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Bryan Preston

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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Flashpoint Over 9-11 Museum’s Film About the Attacks

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

An interfaith group is upset over how a short film at the 9-11 Museum in New York, site of the worst terrorist atrocity ever committed on American soil, depicts Muslims and Islam.

This is not a new fight, we have seen this movie before. The monument to Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA was originally designed to be a “Crescent of Embrace,” consciously using one of Islam’s central symbols. In that case, the National Park Service’s original design seemed to play up Islam while never blaming its extremists, and it played down the victors who brought that aircraft down knowing that while saving others, they were sacrificing their own lives.

The row over the New York film stems from the fact that it is not a hymn to Islam, but is instead a look at what motivated the terrorists. It is simply a fact that the 9-11 hijackers were all Muslims, and that they believed they were conducting righteous jihad by murdering thousands of innocent people, some of whom were also Muslims. To leave those facts out is to create a lie. It is also a fact that most Muslims do not support the actions of the 9-11 hijackers, but there are a number of unsettling facts hanging between those. Most Muslims do support Hamas and the Palestinians broadly against Israel, so they therefore do not reject terrorism for its own sake. Support for hard core sharia Islamic law has gained support across the Islamic world over the past few years. Honor killings have come to Europe and America along with Muslim immigrants, and sharia has too. Sharia stands at direct odds with western ideas regarding separation of church and state and basic human rights. Islam is undergoing what I term a religious revival, meaning its adherents by and large are turning back to the book of their faith and trying to live by it after a few decades of some distance from it. Photos of Iran circa the 1950s show women throwing off the hijab and literally letting their hair down. Current photos show that the hijab and its religious implications have returned.

That revival is problematic, because the Koran teaches peaceful coexistence in its earlier passages, and violent conquest in others, and those passages tend to be later ones and therefore carry more weight. That’s one of a handful of tricks of the light with regard to Islam, which means “peace” but also means “submission.” It’s also simply a fact that Muslim advocates in the West like the Council on American Islamic Relations are not the civil rights champions they claim to be, but are instead fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, which does in fact have a long-term plan to conquer the West in the name of Islam. Thankfully, the Brotherhood is doing a fine job of discrediting itself in Egypt after the Obama administration empowered it there. Too bad the Obama administration either does not see that, or does not care.

It is simply a fact that Ayaan Hirsi Ali faces credible threats to her life to this day because she left Islam and speaks out against how mainstream Muslims treat women. It is also a fact that very few on the left in the West see fit to give her the time of day, despite all their claims to be feminists and champions of women’s rights.

The problem with the museum film boils down to the use of a couple words: “jihad” and “Islamist.”

“The screening of this film in its present state would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum,” Sheikh Mostafa Elazabawy, the imam of Masjid Manhattan, wrote in a letter to the museum’s director. “Unsophisticated visitors who do not understand the difference between Al Qaeda and Muslims may come away with a prejudiced view of Islam, leading to antagonism and even confrontation toward Muslim believers near the site.”

Museum officials are standing by the film, which they say was vetted by several scholars of Islam and of terrorism. A museum spokesman and panel members described the contents of the film, which was not made available to The New York Times for viewing.

“The terrorists need to be condemned and remembered for what they did,” Dr. Ahmed said. “But when you associate their religion with what they did, then you are automatically including, by association, one and a half billion people who had nothing to do with these actions and who ultimately the U.S. would not want to unnecessarily alienate.”

But, is it honest to disassociate Islam from the terrorists of 9-11, or indeed Islamic terrorism in general? The 9-11 hijackers and the Islamic terrorists who have followed them, including the shoe bomber, Jose Padilla, the Bali bombers, the London bombers, Nidal Hasan in Texas, the Boston bombers and on and on were exhorted by Muslim preachers and theologians and ideology to commit murder. They believed that they were conducting righteous jihad. They believed that Islam is at war with the West, an idea that has taken root in Tehran, among other places. They tended to shout “Allahu Ackbar!” when they slashed throats, seized aircraft full of passengers, fired bullets, and set off deadly bombs.

These were not accidents, unfathomable mysteries or instances of “workplace violence.” Something motivated the people behind these heinous deeds. What? Why are the Twin Towers fallen? The interfaith group that is protesting the museum movie would rather you not ask or answer that question.

Jonathan Tobin rightly calls the effort to change the museum film a sanitization of history.

In promoting this sanitized version of 9/11 in which Islam was not the primary motivation for the attackers, they hope to spare Muslims from the taint of the crime. But what they are really doing is disarming Americans against a potent threat that continues to simmer abroad and even at home as the homegrown extremists who have perpetrated several attacks since then, including the Boston Marathon bombing whose anniversary we just commemorated, have shown.

Rather than seek to edit Islam out of the 9/11 story, those who truly wish to promote better interfaith relations must continue to point out the dangers of these beliefs and the peril of either tolerating them or pretending that they are no longer a threat.

Indeed.

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VIDEO — Hillary Clinton Says She Really Wishes She Could Change What Happened in Benghazi

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There is much to unpack in these comments by former Secretary of State/Permanent Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton.

Clinton is asked, “If you could change the outcome of any event that occurred while you were secretary of state, what would it be?”

Hillary answers, “Oh, it would certainly be the attack on our facility in Benghazi and the loss of two State Department personnel and two CIA contractors from the terrorist attack, and the terrible consequences to that.”

Clinton’s delivery is flat, without emotion, despite the fact that her department’s repeated rejections of requests to beef up security at the facility — which Clinton does not call a consulate anymore — played a starring role in the disaster.

Clinton does not acknowledge that she or any of her close associates got anything wrong.

Clinton does not acknowledge that she engineered the so-called Accountability Review Board so that she would never be held accountable for what happened in Benghazi.

Clinton does not acknowledge that she, President Obama and Ambassador Susan Rice falsely and with malice aforethought blamed the attack on a YouTube movie and pivoted from that to attack Americans’ basic free speech rights, for the sake of running out the clock and winning an election.

Clinton stood before the bodies of the four slain Americans and lied about why they died. Clinton told their surviving family members that a movie cause their loved ones to die. Clinton could have changed what happened to them, by either granting their requests for more security or by getting them out of Libya when it was obvious that they were in grave danger as the country deteriorated into Islamist influence. Clinton left them there, without enhancing their security, because she and the Democrats wanted to sell the false idea that al Qaeda was “on the run” so they could win an election.

But what difference, at this point, does that make?

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Cliven Bundy Utters Racist Remark, Liberals Everywhere Rejoice

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s not particularly surprising that an elderly rancher has some retrograde views on race.

But if the federal government has moved on, Mr. Bundy — a father of 14 and a registered Republican — has not.

He said he would continue holding a daily news conference; on Saturday, it drew one reporter and one photographer, so Mr. Bundy used the time to officiate at what was in effect a town meeting with supporters, discussing, in a long, loping discourse, the prevalence of abortion, the abuses of welfare and his views on race.

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Bundy’s remarks are reprehensible and indefensible. Expect progs who read this post to ignore the previous sentence.

Bundy is also railing against government subsidizing dependence and fostering irresponsibility, which is an evil thing to do in a republic and that is worth railing against, but in their rush to celebrate a gotcha moment and use it to smear millions of good people, the progs aren’t noticing that. Or maybe they are, and hope to use the racism to discredit the rest. Ta-Nehisi Coates does a particularly despicable job of linking Bundy’s racial views to “rugged individualism” and resistance to increasing the food stamp rolls.

Wanting people to be free, independent and self-reliant, and hoping for a government that fosters those values, equals racism now? Today it does, tomorrow it won’t, as soon as some prog hero talks good about working their way up from nothing without even having to resort to fake claiming to be a minority to further their academic career, or falsifying a wartime military career.

Bundy’s remarks will have fewer real-world consequences than many uttered by Margaret Sanger, yet today she’s a progressive hero and Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi are both proud holders of the Margaret Sanger Award, which is named after someone who blithely hoped for government to conduct genocide in American cities. Progs don’t hate all racists or all monsters.

You’re not going to get intellectual consistency out of progressives. You’re only ever going to get childishness and opportunism out of them. So the same people who are today demanding that every single Republican answer for Cliven Bundy, whether we leaped to his defense or not, pretend that Jeremiah Wright doesn’t exist and that Barack Obama did not spend 20 years listening to the reverend’s racist rants. They support Al Sharpton, the racist hoaxer with the shady past who has blood on his hands. They kept a Grand Dragon in the Senate for about a fifth of the life of the republic. They abuse Clarence Thomas and Allen West because both have the audacity to think for themselves.

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

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cowboys2014sched

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

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

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

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Is Andrew Cuomo Scared to Debate Rick Perry?

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is in New York, hoping to lure some of that state’s businesses to Texas, and causing trouble. He challenged New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a debate.

ALBANY – Texas Gov. Rick Perry got his business-poaching trip to New York underway Tuesday with a Texas-sized challenge to Cuomo.

Perry, during an Albany radio appearance, challenged Cuomo to a public debate on which state – New York or Texas – had the better business climate.

“I’d be more than happy to sit down and have a thoughtful conversation, a debate with Gov. Cuomo over the issues that face us as a state and talk about the economic policies and compare New York to Texas,” Perry said.

The comparison would be very one-sided. Texas has been the nation’s economic engine over the past decade, where about 30% of the nation’s jobs have been created. Texas’ small-government model stands in sharp contrast to New York’s big-government approach. But lately New York has taken to imitating Texas, with ads running nationally, and Cuomo himself making moves like this one.

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Proposing no taxes on new businesses is fine, but New York still imposes a hefty state income tax. While Texans enjoy one of the nation’s lowest tax burdens, and the state consistently ranks at or near the top for best states in which to do business, New York consistently ranks as one of the worst states to do business, because of its high tax burden and intense regulatory environment. In fact, Chief Executive magazine ranked Texas the best state for business in 2013, while New York came in at 49th, only beating out California.

It doesn’t help New York’s anti-freedom image when even its local officials try their hand at policing the speech of companies located not even in that state, but in Texas. And no one else in New York steps up to tell said official to knock it off and just leave people alone.

Progressives like Cuomo do not even believe in leaving people alone. That’s part of their problem. They come off like equal parts gangsters and bullies, mostly because that’s what they are.

Perry may or may not be running for president in 2016 (he probably is, as he’s done as governor after this fall’s elections, and still has designs on exporting Texas’ economic and regulatory model to Washington). If he does, expect people like Cuomo to hide from his record and focus on a debate flub. They will dismiss him with glib soundbites that avoid their own failures and Texas’ simultaneous achievements. Expect establishment Republicans to sneer at him while they promote yet another uninspiring middle of the roader who has little chance of winning. Some things never change.

Rick Perry isn’t perfect — one debate flub haunts him more than Hillary Clinton’s career of cover-ups and lies will ever hurt her, and his “you don’t have a heart” comment still rankles the base, as it should — but Texas has done pretty well under his leadership. Much better than New York and California have done under the leftwing, big-government, blue state model. I would think that a Perry-Walker, Walker-Perry, or versions of Perry-Jindal, Perry-Martinez etc. ticket could do well. The GOP governors have actual records of actual, tangible accomplishments. But what do I know? I keep thinking that the national GOP might look to the Texas GOP to figure out how it’s doing better with Hispanic voters than the national GOP does, and that keeps not happening year after year.

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Conservative Group Launches Ads to Oppose Senators’ Fannie-Freddie ‘Reform’

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

60 Plus is up with new ads in five states that take the proposed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform bill to task. The ads point out one of the “reform’s” deepest flaws — that legislators are allowing a former Countrywide official to write the bill. The reform is being crafted by Democrat Sen. Tim Johnson (SD) and Republican Sen. Mike Crapo (ID).

Countrywide was once the nation’s largest mortgage lender, but its bad loans played a large role in the housing collapse. The federal government fined big banks billions for their misconduct, but now a couple of senators are putting big banks back in charge, according to the ads.

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“We cannot afford to experiment with one-sixth of our economy, as the Johnson-Crapo legislation does, on the backs of average Americans including retirees and pensioners,” 60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin said in a press release accompanying the ads. “Any reform or liquidation of Fannie and Freddie must respect the rule of law and protect taxpayers. This proposed legislation does the complete opposite by codifying the Obama Treasury Department’s abuse of property rights. Instead of giving more advantages to the big banks, the Senate banking Committee should craft reform that puts taxpayers and pensioners first.”

Martin also notes that the Johnson-Crapo legislation has Washington and big Wall Street banks working together to further their own interests, not the interests of citizens.

The Heritage Foundation took a look at the Johnson-Crapo bill and found serious problems with it, enough to call for its rejection.

60 Plus is a non-partisan seniors advocacy group that emphasizes free enterprise and less government.

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Chuck Schumer Finally Finds a Regulation He Doesn’t Like, Because of Beer

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The most dangerous place on earth is usually anywhere between Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and a TV camera. And the New York Democrat has never met a government regulation that he not only didn’t like, but positively loves.

Until now.

Sen. Schumer told a news conference on Friday about the regulation that finally has his ire.

“Sometimes Washington does things that make the rest of America scratch their heads in wonderment and say, ‘What the heck are they doing down there?,’” Schumer said.

Washington does things like that every day, only Schumer is usually instigating it.

The regulation that Chuck doesn’t love? One from the Food and Drug Administration that would regulate “spent grain.” Spent grain is a by-product of the brewing process, which breweries recycle for animal feed. The FDA’s proposed regulations would send 19 million pounds of it straight to landfills instead, claiming that the grain is unhealthy for animals. Sending the spent grain to landfills will end up driving up costs for breweries.

The regulation comes from the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. It was sponsored by Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) in the Senate and by Democrat Rep. Betty Sutton (OH) in the House. President Obama signed it on January 4, 2011. The bill passed the Senate by voice vote, meaning neither Schumer nor anyone else rose to oppose it. In all likelihood, they never even read it.

The regulation, according to Schumer, may cost beer makers $50 million, and have a serious impact on smaller brewers of fashionable micro-brews. That cost will surely be passed on to beer drinkers.

The Foundry has more.

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Seth Meyers Isn’t Funny

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meyers mostly talked with her about running.

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

I didn’t stick around after the Dormer interview.

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38 Lawmakers Challenge Obamacare’s Subsidies for Their Staffs

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Another legal challenge to Obamacare:

Thirty-eight Republican lawmakers are backing a lawsuit filed by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., challenging health insurance subsidies provided to lawmakers and their staffers who are required to obtain coverage under ObamaCare.

Johnson filed the lawsuit in January challenging a ruling by the Office of Personnel Management. The agency ruled that lawmakers and their staffs should continue to receive health care benefits covering about 75 percent of their premium costs after leaving the health insurance program for federal workers.

According to the lawsuit, the OPM ruling “does not treat members of Congress and their staffs like members’ constituents. Instead, it puts them in a better position by providing them with a continuing tax-free subsidy.”

On Tuesday, 38 Republicans filed an amicus brief accusing the Obama administration of attempting to “rewrite the Affordable Care Act.”

There are a couple of issues here, unequal treatment under the law, and whether the president can re-write laws once they are passed. To answer the latter, he can’t, but so far no court has stopped him so he has changed Obamacare 36 times or so. To answer the latter, Obamacare seems to be the only law that really matters to Democrats, and any means of propping it up is perfectly fine. Even though it’s likely to cost them the Senate this fall.

Johnson told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday that the subsidy gives members of Congress and their staff “special treatment” that ordinary Americans forced to purchase health insurance under the law are unable to obtain.

“It’s unfair, it’s unfair treatment,” Johnson said on “On the Record.” “It’s special treatment, and by the way the president has no legal authority to change the law the way it did, and that’s really at the heart of this lawsuit is the doctrine and separation of powers and the fact that this president has exceeded his legal authority.”

Johnson said some of his colleagues signed onto the brief despite receiving pushback from staff members who oppose the removal of the subsidy.

Supporters of the suit include: Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Tex.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; and Tim Scott, R-S.C. and Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; David Jolly, R-Fla.; Thomas Massie, R-Ky.; and Matt Salmon, R-Ariz.

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Putin’s Allies Just Seized Control of Russia’s Largest Social Networking Site

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Beeb reports:

The founder of Russia’s most popular social network site says he has been fired and that allies of President Putin have taken over his site.

Pavel Durov who ran VKontakte had previously announced he was leaving the company but said he had withdrawn his resignation.

The company denied it had been withdrawn.

Mr Durov had previously refused requests from the Russian government to censor posts on his site.

In a statement Mr Durov said that he only found out about the loss of his job from press reports: “Today I was fired as general director of VKontakte. It’s interesting that the shareholders didn’t have the bravery to do this directly, and that I learned about my firing from the press.

“Today VKontakte goes under the complete control of Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov. Probably, in the Russian context, something like this was inevitable, but I’m happy we lasted seven and a half years. We did a lot. And part of what’s been done can’t be turned back.”

Sechin is Putin’s former chief of staff, and he currently runs state-owned oil company Rosneft. Now he runs a more or less state-owned social network, too. Usmanov is Russia’s richest man, with iron and steel and English football’s Arsenal among the things he has at least partial ownership of. He is one of Russia’s oligarchs.

I’m sure Edward Snowden will rush out to denounce the seizure of VKontakte any…second…now.

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College Hipsters Face a Coffee Crunch Dilemma

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Starbucks Coffee, favorite of hipster coffee drinkers from coast to coast, is reportedly about to buy a stake in SodaStream.

SodaStream International stocks took their biggest leap in two years after daily newspaper Globesreported Starbucks Corp. is in talks to buy a 10 percent stake in the maker of home soda machines.

Shares of SodaStream soared 14 percent to $46 in New York, in a rally that cut SodaStream’s loss this year to 7.6 percent.

Starbucks, the world’s biggest coffee chain, is in advanced talks to acquire the stake at a company value of $1.1 billion, Globes reported, citing unidentified sources. An official announcement will be made soon, the paper said. Another economic newspaper, Calcalist, reported a week ago that SodaStream, which has a market value of $960 million according to data compiled by Bloomberg, was in talks to sell a stake of the company.

Problem: SodaStream is based in Israel. In the last few years, it has become fashionable to boycott Israel, and products made there, on college campuses. Scarlett Johannsen faced hipster wrath when she starred in ads for SodaStream a few months ago.

If Starbucks buys into SodaStream, will the boycotters turn on their favorite coffee corporation?

 

 

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Why Shouldn’t These Three Ladies Be Allowed to Marry Each Other if They Want?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Doll, Brynn and Kitten (their real names as far as I know) live in Massachusetts. Despite the fact that Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage via court edict years ago, it still oppresses those who wish for something more.

Brynn and Doll dated for eight months before moving in together. Two years later, they purchased a house together. 

Having both enjoyed polygamous relationships before, Doll and Brynn looked for a third woman to join them. After a few failed liaisons, Doll and Brynn created an OKCupid couple’s profile. Eventually, they received a message from Kitten.

Good ol’ OkCupid, flinging the arrows of love hither and yon. Except when it’s flinging hate at Brendan Eich, anyway.

Doll, Brynn and Kitten went for dinner at a Chinese Restaurant for their first date and immediately liked each other. 

Doll says: ‘There was an instant attraction with Kitten but I think we all really bonded when we baked cookies together on our fourth date. I didn’t know what love was until the three of us clicked like that.’

Brynn adds: ‘With Doll and Kitten, things finally made sense. It was as if the puzzle was finally complete with all three pieces.’

Within a few months, Kitten moved in with Doll and Brynn. Two years later, they decided to get married after Kitten proposed the idea to them.

Kitten says: ‘I had always wanted to get married and I guess Doll and Brynn indulged my wishes! I had a very traditional upbringing and marriage had always been an important symbol of commitment for me. We wanted to celebrate our love in a wedding like everyone else.’

Well, of course. The heart wants what the heart wants.

The threesome spent several date nights planning their dream wedding – making decorations and shopping for matching traditional, white gowns.

Brynn says: ‘Planning our wedding was hectic. It took a lot more organizing because there were three brides involved. 

Kitten, Brynn and Doll had to work with the legalities of the state to get married to each other. As being married to more than one person is not currently legal, they had to combine handfasting, legally binding documents and legal marriage.

Well, why isn’t being married to more than one person legal? What’s the rationale behind that? They’re consenting adults, so what’s the big deal? It must be equal parts hatred and intolerance. That’s what the courts keep saying in their rulings on marriage. You may have a problem with the throuple, but who are you to draw the line?

They should sue. They’ll win.

Read the rest. The trio plan to use science and/or adoption to obtain children. It’s a good thing no Catholic will be involved if they go the adoption route.

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Are We On a Slow Roll to War with Russia?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist on June 28th, 1914. The wheels of war didn’t get around to produce an actual major powers clash until August 23rd, when Germany invaded France. It took a couple of months for all the alliances to shake out and for tensions to build up to the point that the great powers were committed, and World War I kicked off in earnest.

Russia invaded Crimea on February 28, 2014. It formally annexed Crimea, against the objections of the United States, Ukraine, the EU and NATO, on March 18. Russia did these things in the name of “protecting” the ethnic Russians who live in Crimea, despite the fact that they were not under any threat.

The next question is whether Russia has designs on seizing other Ukraine territory where ethnic Russians live (and under which, there are significant energy resources). And beyond that, whether Russia has designs on territories outside Ukraine in which ethnic Russians live, and might need “protection,” independent nations that were once satellites of the Soviet empire that Putin appears intent on reassembling. Some of those nations are now NATO members.

The United States has sent troops to Poland, a NATO member that has a long and bloody history with its neighbor, Russia.

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Army paratroopers are arriving in Poland on Wednesday as part of a wave of U.S. troops heading to shore up America’s Eastern European allies in the face of Russian meddling in Ukraine.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said an initial contingent of about 600 troops will head to four countries across Eastern Europe for military exercises over the next month.

First, about 150 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy, are arriving in Poland.

Additional Army companies will head to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and are expected to arrive by Monday for similar land-based exercises in those countries.

The show of strength comes as the United States, European allies and Ukraine try to ease tensions with Russia and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. All sides struck a diplomatic agreement last week, but it remains unclear whether pro-Russian demonstrators, who took over a series of government buildings in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, will back down.

That diplomatic agreement was nullified today, and Russia stepped up its threat to invade eastern Ukraine.

Russia vowed to defend its citizens in neighboring Ukraine after the government in Kiev said it’s resuming operations to oust militants from eastern cities.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country would retaliate if its “legitimate interests” are “attacked directly,” drawing a parallel with its actions in a 2008 war over Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region. After a pause for the Easter holiday, a military operation is under way to eliminate militias in Kramatorsk, Slovyansk and other cities, Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Vitali Yarema said today.

“Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said in aninterview today with the state-run television broadcaster RT. “If we are attacked, we would certainly respond.”

The Ukraine’s attacks on those “separatist groups” may literally be attacks on the Russian Federation. Some of those “separatists” may actually be Russian military special forces sent to Ukraine to provoke and provide justification for Russia to invade.

A token number of our own forces are now scattered across Putin’s potential targets. He seems to have a plan driving his actions. The Obama administration is in reaction mode without any evident strategy in mind.

Well, other than Obama’s plan to slash American military forces to the bone.

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‘Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent’ is a Nice Sentiment, But It’s Unrealistic

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A worthy group of same-sex marriage supporters have penned and signed a gracious letter in which they all allow that Americans ought to have the right to object to same-sex marriage and not lose their jobs and livelihoods over it.

They write that the case of Brendan Eich motivated them to step forward. Eich was ousted as CEO of Mozilla because he donated $1000 to support California’s Prop 8 in 2008. He was targeted by dating site OkCupid’s leadership, and eliminated from his job. Eich got their attention because his case became famous. They fail to address less famous, yet even more pernicious, cases of intolerance for those who object to re-defining marriage. In those cases, same-sex marriage opponents were taken to court, and courts ruled against them. The full force of government now threatens their livelihoods.

The authors write that persuasion, not coercion, is the best way to achieve their aims.

Is opposition to same-sex marriage by itself, expressed in a political campaign, beyond the pale of tolerable discourse in a free society? We cannot wish away the objections of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions, or browbeat them into submission. Even in our constitutional system, persuasion is a minority’s first and best strategy. It has served us well and we should not be done with it.

It’s fine to acknowledge that Americans retain the right to defend an institution that goes back thousands of years and comes from a power far higher than Washington, but the authors of the letter never once acknowledge the fact that same-sex marriage’s recent progress is not owed as much to persuasion, but to coercive court decisions, intimidation and media bullying. Those court decisions go against votes held in states as diverse as Texas, North Carolina and California. Whenever Americans have had the chance to vote on whether to preserve the definition of marriage or to change it, they have voted to preserve it.

But the courts and those pushing the court cases lack respect for those votes. Soon enough courts will impose a re-definition of marriage on every single state. The court decisions combined with the prevailing media winds, hurricane force in favor of re-defining marriage over the past few years, have surely intimidated many Americans into telling pollsters that they support same-sex marriage now, when in their hearts they are at least skeptical. They no longer feel free to voice their opinion. City ordinances like the ones recently adopted in San Antonio, Texas further chill free speech on the marriage issue. The authors acknowledge none of this.

So the proverbial train has already left the station. Persuasion was jettisoned years ago. Coercion will win. The lesson that others will learn from this is a dangerous one for the principle of self-governance.

The authors of “Freedom to marry” do not acknowledge any of this.

They also do not acknowledge the pernicious use of courts to target individual business owners who object to performing services related to same-sex weddings. Why not? Surely they are all familiar with the photographer and the baker whose livelihoods are now threatened because they took their religious beliefs concerning marriage seriously. Why did the authors run away from those cases? Is it mere convenience, or cowardice?

The authors write:

The gay rights struggle is about freedom and equality for all. The best and most free society is one that allows the largest number to live true to their core beliefs and identities. It is a society that allows its members to speak their minds and shape their own aspirations.

For all? Do they really believe this? The majority of this country remain Christian. That majority played by the rules and has had its votes concerning marriage canceled. Eich was ousted at the company he co-founded because he played by the rules. What was done to him was evil. The lesson that his case ultimately teaches is that if you play by the rules, you’re a sucker and you will lose. That lesson is reinforced in the cases of the baker and the photographer.

Christians who object to re-defining marriage find themselves targeted via lawfare. When they step up and attempt to pass reasonable laws to defend religious conscience, they get compared to the racists who erected Jim Crow laws. They are no longer allowed to defend themselves via the ordinary means available to a self-governing people, either in court or through legislation. This is also dangerous, and evil.

The “both/and” nature of the letter is nice, but ultimately unrealistic and sentimental. The hard left that has always been behind the re-define and ultimately destroy marriage movement does not do “both.” It forces and enforces either/or. It bullies. It coerces. It is openly dishonest, hateful and intolerant. It knows no limits to what is acceptable and what is not, in debating in a pluralistic society. It is ruthless, and it is winning.

Now that courts are imposing re-definitions of marriage, there is no stopping further re-definitions to the point that marriage loses all meaning. Some have called for “government to get out of the marriage business” to settle the same-sex marriage debate amicably. How naive. The totalitarian left wants a massive government, and diluting marriage and the family provide a clear means to break one of the strongest buffers between the individual and the state — especially in our formative, childhood years. Eventually, the threat of lawsuits and the probability of losing livelihoods will force Christian religious groups and their leaders and supporters to abandon any involvement in marriages, at least in a public sense, as they have already been driven out of involvement in adoptions and other services. Driving religion out of marriage will have consequences.

The “freedom to marry” letter will not even slow any of this down.

 

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Report: Benghazi Could Have Been Prevented if the US Hadn’t ‘Switched Sides in the War on Terror’

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A group called the Citizens Commission on Benghazi has come out with a damning report on events and decisions that led up to the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead. The commission, which is made up of former high-ranking US military officers, CIA insiders and think-tank fellows, gathered information on Benghazi across seven months. Their investigation included 85 Freedom of Information Act requests as well as contact with current officials who have direct knowledge of US actions during the months prior to the attack.

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.

‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’

The weapons were intended for Gaddafi but allowed by the U.S. to flow to his Islamist opposition.

The commission also says that Islamists attacked the US facility in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, not intending to kill US Ambassador Christopher Steven, but to kidnap him. The attackers intended to grab him and use him to bargain for the release of “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdul Rahman, the mastermind of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.

There is evidence to back up that claim. In the days prior to the attack in Benghazi, unrest rose up in Cairo, Egypt. While the US embassy in Cairo blamed the uprising on a YouTube movie, the real driver behind it was a coalition of Islamist groups. Those groups were not protesting a movie at all. According to the warning they published in Egyptian media, they had a specific demand:

“The group, which consists of many members from al-Qaeda, called [especially] for the quick release of the jihadi [mujahid] sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman [the "Blind Sheikh"], whom they described as a scholar and jihadi who sacrificed his life for the Egyptian Umma, who was ignored by the Mubarak regime, and [President] Morsi is refusing to intervene on his behalf and release him, despite promising that he would. The Islamic Group has threatened to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo with those in it, and taking hostage those who remain [alive], unless the Blind Sheikh is immediately released.”

Islamists did attack the US embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012 — the same day of the attack in Benghazi, Libya. The attackers breached the embassy’s walls and replaced the American flag with the black flag of Islam.

The citizens’ Benghazi commission, which is supported by Accuracy in Media, also criticizes the Obama administration for its handling of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. According to the commission, Gaddafi offered to abdicate shortly after the Islamist uprising against him began. He had two conditions: Permission to continue fighting al Qaeda in Libya, and a lifting of sanctions against him and his family. The Obama administration, according to the commission, was unwilling to help broker a peaceful exit, and instead allowed $500 million of weapons intended for Gaddafi to make its way into the hands of the Islamists. Those Islamists toppled Gaddafi and later, assaulted the US facility in Benghazi.

The Obama administration insists that no US forces could have responded to the assault in Benghazi in time to save the Americans there. The commission says that that is untrue.

[Commission member, Admiral James] Lyons also said U.S. claims that it lacked the resources to mount a counterattack in time to save lives is false.

‘I’m going to tell you that’s not true,’ he said. ‘We had a 130-man unit of forces at Sigonella [AFB in Italy]. They were ready to go.’

‘The flight time from Sigonella to Benghazi is roughly an hour.’

Perhaps most explosively, the commission alleges that the Obama administration’s attempt to blame the attack on a YouTube movie was coordinated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which was coordinating Islamist action in Egypt and Libya.

The commission wants a congressional select committee appointed to investigate the Benghazi attack.

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Man Plans Obnoxious ‘BundyFest’ to Mock the Nevada Rancher

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Raw Story reports that Sean Sealy plans to put a 24-hour music festival just outside the Cliven Bundy ranch in Nevada in September. The anarchic “BundyFest” will be a pro-government, anti-individualist snark-fest aimed at annoying and unsettling the Nevada rancher, who remains in a stand-off with the federal Bureau of Land Management.

“For years, we paid permitting fees to hold Burning Man on the beautiful Playa in Northern Nevada,” said the event’s organizers on a Facebook page. “But now, Cliven Bundy has shown us a NEW WAY! ABSOLUTE FREEDOM! Bundy has declared the entire area surrounding Bundy Ranch as a TOTALLY RULES-FREE ZONE! ANYTHING GOES! WOO-HOO!!!”

Progressive activist Sean Shealy said Bundyfest, which will be held across the road from Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, for one month starting on Sept. 5.

“Some people have asked me, where will we camp, where will we park?” Shealy said. “Anywhere, really. It’s f*cking anarchy.”

The Facebook page for the event promises no permits will be required, full nudity will be permitted, and the atmosphere will be gay-friendly.

However, Shealy warned, no bathroom facilities would be provided.

“You’re free to let it all hang out right there, just like Bundy’s cattle, right there in the Virgin River, if you want to,” Shealy said.

Organizers also plan a “penis erection contest,” where participants will be awarded prizes for the largest phallic structure built in the desert.

Raw Story reported that Shealy is the organizer behind the Burning Man festival, which will take place this year just a few days before the BundyFest, but on the event’s Facebook page, Shealy says that he is not affiliated with organizing Burning Man.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has consistently criticized Bundy and his supporters, even calling them “domestic terrorists” several times during a recent interview. Reid also darkly warned that “something will happen” to them. “BundyFest” might be that something, and given the provocative nature in which Shealy is announcing that event, it could turn ugly and even violent. Reid himself is mixed up in issues related to using the disputed land.

Bundy’s issues with the BLM go back a couple of decades, and he and his family have grazed cattle on the disputed land since at least the end of World War II. The Daily Caller reported that environmentalists pushed the BLM to act against Bundy over a species of endangered tortoise, the Mojave desert tortoise. “BundyFest” stands a chance of increasing the danger to that tortoise.

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What’s More Popular: A Once-In-A-Lifetime Trip to Meet President Barack Obama, or a Pair of Edible Breadshoes?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In the left corner, we have the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama. He’s a youthful 52 years old, clearly up on the latest music and cultural trends, does his NCAA March Madness brackets with an amazing consistency, and weighs in on just about every issue there is. The man knows Beyoncé, fercryinoutloud.

In the right corner, a pair of size 12 (approximate) hand-made, sesame Italian loaf breadshoes. They’re edible, so I suppose you could stuff condiments and lunch meat into them and turn them into a sammich. Or wear them around the house, as long as you don’t have cats or dogs around.

This (minus the celebrity soccer player on the right).

showbiz_obama_beckham

Versus this.

breadshoe

 

Well, the team behind a secretive but cool-sounding, yet-to-be-launched app called Ratify is running a contest.

On the first day of the contest, the team announced that it was giving away a trip for two to Silicon Valley to meet President Barack Obama on May 8th.

On the second day, the team announced that it was throwing a curve: The winner could pick the trip to meet the president, or they could opt for a pair of breadshoes.

Promo for the contest has been minimal, according to an insider at Ratify: “I paid a guy $5 to tweet about it yesterday,” the insider told me in email.

Our source’s numbers reveal a couple of bad omens for Obama and the Democrats. Day one of the contest saw little interest and very few sign-ups — just 20 sign-ups to meet POTUS from 500 visitors.

Day two, though, after breadshoes became a possible prize, traffic took off. Of the approximately 2,000 visitors who took at look at the contest on the second day, 100 signed up.

“That gives us 5x conversions and 4x audience multipliers, due solely to breadshoes!” our insider noted.

The insider also notes that Ratify has seen a 300% increase in sign-ups from San Francisco, not exactly GOP territory. They’re going for the breadshoes, too.

And now, I’m hungry.

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Reporter Asks State Dept for One Accomplishment from Hillary Clinton’s Big Review Process. Let’s See What Happens.

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

When she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton instituted a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. The first one was completed in December 2010.

Nearly four years later, AP reporter Matt Lee asked State Department Jen Psaki to name one thing that Clinton’s QDDR accomplished. Just one.

She can’t.

LEE: “Off the top of your head, can you name one tangible achievement that the last QDDR resulted in?”
PSAKI: “Well Matt, obviously it’s in an extensive, expansive process.”
LEE: “So no.”
PSAKI: “We’re looking at how it was done last time.”
LEE: “Just one.”
PSAKI: “I know, I’m making an important point here.”
LEE: “OK.”
PSAKI: “The secretary wants it to be focused on a more narrow range of issues. It’s always looking at how we can improve things and we’ll see where we come out at the end.”
LEE: “So off the top of your head can you identify one tangible achievement that resulted from the last QDDR?”
PSAKI: “I am certain that those who were here at the time, who worked hard on that effort –”
LEE: “One –”
[CROSSTALK]
PSAKI: “Could point out one.”
LEE: “Since you’ve come on board that you’ve noticed that you can point back to and say wow, the first QDDR identified this as a problem and dealt with it?”
PSAKI: “Well as you know, I’ve only been here since it concluded.”
LEE: “OK”
PSAKI: “So I’m sure there were a range of things that were put into place that I’m not even sure were a result.”
LEE: “I won’t hold my breath.”
PSAKI: “OK.”

Psaki has been at the State Department since February 2013. She’s part of the revolving door from lobbying and campaigns to government — Psaki came to State from the 2012 Obama campaign, a perch from which she attacked Mitt Romney’s foreign policy chops.

Romney turns out to have been right when he called Russia America’s number one geostrategic foe, while Psaki’s boss, Obama, has been proved wrong.

Unfortunately, to most Democrat voters, accomplishments don’t matter and they will support Hillary in 2016 anyway.

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Congrats, Bronies, You’ve Made Hasbro Profitable

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Fox Business story about Hasbro’s turn of fortunes uses gender-normative terminology that, after a tween stared down McDonald’s over its scandalous Happy Meals toys, is no longer politically correct.

Toymaker Hasbro Inc. on Monday said it swung to a profit from a year-ago loss, boosted by strong sales in its girls toys category. Hasbro reported a first-quarter profit of $32.1 billion, or 24 cents a share, versus a loss of $6.7 billion, or 5 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. (emphasis added, offense unintended)

We can’t call them “girls toys” anymore, for two reasons. In the case of My Little Pony toys, even though they’re intended for girls age 8 and under, adult men are actually buying them and watching the TV show. I wish I was kidding, but I am not. Bronies are a thing, as Ronan Farrow helpfully reported in-depth for MSNBC not long ago.

The second reason that we cannot call girls toys girls toys is because of the courage and forward thinking of Antonia Ayres-Brown. The teen slatepitched McDonald’s out of using gender-normative terminology to describe the toys it puts in its Happy Meals.

In the fall of 2008, when I was 11 years old, I wrote to the CEO of McDonald’s and asked him to change the way his stores sold Happy Meals. I expressed my frustration that McDonald’s always asked if my family preferred a “girl toy” or a “boy toy” when we ordered a Happy Meal at the drive-through. My letter asked if it would be legal for McDonald’s “to ask at a job interview whether someone wanted a man’s job or a woman’s job?”

A few weeks later, I received a short response from a McDonald’s customer satisfaction representative claiming that McDonald’s doesn’t train their employees to ask whether Happy Meal customers want boys’ or girls’ toys, and my experiences were not the norm.

This response was unsatisfying, so I began visiting more than a dozen local McDonald’s locations with my father to collect data. Ultimately, we brought a complaint to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities against McDonald’s for discriminating on the basis of sex. Despite our evidence showing that, in our test, McDonald’s employees described the toys in gendered terms more than 79 percent of the time, the commission dismissed our allegations as “absurd” and solely for the purposes of “titilation [sic] and sociological experimentation.” All in all, this was a pretty humiliating defeat.

She goes on, and on, and on, from there. Seriously. She and her parents whittled off years of their lives pushing McDonald’s into a position where it is not allowed to speak clearly about an obvious and harmless thing.

The ending of it all is that McDonald’s will now confuse the life out of anyone who asks for the boys toy or the girls toy, until they go away angry that they ever bothered to order the Happy Meal.

Next, one supposes that Ayres-Brown will demand that McDonald’s create Happy Meal toys for each of Facebook’s 50 gender options.

That could take a while.

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This Is An Actual, Serious CNN Headline

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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

cnn-bieber

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Kerry: ‘It was easier’ During the Cold War

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Easier to get things wrong, I guess, whines the secretary of state.

Secretary of State John Kerry attested Tuesday to the massively complex challenges Washington faces in Ukraine, Russia, Iran and the Middle East, declaring “it was easier” during the Cold War.

In a candid moment during a State Department speech, the top US diplomat said changing global power dynamics made a quaint memory of the early East-West stalemate, when American children would “crouch under our desks at school and practice” safety steps for a possible nuclear attack.

“During the Cold War… it was easier than it is today — simpler is maybe a way to put it,” Kerry told aid and development experts.

“The choices were less varied, less complicated, more stark, more clear: Communism, democracy, West, East, the Iron Curtain.”

If it was so much easier during the Cold War, why did Kerry, Ted Kennedy and so many other Democrats get so much wrong? Kerry supported the 1980s  nuclear freeze movement, which was Soviet-funded in the West and aimed to disarm the free world of our nuclear deterrent. Ted Kennedy was working with the Soviets behind Reagan’s back, according to his KGB files. Numerous Democrats actually believed that Ronald Reagan was more of a threat to the world than any Soviet premier.

For his part, Kerry even got the war he fought in wrong. Vietnam was about containing international communism. He made it about smearing his fellow soldiers, with all that “Jenghis Ghan” stuff. When America abandoned Vietnam, as Kerry wanted, the communists went on a rampage and killed hundreds of thousands over the next several years.

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GOP Candidate Comes Up with Fantastic One-Word Response to Dems’ ‘War on Women’ Nonsense

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Terri Lynn Land is running for US Senate in Michigan. She has a one-word response for her Democrat opponent and his “war on women” schtick.

This is perfect. I don’t know anything about Land on the issues yet, but based on this ad, I like her and I suspect most viewers will too. She comes off as charming, yet no-nonsense at the same time. Land’s response taps right into how real people actually talk about the absurd, and it leaves the Democrats nowhere to go. Land is set to “Really?” them every time they claim “war on women” or any other ridiculous accusation that Democrats tend to toss out.

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Professor Tells Students to Hate Republicans

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Prof. Brent Terry teaches Introduction to Creative Writing at Eastern Connecticut State University. In a lecture Monday morning, he said that Republicans are “racist, misogynistic, money-grubbing people” who want to turn the clock back and keep blacks and Latinos from voting. The Republican Party was founded to end slavery while the Democrats started a civil war to preserve slavery, but ESCU’s history department probably doesn’t teach that. He also said that if the Republicans win the Senate this fall, America will be a “very, very different kind of country” in which colleges will start closing up.

Campus Reform reports that the audio was captured by a student, who wishes to remain anonymous. ESCU has released a statement saying “Our faculty has academic freedom to conduct their classes in whatever way they choose, this is not a university matter.”

Just another day in academia.

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NYC Official Pesters Texas Company for Donating to the NRA

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In which a leftwinger threatens a privately-owned Texas company for engaging in the political process.

Comptroller Scott Stringer, investment adviser and trustee to the $150 billion city pension funds, is questioning “both the magnitude and the corporate purpose” behind the Clayton Williams Energy Inc. donations to the National Rifle Association and American Crossroads, a conservative political action committee. He’s urging full disclosure to shareholders of all political spending, saying it poses “legal, reputational and operational risks.”

“The reported contributions are extremely large for such a small company and seem intended to further the political views of its chairman and CEO rather than the interests of the company itself,” Stringer said Monday.

Stringer, a Democrat, was a state assemblyman and Manhattan borough president before he was elected comptroller last year. His letter was emailed and faxed to the company Friday.

The answer should be straightforward: None of your business. The NRA is a perfectly legal organization that defends a basic civil right. It’s legal, even moral, to help the NRA do its job if one agrees with its aims and has the means to help.

New York’s comptroller doesn’t believe in “none of your business,” though. He believes in turning government into a partisan weapon.

New York City’s pension funds have submitted about 55 shareholder proposals for 2014, withdrawing nearly half after reaching agreements with the companies, spokesman Eric Sumberg said. Topics include political spending disclosures, executive pay clawback policies, proxy access, board and workplace diversity and environmental risk management.

About 700 to 800 nonbinding shareholder resolutions are filed annually in the U.S., mostly at large companies. Many focus on shareholder value and management accountability, while others are concerned with social issues like global warming, labor rights or gender equality.

Basically, he’s on a jihad to social engineer private companies via pension pestering. It’s all about overturning Citizens United, which is settled law by the way, however and by whatever means come to hand. The IRS scandal is a symptom of a deep progressive obsession with limiting speech that disagrees with them.

It’s clearer by the day that progressives are perfectly happy to leave others free to do exactly what progressives demand, no more and no less.

h/t JWF

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The Fast-Growing City Where Americans Feel Least Safe Is…

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

On the Texas-Mexico border, according to TIME.

1. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
> Pct. feel safe at night: 48.5%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 24.5% (the highest)
> Violent crime rate: 319.2 per 100,000 (160th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 34.5% (2nd highest)
> Population: 809,759 (90th highest)

McAllen was the only metro area in which less than half of all respondents felt safe walking home alone at night. This was despite the fact that McAllen actually had a lower violent crime rate than the United States overall in 2012, at just 319 incidents per 100,000 residents, versus 387 crimes for 100,000 residents nationally. However, violence along the border with Mexico remains a concern for many McAllen residents. The State Department warns against traveling to the neighboring city of Reynosa, Mexico, due to high levels of drug-related violence. Additionally, nearly 25% of residents stated they did not have enough money for adequate shelter at some point in the previous year, by far the most of any metro area. A lack of adequate shelter may be tied to the relatively low economic prosperity in the region. In 2012, 34.5% of residents lived below the poverty line, and the median household income was just $33,761, both among the worst in the nation.

TIME needs to keep up. Local official claims that crime has been reduced are bogus. The people don’t feel safe because they live close to a drug war, they have endured –frankly, they have elect and re-elected — deep corruption for far too long, and local officials tend to be criminals. Above all that, President Obama mocks people who want greater border security.

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Michigan’s Affirmative Action Ban Easily Upheld at SCOTUS; Media Go with the ‘Sharply Divided’ Meme

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Since when is a 6-2 Supreme Court decision a product of a “sharply divided” court? The answer seems to be, when the decision isn’t one that goes along with the medialeft’s notions about how things ought to be.

McClatchy’s Michael Doyle leads off his article on the Supreme Court upholding Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions like this:

WASHINGTON — Affirmative action again split the Supreme Court on Tuesday, as sharply divided justices upheld a Michigan measure that bans preferential treatment in college admissions based on race or ethnicity.

In a highly anticipated and fractured decision, justices in a plurality decision said courts lacked authority to interfere with the political decision made by Michigan voters.

“Courts may not disempower the voters from choosing which path to follow,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

Six justices agreed with the conclusion that sustains the Michigan measure. Only Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. and Justice Samuel Alito, though, fully agreed with Kennedy’s reasoning, limiting the potential reach of the decision. Kennedy, moreover, emphasized the limits of the ruling.

“It is important to note what this case is not about,” Kennedy stressed. “It is not about the constitutionality, or the merits, of race-conscious admissions policies in higher education.”

Conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia joined in a separate concurring opinion, arguing Michigan’s measure was undeniably legal, while liberal Justice Stephen Breyer wrote his own concurring opinion.

So we have six justices, easily a majority of the nine on the court, agreeing to uphold Michigan’s law, just differing among themselves on nuances. Only two, the most liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, went the other way. Elena Kagan recused herself, but even if she had joined the dissent, it’s a 6-3.

The court’s majority mirrors the majority that approved the law in the first place — 58% approved it as a constitutional amendment in 2006.

McClatchy wasn’t done with its mischaracterization of the court’s ruling.

The court’s relatively narrow decision Monday, though, largely sidestepped the costs and benefits of affirmative action, focusing instead on the political process.

Again, it was 6-2. 5-4 is “relatively narrow.” 6-2 is not.

All of that said, let’s return to Justice Kennedy’s argument: ““Courts may not disempower the voters from choosing which path to follow.”

Really? What about California’s Prop 8?

 

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Obama Sends Strongest Signal Yet that He Expects Democrats to Lose the Senate

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

If Democrats lose the Senate this fall, Barack Obama loses the lynchpin of his lawlessness. The Senate in Harry Reid’s grubby hands has killed Obamacare repeal bills by the bushel and keeps every possibility of holding Obama accountable at bay. But the Senate in GOP hands can, and likely will, open a slew of investigations that have been locked in the House or stymied outright up to now. For Obama, facing a House Oversight Committee investigation into the IRS scandal is one thing. Facing investigations in both the House and Senate, and the probability of select committees investigating various things, with John McCain and a newly empowered Ted Cruz and Mike Lee baying at him, is another thing entirely.

The Senate can impeach.* I don’t expect that to actually happen, but the threat alone is bracing. As long as Harry Reid controlled the Senate, there was no threat at all.

Now, with polls showing the Democrats’ Senate majority in major trouble, Barack Obama is lawyering up.

President Obama on Monday said he has selected W. Neil Eggleston to become chief counsel, adding the expertise of a veteran attorney who was involved in some of the most heated legal battles of the Clinton administration.

Eggleston, a white-collar defender who is now at Kirkland & Ellis, will replace departing White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler in mid-May.

“Neil brings extraordinary expertise, credentials, and experience, to our team,” Obama said in a statement. “He has a passion for public service, is renowned for his conscientiousness and foresight, and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming years.”

And, he helped defend scandal-scarred Bill Clinton.

Obama’s departing counsel may also find herself under investigation.

When an IRS audit found that the tax collection agency had been targeting conservative political groups, it was Ruemmler’s decision not to tell the president about the findings, in an attempt to shield Obama from charges he interfered in the investigation.

She also advised the president to resist congressional demands to release draft talking points following last year’s attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, infuriating congressional Republicans.

*Some quibbling in comments over this sentence. The House files charges and conducts impeachment trials, but the Senate votes whether to convict or not. If the Senate convicts, removal from office is automatic. So it’s the Senate that is essentially the jury and does the removing. I don’t see any of this happening during Obama’s last two years in office, but the fact has been that Reid’s control of the Senate has allowed Obama to get away with an awful lot.

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Obama Admin’s Bragging Costs them a Victory in Court

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Loose lips

A federal appeals panel in Manhattan ordered the release on Monday of key portions of a classified Justice Department memorandum that provided the legal justification for the targeted killing of a United States citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who intelligence officials contend had joined Al Qaeda and died in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

The unanimous three-judge panel, reversing a lower court decision, said the government had waived its right to keep the analysis secret in light of numerous public statements by administration officials and the Justice Department’s release of a “white paper” offering a detailed analysis of why targeted killings were legal.

“Whatever protection the legal analysis might once have had,” Judge Jon O. Newman wrote for the panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, “has been lost by virtue of public statements of public officials at the highest levels and official disclosure of the D.O.J. White Paper.”

The administration had already leaked the “white paper” to NBC News. Then several officials, including the attorney general and John Brennan, now the CIA director, bragged about offing Awlaki for the political benefit of making them look tough on terrorism (despite the president’s inability to honestly call terrorism out at Fort Hood, which was inspired by Awlaki). Then, they decided to hide the best parts under a veil of secrecy.

There’s no set timeline for the administration to disclose the memo, so look for it to come out sometime around January 2017.

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Unearthed Footage Shows Progressive Hero Calling for Ban: ‘No More Babies!’

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Margaret Sanger, called Margaret Slee in this clip as Slee was her second husband’s name, was founder and first president of Planned Parenthood. Sanger is such an icon on the left today that Planned Parenthood has named an award in her honor, and both Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi have both been awarded it.

The clip is from 1947, just two years after World War II ravaged civilization. The timing is therefore interesting. The world was certainly not overpopulated, not after the Soviet famine, not after the Nazis and the Holocaust.

In the 1947 interview, eugenicist Sanger called for a full ban on all childbearing in the developing world for 10 years.

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The clip is among a collection of 85,000 recently uploaded to YouTube by British Pathé.

When Hillary Clinton proudly accepted the Margaret Sanger Award a few year ago, she said: “I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision, when I think about what she did all those years ago in Brooklyn, taking on archetypes, taking on attitudes and accusations flowing from all directions, I am really in awe of her.”

Pelosi accepted her Margaret Sanger Award in 2014.

h/t Daily Caller

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Wendy Davis Campaign Morphs Into Clown Show

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

What do you do if you’re falling behind and you’re wrong about, well, everything? If you’re Wendy Davis, you hire a castoff from Harry Reid’s house of lies and you just lie about whatever comes up.

The example is in today’s Dallas Morning News, via editorial writer Rodger Jones.

Fact No. 1: Texas public school districts that offer Pre-K already assess them for effectiveness.
Fact No. 2: The Davis campaign has been ridiculing the idea of assessing Pre-K kids, calling it “standardized testing for four-year-olds” and imposition of “Baby STAAR” tests.
Fact No. 3: The Davis campaign has been mum on whether she would ban Pre-K assessments that districts now administer.

Just this afternoon, the campaign put out an email that starts with this headline: “DAVIS CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN RESPONDS TO DMN EDITOR RODGER JONES”

Never mind that I’m not editor of the DMN, or an editor of any kind. The release continued this way:

FORT WORTH – Wendy Davis campaign communications director Zac Petkanas responded to editorial board editor Rodger Jones’ defense of Greg Abbott’s plan to impose standardized testing onto four year olds.

“Greg Abbott’s so-called education plan does something that Texas currently does not do: impose a top down mandate tying additional state resources for pre-K classrooms with how well four year olds do on standardized test assessments.

“Under Abbott’s plan, school districts with pre-K students who don’t meet the mark have their resources slashed.

“To say that this currently takes place in Texas today is just plain wrong.”

I’m saying one simple thing: Pre-K assessments happen today, a reality that may have caught the Davis campaign by surprise as they set out to criticize the very idea of making sure tax money is used properly.

This is aside from any comparison of the Abbott and Davis Pre-K plans. This is a reality check for the Davis folks. A sample of what they put out last week:

“Four-year-olds should be coloring with crayons, not filling in bubbles with No. 2 pencils,” Davis told a crowd of about 80 people at the Texas State Teachers Association.

It’s a distortion for effect, and they know it.

It’s cute, how Wendy Davis and Zac Petkanas think they can just make up whatever reality they want.

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EXCLUSIVE: How One Brave Woman and Her Group of Patriots Took a Corrupt Border Sheriff Down

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

For nearly two years I’ve worked with a source who I couldn’t identify, but who deserved a great deal of credit and applause. This person is a business owner, a mom, an investigator, and as it turns out a courageous fighter for honest government.

Faced with a corrupt sheriff in a Texas border county across the Rio Grande from a drug war, she patiently gathered up evidence of corruption and crime. Despite credible threats to herself and her family, she persevered — and the sheriff is now among more than a dozen who have or soon will stand trial.

Meet her here.

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VIDEO — Uniformed Police Officer Caught Tripping Students Rushing to Field to Celebrate a State Championship

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

From KTBC-TV in the people’s republic of Austin.

Rohan Gupta, a student at Vandegrift High School, posted the video to YouTube. The Vandegrift girls soccer won their first state championship beating Wile 1-0.

As the clock hit zero, students jumped out of the stands and on to the field. Over the loud speakers the announcer can be heard telling the crowd to stay of the field.

Watch the lower right side of your screen at about 8-seconds into the video to see the officer apparently trip one young man, who ends up limping off the field. The officer  tries to trip a second person, then grabs another.

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It looks like assault to me.

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Dem Congressman Says Obamacare’s ‘Worst Is Yet to Come’

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Massachusetts Rep. Steve Lynch (D) voted for Obamacare, but he told the Boston Herald that “the worst is yet to come” from Obamacare. Lynch noted that the “Cadillac tax” will, for the first time in American history, impose a tax on health insurance, and that it will be a massive tax.

Lynch believes that Obamacare will cost the Democrats seats in the House this year, and will also probably cost them the Senate. He told the Herald that things will “hit the fan” when many of Obamacare’s elements are implemented. They have been postponed, he said, because they are the law’s “most unpalatable” provisions.

Specifically, he said “Any individual with an individual health care plan that exceeds $10,200 is in a ‘Cadillac plan’ situation. They’re gonna have to pay that employer, if they provide that and many do today, never mind in 2018, will have to pay a 40% tax on the amount over the…maximum established by the Affordable Care Act. So that’s a huge tax.”

But, he says that repealing the law is “impossible” because so many Americans are already dependent on it.

Which was the plan all along, of course — make more Americans dependent on government as a means of yoking them to it.

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h/t NRO

 

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Bored with Stonewalling Republicans, Obama White House Now Stonewalling Democrats on the Keystone

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During today’s White House press briefing, ABC’s Jon Karl asked spokesman Jay Carney to react to Democrats who have stated their anger over the Obama administration’s most recent delay in the Keystone Pipeline. The Obama administration announced that delay on Friday — Good Friday — one of its many misuses of holidays. Vulnerable Democrat senators like Mary Landrieu (LA) say they are “appalled” by the decision.

Rather than own up to the decision and its political nature, Carney pawned the decision off onto the State Department. Watch the video.

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How Many of Georgia’s Obamacare Enrollees Have Actually Paid?

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Half, according to Georgia Health News.

Georgia insurers received more than 220,000 applications for health coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s exchange as of the official federal deadline of March 31, state officials said Wednesday.

Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, though, said premiums have been received for only 107,581 of those policies, which cover 149,465 people.

“Many Georgians completed the application process by the deadline, but have yet to pay for the coverage,” Hudgens said in a statement Wednesday.

Which means they’re not actually insured.

How many other states have similar rates? If there are a lot of Georgias out there, the “7 million” that Obama bragged about is even phonier than we thought.

h/t Daily Surge

 

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