israellycool looks at some interesting statistics from the Israeli elections.
One of the facts reported is that the most pro-Likud town in Israel is the village of All Naim, where 77% voted Likud.
Al Naim is a Bedouin Arab town.
Why did they vote for Bibi? NRG went there and asked.
The NRG report is in Hebrew, but the basic story is that the village has been fighting for basic electric and sewage services for years. The Netanyahu government proved to be the one source that finally started making progress two years ago. As the secretary of the settlement explained, the overwhelming support for Bibi and Likud was due to the fact that “there is something in our heritage that we remember a person of good things.” Imagine, voting for a politician on the basis of what they’ve already accomplished instead of what they’re promising to do.
But, as EoZ explains, because this overwhelming Arab support for Netanyahu/Likud doesn’t fit the mainstream narrative, the chances of it hitting big press are slim to none. Illustrating his point, the story was covered by the Israel paper Haaretz, which sourced unnamed residents of the village who claimed the local council told the residents how to vote. Their article ended by quoting a disgruntled Arab from an adjacent unrecognized Bedouin village of 80 residents. How relevant the quote was to the story of Al Naim, versus the “Right is racist” narrative? You decide.
Hiram Johnson was a two-term governor of California in the early 20th century who was a big believer in “direct democracy” — giving the voter powers that had formerly been reserved for political elites. He brought the ideas of ballot initiatives, referendums, and recalls to California. And he made the process of filing for these innovations as inexpensive as possible.
Johnson’s legacy was to give California perhaps the most open democratic system of any state in the country. Grassroots movements lowering property taxes, overturning the ban on gay marriage, and reforming government at all levels have given the people of California a powerful voice in their own affairs.
But ballot initiatives have also led to some silly, stupid, and dangerous ideas. The Economist offered this analysis of California’s “direct democracy”:
This citizen legislature has caused chaos. Many initiatives have either limited taxes or mandated spending, making it even harder to balance the budget. Some are so ill-thought-out that they achieve the opposite of their intent: for all its small-government pretensions, Proposition 13 ended up centralising California’s finances, shifting them from local to state government. Rather than being the curb on elites that they were supposed to be, ballot initiatives have become a tool of special interests, with lobbyists and extremists bankrolling laws that are often bewildering in their complexity and obscure in their ramifications. And they have impoverished the state’s representative government. Who would want to sit in a legislature where 70-90% of the budget has already been allocated?
Yes, it’s a mess. Democracy is like that, being “the worst form of government, except for all the others,” as Winston Churchill believed. But clearly, there are times when the ballot initiative becomes an embarrassment. Take the case of Huntington Beach attorney Matt McLaughlin, who is either a jokester with a warped sense of humor, or a fanatical zealot who should probably be in a straightjacket.
McLaughlin plunked down $200 at the Secretary of State’s office, proposing a ballot measure that would authorize the killing of gays and lesbians by “bullets to the head,” or “any other convenient method.”
The wording of the proposal should shock the sensibilities of even the most rabid anti-gay activist:
McLaughlin’s plan refers to “buggery” or “sodomy” as “a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” Under the proposal, “… any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification (would) be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”
Anyone transmitting “sodomistic propaganda” to a minor would be fined $1 million per offense, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from California for up to life. It would ban lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, or those who espouse sodomistic propaganda, or who belong to any group that does, from serving in public office, holding government jobs and obtaining public benefits.
“This law is effective immediately and shall not be rendered ineffective nor invalidated by any court, state or federal, until heard by a quorum of the Supreme Court of California consisting only of judges who are neither sodomites nor subject to disqualification hereunder,” it states.
Secretary of State Kamala Harris is being asked to deep-six the initiative, despite the fact that the law clearly states she must come up with a 100-word summary and authorize the gathering of signatures. A court may eventually bar the initiative from the ballot, but until then, Californians may be accosted at shopping malls and grocery stores by fanatics, asking them to sign a petition that advocates murder.
McLaughlin’s initiative has set off a debate in California over the entire process. Some want to substantially raise the cost of filing an initiative to discourage just this kind of idiocy. But others think that would be a mistake:
Jennifer Fearing, the president of Fearless Advocacy and a veteran of lower-wattage campaigns, said she isn’t sure “there’s a price that stops crazy.”
“It’s important to preserve access to direct democracy even if some jerks can get over the first and lowest hurdle on occasion,” she said.
While it’s exceedingly unlikely McLaughlin’s measure would qualify, the signature threshold for November 2016, at 365,880, is unusually low.
Fearing said unless he could come up with $1 million to pay signature collectors, and upward of $10 million to advertise, “we are all just going to have to hope he’s having his shameful 15 minutes of infamy.”
There’s a move to disbar McLaughlin, although that, too, appears doomed. Evidently, the rules governing disbarment for such behavior favor the crazies.
Even though he would not approve of the measure, wherever Hiram Johnson is, he’s probably smiling. Direct democracy has wreaked havoc on state government and California society. And that’s just what the old progressive wanted.
Watch as the infamous activist, blacklisted by Brandeis University for her anti-Islam views, discusses her new book Heretic and the concept of reforming Islam. Martha Raddatz has no problem outing herself as a turncoat feminist, accusing Hirsi Ali, herself a survivor of female genital mutilation, of unfairly attacking Islam now that she has left the religion.
Raddatz and the pro-Islam Manalo Omar are also quick to gang up on Hirsi Ali when she highlights one of the many Qu’ranic calls for death to infidels currently being used to justify Sharia law and jihad, citing both “the Torah” and “the Bible” as containing violent verses. When Hirsi Ali replies by questioning where the Christians are who take these verses as literally as their Islamic counterparts, Raddatz changes her line of questioning without changing her politically correct tone.
“Doesn’t [your book] incite people to hate Muslims?” is Raddatz’s conclusion, not her query, proving once again that the West’s multiculturalist elite are the greatest threat to Islamic reform.
I don’t drink coffee — never have, never will — so neither do I patronize Starbucks or any other overpriced java joint filled with hipsters. Still, their absurd “Race Together” campaign would keep me from ever even ordering a cup of tea. And now it’s over. Phase One, at least:
The company announced in a memo that it would stop having its employees write those words on its coffee cups as a way to spark a national conversation about race. In a news release, the company described the rationale behind the campaign:
As racially-charged tragedies unfolded in communities across the country, the chairman and CEO of Starbucks didn’t remain a silent bystander. Howard Schultz voiced his concerns with partners (employees) in the company’s Seattle headquarters and started a discussion about race in America. Despite raw emotion around racial unrest from Ferguson, Missouri to New York City to Oakland, “we at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America,” Schultz said. “Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.”
The plan did get people talking about race, but perhaps not in the way that Starbucks intended.
Has it ever occurred to these soft-headed, guilt-ridden do-gooders that maybe, just maybe, we’ve been having a “conversation about race” for half a century and, after electing Barack Hussein Obama twice, America is not in the mood for another one? The fact that the campaign was widely mocked on Twitter and elsewhere was, in fact, a healthy sign that Americans simply don’t want to be lectured to on the subject anymore, especially by some barista armed with corporate talking points. Still, they’re not giving up:
The memo from Schultz called the Race Together initiative “just the catalyst” for what the company hopes will be a larger dialog on race, and said that Starbucks will continue to try and further that conversation with special sections in USA Today, and by opening more stores in minority communities, the Associated Press reported.
Here’s what the AP had to say:
Starbucks baristas will no longer write “Race Together” on customers’ cups starting Sunday, ending as planned a visible component of the company’s diversity and racial inequality campaign that had sparked widespread criticism in the week since it took effect. The coffee chain’s initiative will continue more broadly without the handwritten messages, Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson said.
The cups were always “just the catalyst” for a larger conversation and Starbucks will still hold forum discussions, co-produce special sections in USA TODAY and put more stores in minority communities as part of the Race Together initiative, according to a company memo from CEO Howard Schultz said.
The campaign has been criticized as opportunistic and inappropriate, coming in the wake of racially charged events such as national protests over police killings of black males. Others questioned whether Starbucks workers could spark productive conversations about race while serving drinks.
The phase-out is not a reaction to that pushback, Olson said. “Nothing is changing. It’s all part of the cadence of the timeline we originally planned.” He echoed the company memo, saying of the Race Together initiative, “We’re leaning into it hard.”
Yeah, right. Goodbye and good riddance, Starbucks: the backlash is going to be a bitch.
A previously unknown group calling itself “Islamic State Hackers Division” has posted a hit list of 100 American servicemen online, urging followers to carry out attacks against the targets.
The names, addresses, and photos of the servicemen are included in the posting. Sources tell Reuters that the information was not obtained by hacking a military website and appears to be from easily accessible online databases.
The Pentagon said after the information was posted on the Internet that it was investigating the matter. “I can’t confirm the validity of the information, but we are looking into it,” a U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday.
“We always encourage our personnel to exercise appropriate OPSEC (operations security) and force protection procedures,” the official added.
In the posting, a group referring to itself as the “Islamic State Hacking Division” wrote in English that it had hacked several military servers, databases and emails and made public the information on 100 members of the U.S. military so that “lone wolf” attackers can kill them.
The New York Times reported that it did not look like the information had been hacked from U.S. government servers and quoted an unnamed Defense Department official as saying most of the information could be found in public records, residential address search sites and social media.
The Times quoted officials as saying the list appeared to have been drawn from personnel mentioned in news articles about air strikes on Islamic State. The group’s forces control parts of Syria and Iraq and have been targeted in U.S.-led air strikes.
The posting, addressed to disbelievers, Christians and “crusaders” in America, included what the group said were the names, military service branch, photos and street addresses of the individuals. The posting includes the military rank of some but not all of those named.
The New York Times quotes from the website:
“With the huge amount of data we have from various different servers and databases, we have decided to leak 100 addresses so that our brothers in America can deal with you,” the Islamic State’s so-called Hacking Division said in the web posting.
It added: “And now we have made it easy for you by giving you addresses, all you need to do is take the final step, so what are you waiting for?”
That doesn’t sound like a foreign terrorist who speaks English as a second language. But even if the posters are not directly under the command of Islamic State, the invitation to kill servicemen is deadly serious. As we’ve seen in several attacks around the world, there are plenty of nutcases who are inspired by Islamic State and would be eager to carry out their wishes.
Let’s hope they shut that website down before one of our servicemen is attacked.
This piece, by Times writer Judith Shulevitz, has got to be read in full to be believed. The opening will give you a (dis)taste:
KATHERINE BYRON, a senior at Brown University and a member of its Sexual Assault Task Force, considers it her duty to make Brown a safe place for rape victims, free from anything that might prompt memories of trauma.
So when she heard last fall that a student group had organized a debate about campus sexual assault between Jessica Valenti, the founder of feministing.com, and Wendy McElroy, a libertarian, and that Ms. McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture,” Ms. Byron was alarmed. “Bringing in a speaker like that could serve to invalidate people’s experiences,” she told me. It could be “damaging.”
Ms. Byron and some fellow task force members secured a meeting with administrators. Not long after, Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.
And just what sort of “safe space” could the poor dears repair to?
The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.
And these are the best and brightest who will make up America’s next generation of “leaders.” A toxic combination of Viennese Voodoo, Leftist whining, emotional immaturity and an overly politicized upbringing has given them to us. Be sure to read the whole thing, including the writer’s obvious scorn for the ninnies she’s writing about:
It’s disconcerting to see students clamor for a kind of intrusive supervision that would have outraged students a few generations ago. But those were hardier souls. Now students’ needs are anticipated by a small army of service professionals — mental health counselors, student-life deans and the like. This new bureaucracy may be exacerbating students’ “self-infantilization,” as Judith Shapiro, the former president of Barnard College, suggested in an essay for Inside Higher Ed.
But why are students so eager to self-infantilize? Their parents should probably share the blame. Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, wrote on Slate last month that although universities cosset students more than they used to, that’s what they have to do, because today’s undergraduates are more puerile than their predecessors. “Perhaps overprogrammed children engineered to the specifications of college admissions offices no longer experience the risks and challenges that breed maturity,” he wrote. But “if college students are children, then they should be protected like children.”
Back when coeducation was being introduced into American colleges and universityies, there were many who predicted adverse consequences:
Certain male doctors argued that extended education was dangerous for women, who could be harmed by overexertion caused by competition with male students. Other opponents of coeducation protested on religious and moral grounds, maintaining that the hazards of impropriety were higher when young men and women were placed in such close proximity for long periods.
Our president is either a fool or a knave:
Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for “Death to America” on Saturday, a day after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to seize a “historic opportunity” for a nuclear deal and a better future, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed substantial progress toward an accord.
Khamenei told a crowd in Tehran that Iran would not capitulate to Western demands. When the crowd started shouting, “Death to America,” the ayatollah responded: “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.
“They insist on putting pressure on our dear people’s economy,” he said, referring to economic sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program. “What is their goal? Their goal is to put the people against the system,” he said. “The politics of America is to create insecurity,” he added, referring both to US pressure on Iran and elsewhere in the region.
The Iranians have been cruising for a serious bruising since 1979, when “students” seized the American embassy in Tehran and held our diplomats hostage in defiance of international law for 444 days. They deserve to be treated with the utmost contempt. Payback is long over due. The first GOP candidate who promises to give it to them, good and hard, before they can get the bomb, will be the next president. Who’s it going to be?
Sometimes it just takes a tweet — or in the case of the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei, who has final, absolute say over his country’s nuclear negotiations, many tweets:
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 21, 2015
That’s a clear reference to Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism and Iran continuing to hold four Americans. Congressional critics of the administration’s Iran deals have been insistent that how the Islamic Republic continues to wreak havoc across the globe and at home should be on the table in negotiations, but the Obama administration insists a nuclear deal must be forged first. “The day after a deal is reached if we get an agreement, our concerns about other Iranian activities in the region will be exactly the same as they are today,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said at the beginning of the month.
We reject US fraudulent offer of reaching a deal w #Iran first then lifting sanctions. Lifting sanctions is a part of deal not its outcome.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 21, 2015
The clincher that nobody seems to be pressing the administration on — both officials in Iran’s regime and Iranian lawmakers have insisted over the past few weeks they will not agree to a nuclear deal unless all sanctions are repealed first. There’s the ayatollah’s rubber stamp.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 21, 2015
As the Obama administration declares progress is being made on a nuclear agreement, one has to wonder what concessions are on the table. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has accused the administration of moving the goalposts to get a nuke deal. So what has been going on at the negotiating table for Secretary of State John Kerry to declare today that “genuine progress” has been made in talks?
“We have not yet reached the finish line. But make no mistake, we have the opportunity to try to get this right,” Kerry told reporters in Switzerland. “It’s a matter of political will and tough decision making. It’s a matter of choices, and we must all choose wisely in the days ahead.”
A shocking piece in Politico that details the lengths to which schools go to spy on our children’s online lives.
This is especially true for Common Core administrators who are scouring the internet looking for leaks of questions from standardized tests. This is bad enough, but there appears to be no allowance made for protecting privacy — even when it comes to information not even related to Common Core.
The web patrol team works for Caveon, a test security company charged with protecting the integrity of new Common Core exams developed by the publishing giant Pearson. To that end, they’re monitoring social media for any leaks about test questions. News of the surveillance broke this week, sparking a firestorm. The American Federation of Teachers even circulated a petition demanding that Pearson “stop spying on our kids.”
But Pearson is hardly the only company keeping a watchful eye on students.
School districts and colleges across the nation are hiring private companies to monitor students’ online activity, down to individual keystrokes, to scan their emails for objectionable content and to scrutinize their public posts on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram and other popular sites. The surveillance services will send principals text-message alerts if a student types a suspicious phrase or surfs to a web site that raises red flags.
The rise of online student monitoring comes at a time of rising parent protests against other forms of digital surveillance — namely, the vast quantities of data that technology companies collect on kids as they click through online textbooks, games and homework. Companies providing those online resources can collect millions of unique data points on a child in a single day. Much of that information is not protected by federal privacy law.
School administrators don’t tend to be too interested in that data, because it’s far too granular for them to make sense of it until an ed-tech company mines it for patterns.
But some principals, coaches and college presidents are acutely interested in student tweets.
Enter the surveillance services, which promise to scan student posts around the clock and flag anything that hints at bullying, violence or depression. The services will also flag any post that could tarnish the reputation of either the student or the educational institution. They’ll even alert administrators to garden-variety teenage hijinks, like a group of kids making plans to skateboard on school property .
Some of the monitoring software on the market can track and log every keystroke a student makes while using a school computer in any location, including at home. Principals can request text alerts if kids type in words like “guns” or “drugs,” or browse websites about anorexia or suicide. They can even order up reports identifying which students fritter away hours on Facebook and which buckle down to homework right after dinner.
Obviously, the law has had trouble catching up to the technology. Only five states limit this kind of snooping on our kids and five more are considering it. But what’s really needed is a federal standard that will stop them all from prying into what’s essentially none of their damn business.
Trying to prevent the next Newtown or Columbine is not an excuse. The chances the snooping would head off a school massacre are infinitesimally small. Nor is shaming bullies, or catching bigots in the act of expressing themselves, or policing threats a reason to so egregiously violate the privacy of children or adults.
Perhaps even more worrisome are the tech companies who mine your child’s online life in order to develop data they can sell to all sorts of companies. There are inexpensive programs you can download that can protect your kid from most of this snooping, but the question of why it is legal in the first place lingers.
There are enough hackers, phishers, and Nigerian princes out there already trying to spy on and scam you. We don’t need their legal counterparts adding to our worries.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley was in Iowa, speaking at the Scott County Democrats’ “Red, White, and Blue Dinner” on Friday and showed those present that he is a serious candidate for president no matter what the polls say about Hillary Clinton’s inevitability.
O’Malley, who was not known as a liberal firebrand while governor, has adopted a take-no-prisoners attitude toward Wall Street and the rich.
During O’Malley’s appearance at the Scott County Democrats’ “Red, White and Blue Dinner,” he offered a prescription for “making the dream true again” that includes raising the minimum wage, expanding Social Security benefits, making pre-kindergarten universally available and ensuring equal pay for women. “Sing it with me people,” O’Malley said. “When women succeed, America succeeds.”
The speech, which drew multiple standing ovations, both underscored O’Malley’s opportunities and the challenges in the nation’s first presidential nominating state, where early polls show Clinton with a commanding lead and O’Malley barely registering. In interviews afterward, many Democratic activists said they were only starting to learn about O’Malley.
“I haven’t really followed him all that closely, but I’m going to be looking at him a lot harder now,” said Ken Krayenhagen, a 56-year-old chiropractor who lives in Davenport. “I like a leader that’s inspiring.”
O’Malley has said he plans to make a decision about whether to move forward with a presidential bid by May. Clinton has yet to visit Iowa this year but is hiring staff and laying other groundwork here and in other early states.
Taking a cue from Senator Elizabeth Warren, O’Malley evoked the class-warfare memes that makes liberals’ hearts flutter:
Many of the more than 200 people who turned out to see O’Malley in the Mississippi River city of Davenport on Friday said they were meeting him for the first time. He touted his time in office during his speech, including his work to raise Maryland’s minimum wage and increase state spending on education. The crowd enthusiastically applauded and rose to their feet several times when O’Malley bemoaned income inequality and called for more oversight of Wall Street and the financial industry.
“Over the last 12 years, wages have been going down, not up,” said O’Malley, who concluded eight years as governor of Maryland in January. “In fact, last year, Wall Street bonuses alone were double the combined earnings of every single American working for minimum wage to take care of their family. Until we solve this problem, we cannot rest – as a party or as a people.”
They were comments aimed squarely at those still pining for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to get into the race, something she has said repeatedly she will not. An effort to draft Warren into the race has been underway for months, organized by the liberal groups MoveOn.org and Democracy for America.
“I’m a lifelong Clinton fan. But the thing is, this isn’t a dynasty – it isn’t a monarchy,” said one attendee. In the end, that might be the best thing that O’Malley — and anyone else who challenges Hillary — has going for them in the campaign.
Congratulations are due to the ACLU and federal judge Alvin Hellerstein for handing the thugs of the world a propaganda coup on a silver platter.
Hellerstein ruled on Friday that photos depicting the torture of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan while in U.S. custody must be released within two months if the government decides not to appeal his decision.
The ACLU, which originally brought the suit more than a decade ago, says the pictures “are manifestly important to an ongoing national debate about governmental accountability for the abuse of prisoners.”
The fight over the photographs reaches back to the early years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it invokes the images of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq that sparked international outrage after they emerged in 2004 and 2006. Early in the 2004 lawsuit, the ACLU pointed to the Abu Ghraib photos as priority examples of records the organization was seeking on the treatment of detainees.
It’s unclear how many more photographs may exist. The government has said it has 29 relevant pictures from at least seven different sites in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it’s believed to have perhaps hundreds or thousands more, Hellerstein said in a ruling in August. He said some photos he had seen “are relatively innocuous while others need more serious consideration,” and he has ruled that any images that would be released would be redacted to protect the identities of people in them.
Some photographs, taken by service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, were part of criminal investigations of alleged abuse. Some images show “soldiers pointing pistols or rifles at the heads of hooded and handcuffed detainees,” then-Solicitor General — now Supreme Court Justice — Elena Kagan wrote in an appeal to the high court earlier in the case, which has taken a long road through the courts and Congress.
The government has long argued that releasing the photographs could incite attacks against U.S. forces and government personnel abroad, and officials have said that risk hasn’t abated as the U.S. military role in Iraq and Afghanistan lessened.
Indeed, “the danger associated with release of these photographs is heightened now,” amid the rise of the Islamic State militant group, Navy Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, the vice director for operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a December court filing. Islamic State, he said “would use these photographs to further encourage its supporters and followers to attack U.S. military and government personnel.”
Amid the lawsuit, Congress passed a 2009 law allowing the government to keep the photos secret if the secretary of defense certified that unveiling them would endanger U.S. citizens or government or military personnel.
Was there torture of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan? Yes there was. Should those who carried out the torture and anyone who ordered it be put on trial? Yes, absolutely.
But what possible purpose is served in releasing the photos? Let’s hold those in the government accountable and have a national conversation about it without releasing the photos. The only purpose of releasing these pictures is to satisfy those who glory in seeing the United States laid low in the international community. There is no high-falutin purpose to putting the U.S. government in a bad light in the eyes of the world. There is only a self loathing that requires constant reinforcement that the U.S. is evil, and undeserving of its lofty place in the world order.
And the notion that “airing our dirty laundry” for the entire world to see makes us “stronger” is a nonsensical construct based on a grand illusion that it is somehow heroic to damage our own interests and put our own people in danger. I call bullcrap on that and always will.
The fact of the matter is, in the “Arab street” — and in the streets of every dusty, two bit thugocracy and theocratic backwater in the world — the ignorant fanatics and ox-dumb peasants won’t see the nuance and subtlety about “accountability” claimed by the ACLU and those eager to embarrass the U.S. The release of the pictures will be an out-and-out incitement to riot and to kill Americans. Not that they need an excuse, but in their twisted worldview, the release of the photos would be an order from God — an opportunity to engage in murder and mayhem courtesy of the self-loathing hypocrites who are agitating for the release of this dynamite.
The photos are enemy propaganda. There is no difference between the torture photos and film released by the North Vietnamese showing happy, healthy American POWs eating well and apparently being well treated. Does it really matter which side releases the propaganda? Our enemies will use the photos for their own propaganda purposes. Why give them a helping hand?
The effect — intended or not — is the same. The propaganda is designed to elicit an emotional response and hide the truth. Are we to believe that every one of the tens of thousands of people who have been captured over the last decade were all subjected to the treatment shown in the photos? You can bet our enemies will make that claim.
Those photos are no more representative of the way most prisoners who fell into our hands in the last decade were treated than were the North Vietnamese propaganda films that hid the truth about their brutal treatment of captured Americans.
The torture of prisoners was real. It is a cause for national shame. But no purpose whatsoever is served by releasing photos of the crimes. The vast majority of people around the world will not see the photos as an effort at government accountability, or a sign of the strength of our democracy, or any other elevated notion of civilized behavior the left thinks releasing the pictures will reveal about America.
It will result in fire, and mayhem, and blood. And every drop of it will be on the heads of those who arrogantly believe in their own moral superiority.
If you listen to both Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani talking about the progress of talks to limit Iran’s nuclear program, you get the feeling that one side in the negotiations made substantial concessions in the last 48 hours. Both men are saying that a deal is “within reach” — an attitude that was missing just 48 hours ago.
You have to believe that one of two things happened: either Iran gave up on its long-held beliefs regarding issues like sanctions and inspections, or the U.S. and the west are caving in to Iranian demands on those matters.
Which do you think is closer to the truth?
The United States and Iran reported significant progress Saturday toward a nuclear agreement, with the Iranian president declaring a deal within reach. America’s top diplomat was more reserved, leaving open whether world powers and Tehran would meet a March 31 deadline.
Speaking after a week of nuclear negotiations in Switzerland, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry challenged Iran to make “fundamental decisions” that prove to the world it has no interest in atomic weapons. Amid conflicting statement by officials about how close the sides were, Kerry said, “We have an opportunity to try to get this right.”
The talks “have made substantial progress,” Kerry told reporters, “though important gaps remain.” Talks with Iran resume next week.
In Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was more optimistic. “Achieving a deal is possible,” he said. “There is nothing that can’t be resolved.”
Other negotiators offered both positive and negative assessments. Top Russian negotiator Sergey Ryabkov and Iran’s atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi said in recent days that technical work was nearly done. But French officials said the opposite, declaring the sides far from any agreement.
Kerry was departing later Saturday to meet with European allies in London, before returning to Washington, in part to ensure unity. Kerry said the U.S. and its five negotiating partners — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — are “united in our goal, our approach, our resolve and our determination.”
But France, which raised last minute objections to an interim agreement reached with Iran in 2013, could threaten a deal again. It is particularly opposed to providing Iran with quick relief from international sanctions and wants a longer timeframe for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity.
France is looking to stiffen the backbones of their colleagues by objecting to Kerry moving the goal posts on sanctions. We’ve gone from a position where sanctions would be lifted gradually over a 10-year period to major sanctions on the Iranian oil and finance industries being lifted in a matter of weeks following this framework agreement.
But it’s not likely the French will blow up an agreement for any reason. They don’t want to be faced with the decision to bomb Iran any more than Obama does. They will hope for the best but plan for the worst on an Iranian nuclear program.
Negotiations have been suspended until March 26 — not doubt to give the western nations time to figure out how to spin this deal to make it palatable to those too stupid to know otherwise. So, unless hard liners in Tehran torpedo a deal by putting pressure on Supreme Leader Khamenei to reject it, there is a likelihood of an “historic” agreement with the crazies in Iran.
The headline on this
op-ed piece blog post in the Washington Post says it all:
College applicant: I got in! But I can’t afford it. Was all my hard work for nothing?
The author of the piece, Crysten Price, is a high-school senior in Louisiana who just got admitted to Tulane, so let’s cut her some slack here. But what does it say about the success of President Obama’s constant yammering about how college should be “free” (incrementally, of course, beginning with community college, but we’ve all seen this leftist movie before and know where it’s going)? A lot, is what:
I am one of the top two prospects for valedictorian at Riverside, the opposing student is an African-American female and scholarship student as well. With silent fervor and diligence, together we worked to rise to become the top senior ranks. History will be made graduation day; our high school has yet to rear an African-American valedictorian or salutatorian since its opening in 1970. I believe this to be an extraordinary achievement, considering the politics of our community, the region we live in, the current year, and the odds stacked against us…
To my dismay, I was denied the full scholarship to Tulane. Although being accepted is a pretty astounding achievement, somehow I feel the point I’m desperately trying to prove disintegrated completely. Yes, the middle and lower classes have a place at universities such as this, but when it comes to funding we are on our own. It’s almost as if being let in the door to take a brief look around, but shooed off outright.
One might suggest to Ms.
Svrluga Price that millions of students have faced similar circumstances over the years, and many have found a way around or through them: loans, part-time jobs, scholarships (both from the school and elsewhere). Government need not be the first and last resort. Here comes the kicker, though, and it’s unutterably sad:
I want a voice. I want to prove that I am not a product of my hometown’s low expectations.
I want the college education that I worked so hard for yet cannot afford.
I want the rest of the students within my community to leave, to branch out, and to thrive.
I want the destructive system crippling my community to fall.
I want equality of outcome.
And there you have it.
UPDATED: The name of the high-school student has been corrected. Susan Svrluga is a blogger on the Washington Post website who posted Ms. Price’s piece.
Unlike the Democrats, the GOP really does have a strong bench this electoral season, especially once you get past a hopeless Rinosaur like Jeb Bush, fringe candidates like Rand Paul and no-hoper retreads like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker has already made an impressive splash; now Texas conservative firebrand Ted Cruz may be ready to throw his hat into the ring:
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is set to deliver a speech on Monday at Liberty University that is stirring speculation about a possible presidential announcement. Allies to the likely GOP 2016 hopeful are reaching out to political reporters and encouraging them to attend what they’re billing as a major address at the evangelical school about 150 miles from D.C.
The conservative college founded by the late Jerry Falwell has often played a major role in the Republican fight for the White House, with hopefuls frequently making stops to speak to the evangelical base of the party. If Cruz does launch a bid, as expected, those evangelical voters will be crucial to separating himself in a crowded likely GOP field.
The country needs fresh faces, not exhausted familial dynasties like the Clintons and the Bushes. So run, Ted, run.
One thing Barack Hussein Obama definitely learned from the Clintons: that if you are utterly brazen and shameless about your lawlessness, you can get away with it. For a while, anyway:
Haitian activists protested outside of the Clinton Foundation in New York over the loss of “billions of dollars” that was meant to help rebuild after the devastating 2010 earthquake.
The activists are claiming the money was stolen through the Haiti Reconstruction Comm ssion that was headed by Bill Clinton. In January 2015, the Clinton Foundation was the target of protests for wasting more than $10 billion and awarding contracts to non-Haitian companies. The activists also said Haiti as a cover for foreign governments to funnel kickbacks of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. They believe that this was done for favors that Hillary was doing for the foreign governments while she was Secretary of State.
Mrs. Clinton is going to rue the day, if she hasn’t already, that she took Barry’s poisoned chalice in Foggy Bottom: between Benghazi and the aggrieved, exploited Haitians — Democrats using black people as props again, in order to make themselves look and feel good, while costing them nothing — these scandals have the capacity to finally finish her long reign of terror in American politics. It can’t happen fast enough.
Well, at least Senators Ted Cruz and James Lankford are going to try:
With only three weeks remaining for Congress to overturn two Washington, D.C., laws that violate the religious freedom of Catholic schools and colleges—as well as other religious and pro-life organizations—Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and James Lankford of Oklahoma have done the “right thing” by introducing joint resolutions this week, said The Cardinal Newman Society’s Bob Laird.
Senator Cruz comments:
“The D.C. Council is attempting to force religious institutions to provide services, make employment decisions, or participate in activities that directly violate their faith. No government entity should be able to coerce organizations—whether they be non-profits or religious schools—into funding abortion services or promoting gender policy that is contrary to the organization’s fundamental mission.”
The freedom of religion is at the very core of individual liberty and, therefore, of America’s system. Many believe that the freedom of speech was the foundation, but that’s not true: the acknowledgement of that natural right grew out of the freedom of religion (reading tip: Thomas Hobbes). That’s why it’s so important that the Catholic Church — supported by Cruz and Lankford — wins this battle. You can’t preserve liberty in general when you abolish the freedom of religion, as dictators very well know. Why do you think Mao Zedong and old Joe Stalin declared war on religious institutions shortly after they seized power?
The result of D.C.’s plans will be catastrophic. This is how tyranny starts — by tearing apart the right of citizens to practice their beliefs. Let’s hope that a miracle happens and the Church triumphs. If she doesn’t, I fear not only for her and D.C., but for America in its entirety.