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WAS IT OVER WHEN THE CONFEDERATES BOMBED PEARL HARBOR? ‘Jerk punks’ torched a statue of General Lee. It honors a WWII veteran, not the Confederate leader.

Just outside downtown Dunn, N.C., a historic antebellum-style house honors Maj. Gen. William C. Lee, a hometown hero often described as the father of the U.S. Army’s airborne infantry. The World War II veteran served as the first commanding general for the 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed the “Screaming Eagles,” and helped plan the Allied forces’ D-Day invasion of Normandy.

He’s a widely respected, if somewhat obscure, military figure — which is why, after anonymous vandals attempted to torch a statue of him last week, museum officials concluded it had been a case of mistaken identity. They suspect that the perpetrators thought they were burning a memorial to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

“This is not a Civil War museum and this is not Robert E. Lee,” Mark Johnson, the curator for the Maj. Gen. William C. Lee Airborne Museum, told WNCN on Tuesday. “This is General William C. Lee from United States Army Airborne from World War II.”

That’s pathetic. But fortunately, as the WaPo notes, “Authorities are reviewing security camera footage from the area to see if they can identify the culprits, WRAL reported.”

Faster, please.

PRIVACY: “It’s not just the city cameras in the Jussie Smollett case that are used by law enforcement. Think about the houses that have a RING doorbell. Those are watching you and recording the surroundings of your house. And inside your house if you have indoor cameras.”

That’s Liz Sheld, complete with a flashback to this report from last month:

If you own a Ring doorbell camera system, we’ve got some bad news. The smart home company owned by Amazon, which the internet retail giant shelled out more than $1 billion to acquire, has apparently been violating its customers’ privacy in a pretty shocking way. A new report from The Intercept quotes unnamed sources who confirm that engineers and executives at Ring have “highly privileged access” to live customer camera feeds, utilizing both Ring’s doorbells as well as its in-home cameras.

All that’s apparently required to tap into the live feeds is a customer’s email address. Meaning the company has been so egregiously lax when it comes to security and privacy that even people outside the company could have potentially done this, using merely an email address to begin spying on customers, according to the report.

When I installed a couple outdoor security cameras last year (I’m not about to install some internet-connected door lock or doorbell), I bought gear from Ubiquiti which stores all the camera recordings locally. It’s a more expensive solution than letting someone else store your videos their on servers, but it’s almost infinitely more secure.

NEW YORK SUN: Our Constitutional Emergency:

In the constitutional confrontation over President Trump’s plan to use emergency powers to build a wall on our southern border, we’re keeping an eye out for the name of Jagdish Rai Chadha. He was the plaintiff in the case in which the Supreme Court read Congress the riot act for trying to interfere with a president’s emergency powers. The case echoes through the years.

At the moment, the President is being opposed by Speaker Pelosi, Senator Schumer, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, and every other Tom, Dick, and Harriet in the Democratic Party. Sixteen states have already gone to court. They’re complaining about what they call Mr. Trump’s “flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles engrained in the United States Constitution.”

This turns out to be exactly the principle with which the Justices clobbered Congress in INS v. Chadha. In that case, decided in 1983, the president used emergency powers to permit Mr. Chadha, a stateless person who had overstayed a student visa, to remain at America. The House of Representatives turned around and “vetoed” the suspension.

When it got to the Supreme Court, the Justices would have none of it. Congress, the justices concluded, doesn’t get to veto what a president does. Feature the parchment. The veto, as a power, is granted in the Constitution to only the president. He gets to use it against Congress. Nowhere does it say that the Congress gets a veto against the President.

When it comes to dealing with a president, the House can impeach the muskrat, the Senate can try him, Congress can refuse to appropriate money, it can declare war, it can grant a trademark. It can repeal a law. Veto, though, no. In the case of Mr. Chadha’s deportation, moreover, it was just the House of Representatives, acting alone, that tried to veto the president’s emergency action.

This hangs out there today, when we have a Senate controlled by the GOP and the House by the Democrats. “One-house legislative vetoes are invalid because they should be considered an exercise of legislative power, which makes them subject to the bicameralism and presentment requirements in Article I of the Constitution,” is the way the Justia Web site summarizes the case.

The business about presentment means that that if Congress were trying to legislate around a presidential emergency action, the president would get to sign off on it, just like any other act by Congress. This is one of the checks and balances to which everyone is always bowing and scraping. It looks like a problem Congress could face as she seeks to foil President Trump in respect of the Wall.


JUST REMEMBER NOT TO GIVE THE APP ACCESS TO YOUR CAMERA OR MICROPHONE: The world’s first smart oral sex toy aims to close the orgasm gender gap.

ENGLISH LIBERTY: Motorist who mounted ‘laser jammer’ on BMW to block speed cameras is jailed.

A businessman who attached a “laser jammer” to his BMW to block speed cameras has been locked up for THREE MONTHS.

Michael Twizell, 58 – who installed the device which works by blocking the signals that track how fast cars are travelling – was also ordered to pay a £1,500 fine for perverting the course of justice.

Police officers started investigating him when their device recorded an error code when he drove passed a police safety camera van last February on the A658 near Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

It was established that he was using a device on the front of his BMW 3-series that illegally interfered with police camera equipment.


Speaking after the hearing, Traffic Constable Andy Forth, from the Traffic Bureau Investigations team at North Yorkshire Police, said: “To use a device which is capable of interfering with police speed measurement is clearly as shown today a very serious matter.

Good to know where Britain’s priorities are.

LANCE MORROW: The Longest Day for Trump’s Adversaries: His State of the Union address dramatically advanced his case for re-election in 2020.

On Tuesday Mr. Trump enlarged the public’s idea of himself and his presidency, and in proportion diminished his enemies. That was his most effective stroke on Tuesday night: to make the left seem to be lost in irrelevant obsessions and guilty of misinterpreting—falsifying—America and its values.

He redrew the battleground, leading the discussion abruptly away from progressives’ preoccupations with race and sex. He redefined himself in a more civilized light and sought to lend credibility and bipartisanship to his “Make America Great Again” theme by evoking American history and summoning the better angels. He fetched back to the 20th century’s binary moral perspectives, to the victorious fight against Nazi Germany and to the Cold War against communism.

The speech sought to annul, or at least soften, the left’s radical critique of American history, which has been the theme of elites since the 1960s, and to define Mr. Trump not as a chief of yahoos but a leader of a thoughtful, broadly respectable patriotism. It’s wishful thinking to hope that the speech might help to break the cycle of mutual contempt that has so demoralized the country.

The web has teemed for the past few years with comparisons of Mr. Trump to Hitler, warnings that Trumpism was the start of a new Reich. Mr. Trump installed two Jewish guests in the House gallery—Herman Zeitchik, who went ashore at Normandy in 1944, and Joshua Kaufman, whom Mr. Zeitchik helped liberate from Dachau the following year. The television picture of those two old Jewish men might have come from the epilogue to “Schindler’s List.” Mr. Trump beamed upon them from the podium as if, like Prospero, he had conjured this sweet denouement out of thin air.

The president twice mentioned the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and he proudly took credit for moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. If Hitler was history’s supreme anti-Semite, Mr. Trump did a fair job of presenting himself as the opposite.

The president played a sly game of trapping his antagonists into applauding when they would have wished to sit on their hands or jeer. The white-clad vestal brigade of new Democratic congresswomen, including that one from Michigan who’d proclaimed her intention to “impeach the m—f—,” were seen turning to one another in confusion and trying to decide whether they would look worse applauding or sitting still.

Mr. Trump manipulated the theatrics inherent in the State of the Union, including the TV cameras’ restless and vigilant reaction shots, to his advantage. As he promised that America would never become a socialist country, the camera focused on the glowering self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, who looked like a grumpy old man out of Dostoevsky.

Mr. Trump turned things upside down. Portrayed by the left as a lawless president, he insisted on the rule of law, especially regarding immigration. Condemned as a racist, he defused the issue, to a degree, by embracing prisoners’ rights and condemning discrimination in the justice system.

Yes. As I said yesterday, “One of the most interesting things about Trump’s speech last night is how it seemed calculated to demolish all the standard anti-Trump tropes from the media and from the left and to do so with compelling imagery.”

LOVING THE ZOOM-IN ON BERNIE SANDERS as Trump slams socialism for coercion, domination, and control. “America will never be a socialist country.” Pretty sure the people chanting “USA, USA!” this time weren’t the women in white.

UPDATE: CNN cameras suddenly can’t find AOC in the crowd when POTUS promises we will never be a socialist country.

Plus: “Trump’s anti-socialist, pro-liberty rhetoric is, dare I say it, Reaganesque. That’s as high praise as I know how to muster for a politician.”

MORE: Nancy Pelosi Blinks ‘Please Send Help’ In Morse Code.


Trump is the Great Clarifier.


● Shot:

I do not record. I’ve never recorded. I’m a very fast note-taker. When someone kind of says the “it” thing that I have really wanted, I don’t start scribbling right away. I have an almost photographic memory and so I wait a beat or two while they’re onto something else, and then I write down the previous thing they said. Because you don’t want your subject to get nervous about what they just said.

—“How I Get It Done: Merchants of Truth author Jill Abramson,” New York magazine’s “The Cut,” today.

● Chaser:

So, when you sit down for an interview (unless it’s live), you’re putting yourself, like Homer, at the mercy of the editors. Usually they’re honest, but not always. But there’s a remedy now, with technology being what it is. If I were a candidate, I think I’d bring my own camera to interviews, shoot the whole thing and post the unedited raw video on the Web.

—“Bring Your Own Camera,” Glenn Reynolds, the New York Post, after Charlie Gibson’s deceptively edited interview with Sarah Palin, September 13, 2008. (At the very least, bring an audio recorder to a print interview.)

● Hangover:

The web is abuzz after a quote from the New York Times’s future executive [now of course former — Ed] editor, Jill Abramson, in a Times news story on her appointment was missing in an updated version of the piece.

Abramson was quoted by Jeremy Peters on Thursday as saying “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.” In later versions published online, the quote had been removed.

* * * * * * * *

Of the quote’s removal, National Review’s Jay Nordlinger wrote late Thursday: “That’s a tiny bit strange, isn’t it? I mean, Abramson’s words were not exactly scrubbable, or scrub-worthy.” In a follow-up, Taranto wrote that the editing process was the likely culprit for the quote’s removal, but added: “It’s obvious that an editorial decision was made to ‘rectify’ a quote that made the Times look foolish.”

—“NYT quote removal sparks web buzz,” the Politico, June 03, 2011.

CLAUDIA ROSETT: John Bolton’s Intriguing Notepad.

In most of the media, it’s playing as one of those gotcha moments. At Monday’s White House press briefing National Security Advisor John Bolton came to make some remarks on Venezuela. He carried a lined yellow legal pad, on which two short scribbled notes were visible to photographers. The scribble that made news was: “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

That sure sounds like a ramped-up threat to Colombia’s neighbor, Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro. A glimpse of inside pow-wows at the White House. It looked a lot more specific than President Trump’s warning that “all options are on the table.”

Was it a slip on Bolton’s part? Did the media steal a march on the National Security Advisor, by catching his note on camera?

Needless to say, read the whole thing.


When democrats screw up and need a distraction they drag an innocent (well the filmmaker was innocent of the massacre or our ambassador) out of bed and arrest him before the cameras.  It’s time we tell them it’s over.

And btw, in this entire Russian collusion thing, no one has asked the obvious question: supposing Trump was dirty and wanted to cheat his way into the presidency, WHY would it ever occur to him or anyone even slightly sane that Putin had the keys to the white house?  Not since Jimmah Carter tried to get them to help him with reelection has such a crazy idea struck anyone.  At least Jimmah tried to do this while the Soviet Union existed and had power but why would ANYONE think Putin would put them in the white house?
Are the democrats ALL still being blackmailed with their KGB files and do they therefore attribute near-magical-powers to the Russians?  One has to assume that. The alternative is heavy hallucinogen use.

Call the farce off.

NEO: Nathan Phillips, character assassin: what even his critics seem to be ignoring about him.

However, what’s being almost completely ignored even on the right (the NY Post is just about alone in mentioning it, and they don’t emphasize it much at all) are Phillips’ most vicious lies, told quite early in the game (I’ll get to what they were in a minute). These particular lies probably had a big role in shaping people’s perceptions of the boys and helped to spur their widespread demonization.

It was Phillips himself who quite early on, during his Saturday interview with CNN that set the original tone and was widely disseminated, gave the following description of the Covington boys:

It looked like these young men were going to attack [the Black Israelites]. They were going to hurt them. They were going to hurt them because they didn’t like the color of their skin. They didn’t like their religious views. They were just here in front of the Lincoln — Lincoln is not my hero, but at the same time, there was this understanding that he brought the (Emancipation Proclamation) or freed the slaves, and here are American youth who are ready to, look like, lynch these guys. To be honest, they looked like they were going to lynch them. They were in this mob mentality.

* * * * * * * *

If not for that long video that finally emerged (ironically, as a result of the Black Israelites taking it and posting it), Phillips’ pernicious and poisonous narrative would have carried the day. As it is, his narrative continues to override reality for many many people. And that is also with the assistance of the MSM, including Savannah Guthrie’s gentle, respectful later interview of him (a contrast to her challenging one of Sandmann) that failed to question Phillips on a single one of his lies. Rather, she let him continue to spread his narrative as he wished.

On Wednesday, William Jacobson wrote, “The lesson anybody on the right needs to learn, is you need to have your own video cameras running.”

During the Tea Party days, before he turned away from blogging about politics, I remember blogger Moe Lane frequently stressed the importance of having at least two people shooting video at a Tea Party pro-small government protest. For example, it’s one thing to have video of having someone having his camera knocked away; it’s another to have simultaneous video of the assailant in the act.

Conversely, multiple cameras rolling at an event works against someone creating a false narrative — as Phillips discovered this week the hard way.

NEO: Covington and the politics of aggressive standing.

At any rate, I have some advice for Sandmann: it wouldn’t have mattered. If Sandman had somehow managed to walk away from Phillips, one (or more) of these things would have almost certainly resulted: Sandmann would have been criticized for disrespecting Phillips by walking away, and/or Phillips would have followed him beating that drum all the while, and/or Phillips would have focused the same technique on another boy.

So many people hated Sandmann’s smile (excuse me, smirk). But what if he hadn’t smiled? What facial expressions would not have constituted facecrime on the part a white preppy-looking teenaged boy (in a MAGA cap! Let’s not forget the MAGA cap!) being confronted by Phillips and his up-close-and-personal drumming and chanting? A grim face on Sandmann would have been considered even more “aggressive,” wouldn’t it? And laughing would have been even more disrespectful. Telling Phillips to get away? Perish the thought—racist! Turning his face away? Disrespectful again.

I’m not just trying to be cute here. I am serious in saying I believe there was nothing Sandmann could have done that would have changed the outcome, once he was selected as the target for the confrontation and the recording of the exchange on video by Phillips, who was accompanied by people with videocameras filming it from the start.

Enormous numbers of people considered Sandmann guilty on sight because of the categories of person to which he belongs, and because of what propaganda has guided them to believe. I almost wrote “guilty until proven innocent,” but that is too kind to those among them who will not even accept proof of innocence. They want him guilty, because it suits their political and their emotional purposes.

Well, that’s just because they’re trash.

FIGHT THE POWER: French Protesters Have Deliberately Trashed More Than Half of Their Traffic Cameras. “Traffic cameras, it turns out, are an easy symbolic target for the Gilets Jaunes. Their movement started in November 2018 over fuel prices, as we’ve previously described. But the list of grievances they have dramatically brought to French president Emmanuel Macron also included one criticizing the proliferation of cameras on French roads and the reduced speed limits (recently cut to 50 mph from 55 mph on many roads). Many motorists in France doggedly believe the government orchestrated these measures strictly to fill its coffers. Attacking speed cameras, the protesters rationalize, will hit the government where it hurts without negatively affecting motorists or private businesses.”

That doesn’t seem like rationalization. It seems like sound reasoning.

THE CAUSE THAT NEVER SHUTS UP: Michelle Alexander’s Call to “Break the Silence [on Palestine]” is New York Times’s Latest Israel Smear.

The op-ed pages of the Times, Washington Post, and other major media outlets are wide open to those on the ideological left who hate Israel regardless of whether, as in the case of Alexander, they have no particular expertise on the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The media especially love the supposedly anguished “as a Jew” pieces, in which Jews, generally with no connection to the Jewish community and with no record of ever having been sympathetic to Israel, purportedly express anguish about how “as a Jew” they just can’t tolerate Israel’s alleged misbehavior anymore.

Do the Israel-haters even recognize the irony of constantly whining about about how their perspective is “silenced” from the op-ed pages of the world’s most influential newspapers?

HEH: Protesters Have Damaged or Destroyed a Majority of France’s Speed Cameras.

WOW: Hubble Space Telescope Will Last Through the Mid-2020s, Report Says.

One reason the spacecraft has lasted so long is that astronauts have provided aid. Servicing missions continued to update the telescope until 2009, when the space shuttle was retired.

The final update to Hubble included the installation of two brand-new instruments, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and WFC3. The astronauts on Servicing Mission 4 also performed on-site repairs for the telescope’s two other instruments, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), both of which had stopped working. The astronauts additionally replaced Hubble’s 18-year-old batteries with new ones; installed six new gyroscopes, whose job is turning the telescope; and added a brand-new Fine Guidance System to point the instrument.

Astronauts also covered Hubble’s equipment bays with insulating panels and installed a device that will help to guide the observatory down when its mission comes to an end.

That’s impressive engineering, especially considering that by the time Hubble is retired, its last maintenance will have been performed 15 years or more prior.

Don’t try that with your car.

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Your Turn, Hollywood (Women’s March Edition).

Stars glommed on to the cause, letting themselves be captured on camera and interviewed by reporters along the way.

This year? We’ll have to wait until Jan. 19.

Of course, Sarsour’s ugly record wasn’t exactly secret prior to the first Women’s March. Perhaps her most outrageous statement?

This is a woman who said that Ayaan Hirsi Ali – who was a victim of FGM [female genital mutilation], escaped brutal conditions, and now must travel with bodyguards 24/7 – deserves to have her vagina taken away because Sarsour doesn’t agree with her worldview.

At a time when a decade’s old Tweet can alter, if not permanently stain, a career, this horrific statement has been roundly ignored by most reporters and every actress at the first two March events.

* * * * * * * * *

Will Hollywood news sites question any stars who previously attached themselves to the March knowing what we all know now? This reporter set up a Google Alert for the terms “women’s march hollywood” several weeks ago to keep tabs on the subject.

So far, it’s come up mostly empty. We’ll see if that changes in the next few days.

I’m so old, I can remember when Hollywood still posed as meaningful change being “on us.”

CES 2019: Robomart — The Future of Law Enforcement Supermarket Delivery.

Customers can use a smartphone app to hail the closest robot, which arrives packed with fresh produce. The app unlocks the doors, and the robot tracks what customers have taken using an array of cameras. Robomart charges the customer accordingly and moves on. The company has not revealed its delivery fee or a price range for the produce.

Robomart surveyed an unknown number of women between the ages of 24 and 44 and found that more than 85% of those polled said they do not shop for fruits and vegetables online because they think delivery is too expensive or because they do not trust the service to pick their produce. With Robomart, customers can cherry-pick their groceries from the vehicle, so are could be less concern about quality.

The vehicle is the culmination of 10 years of work from Ahmed, a serial entrepreneur. It’s about the size of a Sprinter van equipped with LiDAR, radar, and cameras that help it see and drive without a human operator. Ahmed said he expects Robomart to be fully autonomous this year.

In San Francisco, supermarket chains that use Robomart may have to keep a close watch on their vehicles. A security robot from startup Knightscope was vandalized and toppled after it was deployed outside an animal rescue group in December.

As Business Insider notes, “A robot grocery called Robotmart is coming for the humble delivery worker in California.” Fight for $15!



Walkera has began developing and testing with their local fire agency to secure a bid for a full scale deployment.  The Zhun has an ultra strong load capability and anti tremor design, folds up ready for a fire fighter’s deployment. The quadcopter carries a high magnification telescope and the high frame rate night vision camera. With high precision, it can launch the fire extinguisher projectile accurately in a complex fire weather environment.

The drone to its right can lift up to 30 pounds. To get a sense of their scale, compare them to the popular DJI Phantom drone on the right hand desk:

21st CENTURY FARMING: John Deere is at CES; the showpiece at their booth is a giant semi-autonomous combine:

That’s to say, in order to build a fully autonomous tractor, there are no shortcuts. While a blend of GPS and other location tracking sensors, image sensors, and telematics assist John Deere vehicles to navigate fields today, the company still can’t truly replicate everything a human would see and feel sitting in the tractor cab. The company’s latest commercially-available machine with autonomous features, the S700 combine (a vehicle which harvests grain), can automatically adjust its harvesting equipment based on the condition of the crop it sees—but still gives the farmer sitting in the tractor a camera on the process to make sure it’s happening correctly. Right now all of John Deere’s tractors still require a human to sit inside—a sign that autonomy is a long road even in controlled environments.

Automakers and their partners in Silicon Valley chasing the dream of self-driving cars are similarly learning that there’s a lot more to driving than just seeing the road and minding the cars around you.

* * * * * * * *

Both pursuits have their challenges. John Deere doesn’t need to contend with hundreds of other vehicles on its path, but a collision with other equipment or a misadjusted piece of equipment could mean disaster for an entire season. Cars and trucks carry precious cargo—humans—but benefit from signs, lines, and established infrastructure to help guide cars on the correct paths.

You can get a sense of the size of this beast by the people standing next to it and climbing onboard.

FLECCAS TALKS: THE BEST OF 2018 PROTESTERS (Video). “So Austen Fletcher aka Fleccas Talks does what the media will not. He asks the far left to talk on camera and, for the most part, just lets them roll their answers right into a ditch. It’s so simple and so effective you have to wonder why none of the serious reporters at major news organizations will do it. Here’s his collection of highlights from 2018:”

Watch the whole thing — Fletcher is carrying on in the tradition of Andrew Breitbart’s masterful ability to take left’s “cognitive dissonance and [do] magic tricks with it,” as Jim Treacher once said of Andrew.


The release of her DNA test results right before the midterms is almost uniformly seen as a public relations disaster, from which she still is trying to recover. Rather than confirm the validity of her claim when she was climbing the law professor ladder to Harvard to be Native American, it turned her into a laughingstock.

Then Warren announced her candidacy on New Year’s Eve day. What were her handlers thinking? The timing could not have been worse. Perhaps they thought that in a slow news cycle her announcement would dominate the headlines in a good way. Instead, with little else going on, it gave even left-leaning media the opportunity to express doubts about her. And that slow news cycle ended up being dominated by Trump announcing on television that only Warren’s psychiatrist knows whether Warren actually believes she can win.

All those mistakes are dwarfed by what Warren did on New Year’s Eve. She went on Instagram live to drink beer in her kitchen. Seriously.

It’s obvious that she was trying to mimic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the far-left Democrat rising star, who has made a name for herself, among other ways, by live streaming her meal preparation from her kitchen.

As Jaclyn Cashman adds at the Boston Herald, “Just hours after announcing her 2020 Exploratory Committee, with her first Iowa stop freshly booked, Warren went full Dukakis:”

Beer has a time-honored place in presidential politics. But this resident of Cambridge’s la-di-dah Linnaean Street and erstwhile Harvard elitist is really an extra oaky chardonnay kind of lady. Her poor husband was so befuddled — apparently not fully clued in on the stunt — that when she offered him one he declined. More of a 20-year-old tawny port sipper, no doubt.

The most authentic thing about the video, in fact, was its bogusness: Warren once again trying to pretend she is something she is not.

This time, an average beer-drinking American. Warren looked about as natural as former President Barack Obama in that awkward “Beer Summit” after he insulted the Cambridge cop.

Speaking of bogusness, it’s also a John Kerry moment:

The liberal firebrand pointed to her dog, Bailey, who was also in the kitchen and who accompanied her earlier in the day.

“And I went out and talked to the press, and Bailey went out — it was his first press conference — and my husband Bruce [Mann] was with me,” Warren said.

Seconds later, Warren’s apparent craving struck: “Hold on a second — I’m gonna get me a beer,” she said, as she walked out of view of the camera.

“Can I get a me a hunting license here?”


BORING: Elon Musk and Gayle King test drive the tunnel he hopes will solve L.A. traffic.

“Unless we can make tunnel digging at least 10 times cheaper, then digging tunnels will not be an effective means of alleviating traffic. It’ll just cost too much,” Musk said.

Musk’s vision depends on him being able to do it all faster and cheaper than current industry standards. While modern subway tunnels in Los Angeles cost around $900 million per mile, he says he built his for about $10 million. One way he saved money: he literally made it dirt-cheap.

“When digging tunnels…it’s quite expensive to have all this dirt trucked off somewhere. And we’re like, well, why don’t we try to use that dirt for something useful? So we are creating bricks on-site…and you can pick ’em up for, they’re very cheap; 10 cents a brick,” he said.

That’s quite clever, but this is brilliant:

At only 12 feet in diameter, it’s much more claustrophobic than most transportation tunnels. According to Musk, cars will be able to travel up to 150 mph in the tunnel but must be on autopilot.

“Because the autopilot has radar and cameras that will automatically slow you down before you impact another car…you would only be allowed to go through the tunnel on autopilot,” Musk said.

As tech blogger Dave Mark noted, “Only properly outfitted cars will be allowed in these tunnels. Someone who can build such cars efficiently can make a lot of money.”

Someone like Elon Musk.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Self-driving car drove me from California to New York, claims ex-Uber engineer.

The 3,099-mile journey started on 26 October on the Golden Gate Bridge, and finished nearly four days later on the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan.

The car, a modified Toyota Prius, used only video cameras, computers and basic digital maps to make the cross-country trip.

Levandowski told the Guardian that, although he was sitting in the driver’s seat the entire time, he did not touch the steering wheels or pedals, aside from planned stops to rest and refuel. “If there was nobody in the car, it would have worked,” he said.

If true, this would be the longest recorded road journey of an autonomous vehicle without a human having to take control. Elon Musk has repeatedly promised, and repeatedly delayed, one of his Tesla cars making a similar journey.

The headline says “claims.” But if it’s not true now, it will be soon.

THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD: I’ve just gotten back from seeing Peter Jackson’s stunning new documentary in honor of the centennial of the end of WWI, along with a half-hour making-of video narrated by Jackson, at a theater in Fort Worth this afternoon. There will be another showing in American theaters on December 27th, and it’s well worth seeing in a movie theater, before the inevitable streaming and Blu-Ray releases. There’s a bit of a SPOILER ALERT in this New York Times review, but it gives a sense of the power of these images and how they were restored:

Continue reading ‘THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD: I’ve just gotten back from seeing Peter Jackson’s stunning new documentar…’ »

SUNSHINE IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT: ‘She’s Scared’ — Ted Cruz Criticizes Pelosi For Wanting To Turn Cameras Off During White House Meeting. “He was standing up and saying ‘we’re going to keep our promise, we’re gonna secure border, we’re gonna build the wall. And I’ll tell you one of the surest indications on how unhappy the Democrats were in that exchange is over and over again Nancy Pelosi says, ‘can we turn the TV cameras off? We are not supposed to be doing this publicly.’ You can tell they’re on the losing end of the argument when she’s scared that cameras are showing that she and the Democrats are for open borders and the president is fighting to do what the American people want which is secure the border, build the wall and keep our country safe.”

Bill Whittle said yesterday during this week’s Right Angle taping that it was the first time he could remember a Republican setting a media trap for Democrats, when it happens so often the other way around.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Everybody’s Wrong: Donald Trump Won the Chuck-n-Nancy Meeting, and Here’s Why. “All that in-front-of-the-cameras civility is fake anyway. Trump dispensed with it. It was refreshing, and his people will love it, shutdown or no shutdown.”

RELATED: On today’s Right Angle, Bill Whittle, Scott Ott, and I had much fun at Pelosi and Schumer’s expense — but probably not as much as Trump did.

JAMES ROBBINS: Acosta’s legacy: Kill the lights, shut off the cameras, reform White House press corps.

ON THIS DAY IN 1993, A JURY OF HIS PEERS ACQUITTED DALE AKIKI, A VOLUNTEER NURSERY SCHOOL ASSISTANT AT HIS CHURCH, OF CHARGES OF CHILD ABUSE AND KIDNAPPING: I guess that means justice was done. Except that it wasn’t. Dale Akiki should never have been tried in the first place. He spent 2 ½ years in jail awaiting trial.

But let me back up for a minute. When daycare moral panic of the 1980s hit, I didn’t have any trouble keeping my head. Many of the allegations of sexual and Satanic ritual abuse were obviously false. Sometimes they were utterly fantastic—like the allegations of the McMartin Preschool children that they rode in hot-air balloons, saw witches flying and were taken through underground tunnels beneath the preschool. I remember people saying, “Children don’t lie about these things” (presumably they meant the sexual abuse, not the witches and tunnels). But that’s a joke. Children lie about everything, especially when they think they are telling adults what they want to hear.

Then came the Dale Akiki case. Despite my earlier skepticism, when I first saw the local television coverage of the Dale Akiki trial here in San Diego, my initial kneejerk reaction was (to my great shame), “Good grief, they finally got one.” Why? Because Dale Akiki was unusual looking. He was born with Noonan syndrome, a congenital disorder that sometimes results in a large head and drooping eyelids and a number of other developmental problems. Also the television crew held the camera a sharp angle (the “Dutch angle”), so as to emphasize his unusual appearance. I was an idiot.

But not for long. When the local news reported on the prosecution’s evidence the following day, it was not very impressive. I thought to myself, “Well … maybe they’ll get to the real evidence tomorrow.” But they didn’t. And the next day was no better. Eventually, the prosecution rested. They didn’t have anything on this poor guy—just a bunch of implausible accusations by nursery school children who had been prodded into making accusations by therapists convinced that Akiki was a monster. The children accused him of bringing an elephant and a giraffe to class, killing them as a warning to the children not to tattle. They also accused him of dunking them in toilets, drinking blood, and killing a human baby. Sheesh. Fortunately, there was evidence of therapists’ coaching in the form of videos of the interrogations.

I was terrified that the jury would convict. But, unlike the juries in some of the other daycare cases, the 12 San Diegans on that jury did their job right. Bless them.

Why did the District Attorney allow the case to go forward, despite recommendations to the contrary from prosecutors experienced in child abuse cases? He was being pressured by Jack Goodall, then-CEO of Jack-in-the-Box. Convinced of Akiki’s guilt, Goodall—a contributor to the D.A.’s campaign—urged him to assign the case to a different prosecutor. (Yes, that sort of thing happens in America.) The job went to Mary Avery, who was the founder of the San Diego Child Abuse Foundation. Goodall and his wife were the largest financial contributors to that organization.

By the way, San Diego voters did their job right too. The D.A. lost re-election in 1994, largely due to the Akiki case.

But here’s the part of the story I like best: During his incarceration, the deputies at the jail got to know Dale Akiki. They thought he was a sweetheart of a guy, and they knew intuitively that he was being railroaded. Twenty of them pooled their resources and had a limo ready to take him from the courthouse on the day of his acquittal. Purr.

ACCUSATIONS WITHOUT EVIDENCE: Burned to death because of a rumour on WhatsApp.

Sighted near an elementary school in a nearby community called San Vicente Boqueron, Ricardo and Alberto became the child abductors conjured up by collective fear, and news of their arrest spread just as the rumours of the child abductors had.

The crowd that descended on the police station was whipped up in part by Francisco Martinez, a long-time resident of Acatlán known as “El Tecuanito”. According to police, Martinez was among those who spread messages on Facebook and Whatsapp accusing Ricardo and Alberto. Outside the police station, he began to livestream events on Facebook via his phone.

“People of Acatlán de Osorio, Puebla, please come give your support, give your support,” he said into the camera. “Believe me, the kidnappers are now here.”

As Martinez attempted to rally the town, another man, identified by the police only as Manuel, climbed up onto the roof of the colonial-style town hall building next to the police station, and rang the bells of the government office to alert locals that the police were planning to release Ricardo and Alberto.

A third man, Petronilo Castelan — “El Paisa” — used a loudspeaker to call on the citizens to contribute money to buy petrol to set the two men on fire, and he walked through the crowd to collect it.

Related: Social Media As Social Disease.

GOOD, BECAUSE EVEN FILING THESE CHARGES WAS INEXCUSABLY STUPID: Jury acquits Sevier County man accused of causing then-deputy’s panic attack.

A Sevier County jury has acquitted a man in the state’s first ever assault by panic attack case.

Jurors in Sevier County Circuit Court deliberated roughly three hours before acquitting Brian Mullinax, 41, of assault, on Thursday evening.

Mullinax was unarmed, brandishing a cellphone and saying he was recording with it when now-former Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Justin Johnson opened fire without warning and — four minutes later — suffered a panic attack.

Mullinax was 20 yards away from Johnson and face down on the ground when Johnson, his gun still in hand, began suffering a panic attack. . . .

The incident, which occurred in a mobile home neighborhood on Sharp Road in December 2016, was captured on Johnson’s body camera. That footage was repeatedly played for jurors during the two day trial. It captured Mullinax saying he was “recording” when he brandished the cellphone, contradicting an initial claim by Johnson and testimony from two paramedics that Mullinax threatened Johnson.

Really, that these charges were brought is just embarrassing. Sevier County — a major tourist destination — needs deputies who don’t panic at the drop of a hat, and prosecutors who know the difference between recording and assault. Of course, the deputy had already been fired elsewhere for misconduct:

Johnson is no longer with the sheriff’s office. He was forced to resign earlier this year after USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee revealed he failed to list his 2013 employment with the Johnson City Police Department on his Sevier County job application.

Records obtained by the news organization showed Johnson was fired from that agency for misconduct, including fanning his gun over an officer’s head and lying to his chief.

Johnson admitted in testimony Thursday that he hid that past record from the Newport Police Department when he took a job there after being forced to resign from the Johnson City agency and from SCSO when he applied there in June 2016.

“The reason I omitted it was I did not want to disclose that I resigned from there in lieu of termination,” Johnson testified.

But justice hasn’t been done: “Mullinax and Cody spent 42 days in jail on felony aggravated assault charges filed against them by SCSO and directly accusing them of causing Johnson’s panic attack.” They deserve compensation for that. Charged with causing a panic attack on the part of a man licensed to carry a gun in the name of the state. This was disgraceful.


Rain rarely spoke about the work in 2001 that made him an aural immortal. He left that to others, including 2001 star Keir Dullea.

“He’s the main character of the film as far as I’m concerned,” the actor, who played Cmdr. David Bowman, said in a 2016 interview. “It was brilliant casting. Something about his voice, it was perfect. It was unusual.”

As Kubrick himself said, “some negative critics…felt that it was a failing of this section of the film that there was more interest in HAL than in the astronauts:”

In fact, of course, the computer is the central character of this segment of the story. If HAL had been a human being, it would have been obvious to everyone that he had the best part, and was the most interesting character; he took all the initiatives, and all the problems related to and were caused by him.

Some critics seemed to feel that because we were successful in making a voice, a camera lens, and a light come alive as a character this necessarily meant that the human characters failed dramatically. In fact, I believe that Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood, the astronauts, reacted appropriately and realistically to their circumstances. One of the things we were trying to convey in this part of the film is the reality of a world populated — as ours soon will be — by machine entities who have as much, or more, intelligence as human beings, and who have the same emotional potentialities in their personalities as human beings. We wanted to stimulate people to think what it would be like to share a planet with such creatures.”

HAL, Skynet, and M5 smile.

ORWELLIAN TELESCREEN OF DOOM: We Tried Facebook’s New Portal Device (So You Don’t Have To). “Of course, I can see people objecting — wait, not only are you putting a Facebook-connected machine in your house, but its camera will also follow you around the room, like some kind of digital Eye of Sauron?!”

Plus: “That was my biggest problem — and likely Facebook’s most difficult hurdle to overcome when selling the Portal. It was the idea that I was putting an always-on camera in my home, connected to Facebook, 24 hours a day. There was no shaking the feeling that I was being watched.”

But at least they’re doing something I’ve recommended for devices for years: “Facebook anticipated this. To protect from that creepy feeling, they built a kill switch into the hardware that turns off the microphone and camera. They also provided a piece of plastic to physically sheathe the camera’s eye. No more taping over the laptop lens like Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, once did. Facebook also went out of its way to let us know that all video chats are encrypted, and the company does not store the contents of the calls, nor does it listen in on them.”

Well, okay then. Who wouldn’t trust that? “Facebook has a demonstrably worse record on privacy than many of its big-tech peers. It also has a business model, targeted advertising, which encourages it to walk up to the limit of what users will accept, and sometimes to walk beyond that line. Let’s not forget that Mark Zuckerberg once said that privacy is an outdated social norm.”

PRIVACY: Couple Found Hidden Camera In Their Carnival Cruise Bedroom.

IT’S COME TO THIS: California city council candidate is caught dropping off his wheelchair-bound mom, 86, so she can panhandle: 

David Chey has been caught on camera leaving Soon Chey, 86, in her wheelchair in the downtown district of Laguna Beach with a sign that reads, ‘please, help me.’

‘They have a brand new car, live in a condo in Irvine, yet beg for our help,’ local business owner Heidi Miller told DailyMail.com.

‘And Adult Protective Services have gone out there and can’t do anything, because she says she enjoys begging. He’s pretty much brainwashed her.’

DailyMail.com was unable to immediately reach Chey for comment. 

We have a tremendous homeless problem in Laguna Beach, as every place does,’ Miller said.

‘And what the Cheys have been doing for 12 years is taking money from Laguna residents and tourists and going back to a cozy apartment in Irvine in a brand new car and taking money away from homeless people.’

Related: City Journal’s Steven Malanga in 2008 on “The Professional Panhandling PlagueA new generation of shakedown artists hampers America’s urban revival.”


Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has demanded a special prosecutor to investigate the use of James O’Keefe’s undercover or hidden camera techniques to address matters of indubitable public concern…It’s pretty clear why McCaskill is upset. In one video, a McCaskill staffer says that the senator downplays her support for gun control. Another staffer suggests she is downplaying her support from former President Barack Obama. In another video, McCaskill is accused of trying to hide her support from Planned Parenthood. Fairly or not, she is painted as a disingenuous hypocrite.

It goes deeper than the medias’ dislike for James O’Keefe. It goes to the heart of pet causes and biases in the newsrooms.

(Bumped up.)


Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has demanded a special prosecutor to investigate the use of James O’Keefe’s undercover or hidden camera techniques to address matters of indubitable public concern…It’s pretty clear why McCaskill is upset. In one video, a McCaskill staffer says that the senator downplays her support for gun control. Another staffer suggests she is downplaying her support from former President Barack Obama. In another video, McCaskill is accused of trying to hide her support from Planned Parenthood. Fairly or not, she is painted as a disingenuous hypocrite.

It goes deeper than the medias’ dislike for James O’Keefe. It goes to the heart of pet causes and biases in the newsrooms.

NOT STORMY DANIELS: Trump-Hating Former Porn Star Engages In Shootout With Cops.

Jonathan Oddi, 42 can be seen in the footage dragging a large American flag with him and holding a gun. He unfurls the flag on the resort’s concierge desk and angrily shoves a cannister off the end of the desk.

The footage then shows him leaning against that desk and putting on socks before spreading out the flag and attempting to reach the security camera. Oddi unfurls the flag some more and smashes the resort’s front desk computers before police arrive outside.

At first, Oddi puts the gun down and puts his arms in the air, but then picks the gun up and begins shooting at the officers, using the desk as cover. After some back-and-forth shooting, Oddi takes off into the hotel, still firing. He briefly slips on the hotel’s floors as officers pursue. He then runs up a flight of stairs and knocks over some furniture before an officer is able to arrest him.

Video at the link, but Ashe Schow’s description of it is somehow more fun.

SOMEWHERE, DOC EDGERTON IS SMILING: World’s fastest camera freezes time at 10 trillion frames per second.

BELIEVE ALL WOMEN: Woman jailed for falsely accusing teenager of raping her in public toilets.

A woman who falsely accused a teenager of raping her has been jailed for 18 months. Sophie Skinner, 25, went alone to a Wetherspoons pub in Abergavenny, Wales, in June 2016 where she was seen on CCTV ‘looking for attention’. She came across Damon Osborne, who was 18 at the time, and got chatting before she made her way to another bar.

The mother-of-three came across Mr Osborne again later that night while he waited for a lift home. She asked him if he wanted to have sex and the pair went into some nearby public toilets where CCTV caught her initiating sex. She then told him she could get him into ‘trouble’ after he refused to have a relationship with her because he had a girlfriend. Skinner went to another bar where she was again captured on CCTV ‘desperately looking for attention from others’, before returning to the Wetherspoons and telling bouncers Mr Osborne had raped her.

But women are morally stainless and never lie. All the best people assured me of that, when it suited their political needs.

Plus, the value of cameras. Quoth her victim: “If there was no CCTV in this case she may have been believed and I would be spending years in prison. It would have ruined my life.”

CONFIDENCE: Facebook Takes a Break from Privacy Scandals to Release a Smart Camera That Films You in Your Home.

ZUCKERBERG’S TELESCREEN: Facebook Portal Is The Last Device You’d Want Looking At You.

On the heels of a massive Facebook security breach, either Facebook thinks we’re all a bunch of morons ready to give more of our blood to the tech giant, or we actually are a bunch of morons engaged in active data bloodletting at Facebook’s doorstep because Facebook has announced its Portal video device to continue the bleeding, but through video.

The Facebook Portal and Portal Plus are seemingly direct competitive devices to the Amazon Echo Show, the difference being is that the Facebook devices are designed with video chatting in mind, rather than shopping. However, Facebook will surely find a quick way to work in advertisements, or at least use conversations for ad-serving, though that’s an unsubstantiated observation.

Plus: “The biggest difference between the Portal and Portal Plus appears to be a 10-inch 720p screen versus a 15.6-inch 1080p screen and better speakers and rotation from landscape to horizontal while the camera tracks you and adjusts accordingly.”

I’m sure it does.

I DON’T KNOW, I CAN IMAGINE AN AWFUL LOT: A colossal elevator to space could be going up sooner than you ever imagined.

A space elevator would be the single largest engineering project ever undertaken and could cost close to $10 billion to build. But it could reduce the cost of putting things into orbit from roughly $3,500 per pound today to as little as $25 per pound, says Peter Swan, president of International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC), based in Santa Ana, California.

The idea for a space elevator was first dreamed up in 1895 by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Russian scientist who did pioneering work in rocketry. As commonly conceived today, a space elevator would consist of motorized elevator pods that are powered up and down a ground-to-space tether. The tether would stretch from a spaceport at the equator to a space station in geosynchronous orbit overhead. Centrifugal forces caused by the Earth’s rotation would hold the tether aloft.

The ISS experiment, dubbed Space Tethered Autonomous Robotic Satellite–Mini elevator, or STARS-Me, was devised by physicists from Japan’s Shizuoka University. It will simulate on a small scale the conditions that the components of such a system would encounter. Cameras will examine the movement of a pair of tiny “cubesats” along a 10-meter tether in a weightless environment.

A baby step, but so was Goddard’s rocket.

21ST CENTURY HOUSING: Self-driving homes could be the future of affordable housing.

Glenn linked to this story earlier today, and added “Hey, in Progressive meccas, lots of people are already living in their cars, so we’re halfway there already!”

Smash and grab car robbers in San Francisco would love the idea of vehicles that hold more personal belongings:

As John Sexton of Hot Air writes, linking to the above video, “thanks to the GPS, the pair of thieves are confronted on camera. But stick around for the surprise ending. Things don’t quite work out as planned for the reporters.”

HAS ANYBODY ASKED TOM FRIEDMAN ABOUT THIS? Chinese official says China is educating, not mistreating, Muslims.

China is not mistreating Muslims in Xinjiang province but is putting some people through training courses to avoid extremism spreading, unlike Europe, which had failed to deal with the problem, a Chinese official told reporters on Thursday. . . .

“It is not mistreatment,” said Li Xiaojun, director for publicity at the Bureau of Human Rights Affairs of the State Council Information Office. “What China is doing is to establish professional training centers, educational centers.”

“If you do not say it’s the best way, maybe it’s the necessary way to deal with Islamic or religious extremism, because the West has failed in doing so, in dealing with religious Islamic extremism,” Li told reporters on the sidelines of the U.N. Human Rights Council session in Geneva.

“Look at Belgium, look at Paris, look at some other European countries. You have failed.”

Well, that part’s certainly true.

Related: 48 Ways to Get Sent to a Chinese Concentration Camp: Something terrible is happening in Xinjiang.

In response to growing tensions between Han Chinese and the Uighur population of Xinjiang itself, the recruitment of Uighurs to fight in the Syrian civil war, and several terrorist attacks orchestrated by Uighur separatists, the party launched what it called the Strike Hard Campaign Against Violent Terrorism. Despite its name, the campaign’s targets are not limited to terrorists. No Uighur living in Xinjiang can escape the shadow of the party nor can members of other ethnic minorities, especially Kazakhs.

Some of the methods used to surveil and coerce the population of Xinjiang are straight from the dystopian imagination: The party has collected the DNA, iris scans, and voice samples of the province’s Uighur population, regularly scans the contents of their digital devices, uses digitally coded ID cards to track their movements, and trains CCTV cameras on their homes, streets, and marketplaces.

To students of Chinese history, other elements of the system are depressingly familiar. Cultural Revolution-style struggle sessions have been resurrected: Uighurs now gather in public meetings to denounce their relatives and publicly admit their personal political sins. Most worrisome of all is the vast network of political education camps that have been created to hold and “re-educate” Uighurs who are too attached to their mother culture. Somewhere between 600,000 and 1.2 million Uighurs—that is, approximately one out of 12—are being held in these camps.

Maybe I missed it, but has Tom weighed in here?

Though I have to say, part of this sounds like the Social Justice Warrior game plan:

A central element of this campaign is uncertainty. It is difficult to judge which of these items are official policy and which are simply the result of ad hoc decisions made by local officials. This is likely by design. One Uighur interviewee told HRW how he simply stopped using his smartphone because he could not tell which websites were allowed and which might incriminate him; another described how she stopped talking to neighbors and strangers altogether because she did not want to unintentionally say something that might bring the police to her door. Vagueness breeds fear. Fear makes the people subject to the Communist Party’s campaigns easier to control.

And the SJW types are showing new enthusiasm for gulags.

CAMERA: Frying Pan Tower Ocean View: Cape Fear, North Carolina, USA.

GOOD FOR HIM: Gov. Greg Abbott calls for end to red light cameras in Texas.

VIDEO: Joe Biden to Cameraman: ‘You’re a Real Prick.’

IT’S LIKE A BAD FAIRY TALE: THE COMMIE AND THE CAMERA HOG:  David Hogg, Bill De Blasio Team Up To Form Anti-Gun Group.

PROCUREMENT: The Navy Is Fixing a Serious, Six-Year-Old Bug in the F-35 Fighter Helmet.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s pilot helmet is unlike any other. Made of kevlar and carbon fiber, the helmets are an extension of the aircraft sensors and control system and one of the first to employ augmented reality in military equipment. The helmet mounted display projects all of the information that used to be presented in cockpit-mounted heads-up displays (HUDs) including air speed, heading, altitude, and more. At the same time the pilot can see in all directions—including straight down—through a network of six infrared cameras facing outward in all directions. The helmet display can even overlay the aircraft flight path over the pilot’s field of vision, including ground targets and air defense threats detected by other friendly forces.

Getting all of that data in the F-35 pilot’s face is extremely useful: The pilot can look in all directions and still have critical information in his or her field of view. (Older HUDs were a step up from having to look down at gauges and dial on a control panel but are still fixed to front.) There is one enduring problem, though—the helmet mounted displays leak light. According to pilots, a green glow spills out of the helmet, preventing pilots from seeing the lights of an aircraft carrier at night. Military.com reports that the problem is serious enough the Navy restricts pilots with less than fifty landings in the F-35 from carrier night landings.

A carrier that can’t land its planes at night fights at a serious disadvantage. It’s good to see this problem addressed just as the F-35C is finally becoming operational with Carrier Air Wing 7.

CHICAGO 1968: THE NIGHT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY DIED: “Fifty years ago tonight, a great American political party was murdered by its own children and closest friends.”

The media had shown sympathy earlier with rioters in places such as Watts and Detroit and Washington, D.C., but those rioters had been black, poor, and arguably living under the yoke of white racism. This was America’s privileged white youth attacking the police and shouting “f*** the pigs,” and even threatening to put LSD in the Chicago water supply. But in the glare of TV camera lights as liberals watched their youngsters being beaten by working-class cops, a new media paradigm was born. Left-wing rioters, black or white, urban poor or Harvard grads, became “protesters”; their violence would be downplayed or ignored while underscoring the justice of their cause. At the same time, the police now became the villains of any confrontation, to be portrayed as having a tendency to overact violently to challenges to their authority — and to the oppressive system they defend. A direct ideological line runs from that night to Black Lives Matter a half century later.

Read the whole thing.

AT AMAZON, Deal of the Day, Stealth Cam No-Glo IR Trail Camera.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Millennial Couple Bikes Near ISIS Territory to Prove ‘Humans Are Kind’ and Gets Killed.

“You read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place,” Austin wrote.

“People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil.”

“I don’t buy it,” he continued. “Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own… By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.”

However, Austin and Geoghegan’s dream trip came to a tragic and gruesome end when they got to Tajikistan, a ​weak state with a known terrorist threat that shares a border with Afghanistan, where ISIS and other terrorist groups are ​highly active. They were riding their bikes through the country on July 29 when a car rammed them, ​​according to CBS News. Five men got out of the car and stabbed the couple to death along with two other cyclists, one from Switzerland and the other from the Netherlands.

Two days later, ISIS released a video showing the same men sitting in front of the group’s black flag. They looked at the camera and vowed to kill “disbelievers,” ​according to The New York Times.

What an unnecessary, sad story.

KAROL MARKOWICZ: The media’s blatant hypocrisy — even about media-bashing.

Welcome to the age of self-congratulatory media. “Democracy dies in darkness” goes the ridiculous tagline on The Washington Post’s front page. Reporters openly call themselves heroes and firefighters.

Yet when it doesn’t fit the standard left-wing narrative, our Guardians of the Galaxy are MIA.

On Sunday, the Unite the Right II rally of white supremacists fizzled out. Antifa demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., who gathered to mark the anniversary of the first Unite the Right rally, threw eggs at Secret Service, were arrested for assaulting a man wearing a Make America Great Again hat, launched fireworks and smoke bombs at police and assaulted NBC reporter Cal Perry. Perry had his camera knocked out of his hands while the protester screamed profanities at him.

The story appears on various media sites, and several reporters tweeted about the attack, but the outrage was muted. Instead, nearly every outlet went out of their way to gently describe the Antifa mob. The headlines at CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post made sure to call the group “anti-hate protesters.”

After two years of constant self-applause, and furrowed-brow concern about President Trump sowing mistrust in the media as well as possibly instigating violence against its members, where is the outrage when a reporter is physically assaulted?

Had it been an alt-right member doing the attacking, is there any doubt the story would lead all news shows and make the front page of all the major newspapers?

Also on Sunday, Mayor de Blasio sat down with Brian Stelter at CNN to continue his crybaby “News Corp is mean to me so I wish they’d disappear” tour.

Stelter had been pummeled on Twitter for glossing over the mayor’s comments when he originally made them the prior week. When de Blasio commented, “If you could remove News Corp from the last 25 years of American history, we would be in an entirely different place” some people reported it as an attack on the “press.” Stelter made sure to clarify that this was merely an attack on Rupert Murdoch and his properties. Doesn’t count!

On Sunday, Stelter let de Blasio’s ludicrous claims about The Post stirring up racial animosity by, for example, opposing David Dinkins, go unchecked. He mostly nodded along as the mayor ranted about what a better world it’d be if everyone just agreed with him.

Think of them as Democratic Party operatives with time slots and you won’t go far wrong.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Antifa Tussles With Police and Media at ‘Largely Peaceful’ Vigil in Charlottesville.

“Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see no riot here,” student activists chanted Saturday evening.

* * * * * * * *

Police officer in Charlottesville beaten by Antifa gang members.

* * * * * * * *

An antifa agitator attacked an NBC reporter and his camera crew: “F*ck you, snitch-ass news b*tch!,” the agitator spat as he tussled with a cameraman.

Read the whole thing.

BRUCE BAWER: Death by Entitlement.

On August 7, the New York Times ran a story by Rukmini Callamachi about Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, a young American couple, both graduates of Georgetown University, who decided to quit their humdrum office jobs and go on an epic bike ride and camping trip that would take them all over the world. “I’ve grown tired of spending the best hours of my day in front of a glowing rectangle, of coloring the best years of my life in swaths of grey and beige,” Austin wrote. “I’ve missed too many sunsets while my back was turned.”

So in July of last year, they flew from Washington, D.C., to Cape Town, and from there bicycled through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Malawi to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. From there, they flew to Cairo, and after seeing the pyramids flew on to Casablanca, from which they cycled through Morocco, Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Greece, to Turkey. From there, another flight took them to Kazakhstan. They biked through Kyrgyzstan and entered Tajikistan. It was in that country that their journey came to an abrupt end this past July 29, when five ISIS members deliberately plowed their car into the two adventurers, killing them along with two temporary cycling companions, one from Switzerland and the other from the Netherlands. “Two days later,” wrote Callimachi, “the Islamic State released a video showing five men it identified as the attackers, sitting before the ISIS flag. They face the camera and make a vow: to kill ‘disbelievers.’”

Read the whole thing.

HEH: Riverside gun store confronts Sacha Baron Cohen after he comes to business in disguise.

It happened at Warrior One Guns & Ammo in February 2017. That’s when owner Norris Sweidan told FOX 11 Cohen and a camera met him while claiming to be filming a documentary about a Hungarian immigrant wanting to buy a gun.

“He comes in, off the bat you can see in the video I’m looking like, this guy does not look like a Hungarian immigrant, tight ass leather pants, a beard, it just didn’t fit,” Sweidan said. “The moment his words came out of his mouth I was like this guy is full of s***.”

Sweidan told FOX 11 Cohen said he wanted to buy a gun, but said it with a very odd sounding accent he didn’t find credible.

“I’m looking at the producer and I’m just like am I being fooled right here?” Sweidan said. “And I just kept looking at the guy and I was like you’re Borat, as soon as I said that his eyes just looked at me like, and he did a turn right out the door.”

He says after Cohen left the store, he left his crew behind.

It says something that a small business owner is less gullible than a not-insignificant percentage of our political class.

But as Jeff Goldstein tweeted, the exchange “probably won’t make the final cut” of Cohen’s movie.

BREAKING: TIMES SQUARE IS STILL TIMES SQUARE. I Posed in a Bikini in Times Square. I Was Expecting Comments from Haters, But What I Actually Heard Was Way More Disheartening.

Standing in the middle of Times Square, it wasn’t super hot, but the pressure of what I was about to do was making me sweat. My fingers slipped against the fabric of my maxi skirt as I fumbled with the tightly-knotted bow. My outfit fell away, revealing my pink bikini beneath it. I heard hollers from strangers, but their words blurred into an indecipherable mess as I tried, unsuccessfully, to remain calm. A sliver of sun peeked out from behind the skyscrapers, reminding me we were about to lose the light. No more time for nerves — it was now or never.

“Let’s do this,” I said out loud. My clothes dropped all the way to the ground, and the voices around me became clear.

“I want to suck on them tasty toes.”

“Hey baby, let me butter them biscuits for you.”

I looked up to see three men with camera phones filming me. Our eyes met, and one uttered, “Twerk for the camera baby, show them how that ass clap.”

Tears began to well up. I was prepared to be pointed at, shamed, and called fat. I didn’t expect to be fetishized.

* * * * * * * *

My tears turned to anger, and the words began to fly out of my mouth: “It doesn’t make it OK. You’re disgusting. Please stop. Please just stop…” The man justified his response by saying that plus women “don’t know they’re f*ckable.” Let me be very clear here, as I stated in the caption for the photo I later posted to Instagram: A plus-size woman’s worth, or any one woman’s worth for that matter, is not contingent on someone wanting to have sex with them. You don’t exist to pleasure someone else … you exist to change the world.

I think the world is all the better for this vitally important scientific experiment. On the other hand, “It’s almost as if it was a dumb stunt and she would have been angry regardless of the reaction, whether it was catcalls, criticism, or getting ignored,” Reason’s Robby Soave tweets.

And Iowahawk’s Rule, which he most recently tweeted on Sunday after FIFA asked its networks’ cameramen to stop zooming in on pretty girls in the stands during matches, remains solid: “Please remember: (1) scantily clad conventionally attractive women = demeaning and sexist; (2) scantily clad morbidly obese women = stunning and brave.”

WELL, I DON’T THINK I EVER POSTED A VIDEO WHERE PEOPLE DIDN’T MAKE FUN OF MY HAIR: Women Making Science Videos on YouTube Face Hostile Comments.

Two points: (1) Never read the comments; (2) They were just jealous bald guys.

But the headline exaggerates the downsides: “There were some positives for women as well. Female on-camera hosts elicited more comments, likes and subscribers per view than the other categories. They even received a slightly higher percentage of positive comments compared to male hosts.”

STANDING UP FOR CIVIL RIGHTS: CU Boulder students join effort to fight Boulder’s new assault weapon ban.

Some pro-Second Amendment college students have joined efforts to fight a new ban on assault weapons in Boulder, Colo.

It’s a city known as a haven for left-wing causes, but right-of-center students who call the region home say the ban is unconstitutional and want it reversed, including a 20-year-old CU Boulder student.

A lead plaintiff to overturn the law, which takes effect in January, is 20-year-old Tyler Faye, a member of the CU Boulder Shooting Sports club. He joined the lawsuit because the city’s new ordinance raises the age for legal firearm ownership from 18 to 21, the Daily Camera reports.

Fight the power.

WEIRD HOW OFTEN THEY FEEL THEY HAVE TO HIDE THEIR AGENDA FROM VOTERS: Caught on Camera: NY-21 Dem Tedra Cobb Tells Supporters She Wants ‘Assault Rifle’ Ban But ‘Cannot Say That’ in Public.

GOOD LORD: 13-Year-Old Charged with Felony for Recording Conversation with School Principal. “If I do go to court and get wrongfully convicted, my whole life is ruined.”

The incident took place last February at Manteno Middle School, which is about an hour outside of Chicago. Young Paul Boron was arguing with Principal David Conrad and Assistant Principal Nathan Short.

About ten minutes into the meeting, which was held with the door open, Boron told the men he was recording it. At that point, the principal told Boron he was committing a felony and ended the conversation. But then, according to the Illinois Policy Center:

Two months later, in April, Boron was charged with one count of eavesdropping – a class 4 felony in Illinois.

“If I do go to court and get wrongfully convicted, my whole life is ruined,” said Boron, who lives with his mother and four siblings…”I think they’re going too far.”

…. Members of the Manteno Community Unit School District No. 5 board, Conrad and Short have not responded to requests for comment on the incident.

Unfortunately for Boron, there is a law against recording people without their consent in Illinois. There’s even a rule against it in the student handbook. But the handbook also says that it is fine for the school to have video cameras monitoring the public areas of the building. In other words, it’s fine to keep the kids under constant surveillance, just not the administrators.

You don’t ruin a kid’s life over anything so trivial. You erase the recording and send him back for extra detention.

Unless of course you’re less interested in educating children and more interested in establishing authority over them.

SO I’VE TAKEN SOME PRETTY FANCY CAMERAS DIVING, but this time I thought I’d take a cheap one. It’s not a dive camera, but a “ruggedized” camera for use around water, waterproof only to 28 feet. Still you can use it on the boat, and you could certainly take it snorkeling without worrying. I took the Nikon COOLPIX W100. I found it easy to use — separate buttons for video and stills are a nice touch — and pretty tolerant of the environment. I took pictures on the boat, and I freedove off the side of the boat once and took some pics at moderate depth (i.e., less than 28 feet). Image quality isn’t Nikon D500 level, but it’s decent.

Verdict: A rugged, inexpensive knocking-around camera, good for when you don’t want anything more expensive, or more fragile, at risk. And yeah, I’m scheduling this post from Cayman, but I should be back and blogging later.


Bourdain was a wickedly funny writer well-served by his Hunter S. Thompson–like flair for hyperbole and gratuitous venom: “Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn,” he wrote, calling them “the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for.” I salute him for exhorting his followers to go forth and revel in the delicious (except beer or wine, I suppose, which are just for getting buzzed). But for all of his Thompson-like stylings, he was more like the Anna Wintour of food. If he told everyone to wear cerulean, they’d wear cerulean. It was his personality that made his judgments stick, not the other way around. The judgments were beside the point; if he’d told people organ meat was vile and veganism was edgy, they would have happily switched sides and chided the tasteless losers who disagreed. Hey, he’s got arm tattoos, he must be right!

Read the whole thing.

Related: Jim Geraghty asks, “In hindsight, should we have been worried that Anthony Bourdain got falling-down drunk on camera multiple times?”

I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER GODDAMN WORD ABOUT GLENN REYNOLDS’ CARBON FOOTPRINT: Claire McCaskill’s Private Plane Used on Campaign’s RV Tour Through Missouri.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) said her campaign was “hitting the road” in an RV to tour the state, but public flight information indicates that travel also occurred on her million-dollar private plane.

The RV, named BigBlue by the campaign, was unveiled late last month by McCaskill, who said she was “very excited to hit the road” in it for an upcoming “Veterans for Claire” tour. The campaign kept a live blog of its three-day RV trip from May 29 to May 31, posting updates of its whereabouts.

Unmentioned on the blog is the role McCaskill’s private plane played on the trip. The aircraft is a single-engine turboprop valued on her financial disclosure forms at more than $1 million dollars.

Flashback to 2011, when Missouri’s unemployment rate was at 9.4 percent, and McCaskill was caught on camera cheering on bad economic news because it benefited the environment:

“Well, the good news is, our [carbon] emissions are way down because of the recession. I mean, really, if you want to find a silver lining in the cloud, the number that we were looking for [with cap and trade legislation] … we are well, well [ahead of our goal]…because we have had such a real drop in manufacturing output.”

Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Power Line’s Steve Hayward wrote “Climate Change Has Run Its Course,” because as, Glenn added in response, it became “blindingly obvious that the people who kept telling us it was a crisis weren’t acting like a crisis. They kept their big houses, SUVs full of bodyguards, and private jets. They’re like fervent abolitionists who never got around to freeing their own slaves.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

JIM TREACHER: The Final Act of ‘The Final Year’ Is the Best Comedy of 2018.

After the first hour or so, I was about ready to demand my 99 cents back. Jeff Bezos may be made of money, but I’m not.

But then, in the blink of an eye, the entire tone of the film changed. In an instant, it became much, much less difficult to watch. Suddenly, all the arrogance and pomposity of the previous 72 minutes was worth it. Suddenly, I was laughing out loud and clapping.


November 8, 2016.

You may have seen the following meme-worthy moment from the film, in which the documentarians stick a camera in Ben Rhodes’ face after he’s just gotten the final election results. We see his every twitch and nuance as he haltingly expresses his feelings about being so completely wrong.*

SPOILER: It is wonderful.

As George C. Scott’s Patton famously warned at the conclusion of the movie, “For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph — a tumultuous parade…Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.”

In the last 50 years, that person has been the documentary filmmaker, as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Chuck Berry all discovered the hard way. Or as Kyle Smith wrote in his review of The September Issue, the 2009 look back at Vogue and the sneering pomposity of its editor, Anna Wintour just before the dead tree publishing industry hit the big iceberg, the magic of the documentary is simple: “Convince somebody that you’re going to make them a big-screen star, then let them hang themselves.” Except that with The Final Year, both its stars and its director were absolutely certain how their movie was going to end. But in the end, Ben Rhodes built an echo chamber too far.

PLAYING THE LONG GAME: The FBI calls Chinese spies in the US a ‘whole of society threat’ — here’s how to protect yourself.

New court documents filed in the US allege that ZTE, another Chinese phone maker, was set up with the express purpose of conducting international espionage.

With a camera, microphone, and the logins of its owners accounts, accessing the smarphones of US citizens would be a massive intelligence boon for any nation.

Public naivety comes up again and again in intelligence circles. In May, the US banned all Chinese-made smartphones from the Pentagon, saying devices from Huawei and ZTE “may pose an unacceptable risk to department’s personnel, information and mission.”

If the Pentagon is taking seriously the risk of espionage via Chinese-made phones, maybe savvy US citizens should follow suit.

What I’d like to know is, when Chinese-made smartphones were becoming ubiquitous during the Obama Administration, why weren’t the American people warned?

THE END OF AN ERA: Canon shutters 80-year history of film cameras.

For what it’s worth, Nikon still lists its F6 and FM10 film SLR bodies — but both show up as “temporarily out of inventory.” Who knows if they’ll come back.

YOU’LL HAVE TO IMAGINE THE EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM, THOUGH: Memory card recovered from NASA camera destroyed in launch captures fiery final moments.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION EDITION: Why does MIT have so few Asian Americans compared to Caltech? Study blames ‘holistic’ admissions.

Related: Asians Get The Ivy League’s Jewish Treatment.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Why the GOP doesn’t hold senate hearing[s] and put force these Ivy League presidents to defend racial discrimination on camera, is beyond me.”

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: What Happened at the DOJ-Congress Meeting Yesterday and Much, Much More. “Yesterday Congressional leaders met with DOJ and intelligence officials to obtain information about the agency’s rogue, unchecked investigation into RUSSIA-collusion and the 2016 presidential campaign. As I predicted immediately upon hearing about this meeting, there was no document production. We don’t know much about the meeting because classified information was discussed, but one person did make a statement. Guess who that was? Mr. Adam Schiff.”

The most dangerous place in the world is between Schiff and a CNN camera.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! My weekly column is up at The Daily Caller. This week we take a look into the reporting out of Gaza, and find it’s much more complicated than you might think:

Many of the scenes propagated by mainstream media range from selective editing to outright falsity. It seems to me that the real question is whether such deception is a function of inherent bias, a conspiracy of sorts, or instead, the attention-grabbing motive best described as “if it bleeds, it leads.”

*Bumped from this morning* (NB: Some thoughtful commentators suggested I use the word “and” instead of “or” in the above graf. Point well taken

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! My weekly column is up at The Daily Caller. This week we take a look into the reporting out of Gaza, and find it’s much more complicated than you might think:

Many of the scenes propagated by mainstream media range from selective editing to outright falsity. It seems to me that the real question is whether such deception is a function of inherent bias, a conspiracy of sorts, or instead, the attention-grabbing motive best described as “if it bleeds, it leads.”