After four terrific years with PJ Media and PJTV, this has been my last day here.
I’m moving on to another opportunity, and looking forward to taking on some new challenges. I won’t be blogging, but I will still be enjoying PJ every day. I might pop up in comments or a column every now and then. As Roger said when he departed PJ, this is sayonara but not goodbye. Since I won’t be writing so much, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to actually enjoying all that planet PJ has to offer.
Before I leave, I just want to thank the whole PJ team for everything. Working in this sprawling venture has been a wonderful experience. The team at HQ welcomed me with open arms from the beginning and placed a lot of faith in me when we launched Tatler together. Aaron, Roger, Sandra and Chad have been great leaders to work with, and have become more than colleagues to me — friends. Friends who let me free range blog, backed me up when I reported from the border, traveled with me to places like CPAC and Charleston, and have been ever faithful allies. Thank you for giving me a home here.
The fact is, this PJ team is incredibly talented and it has been an honor just to be a part of it. PJ plays a vital role on the center-right. It’s tough to leave, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and so here we are. I have every confidence that this amazing team will keep powering PJ to success after success, thanks in huge part to our wonderful readers, viewers and commenters.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Tommy the chimpanzee is not a person, according to a New York appeals court.
A Florida group’s efforts to free a chimpanzee fell short on Thursday when the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court in Albany upheld a lower court’s decision that found that such animals aren’t entitled to basic legal rights.
The case centered around Tommy, a 26-year-old chimpanzee kept by his owner in a cage in Gloversville. Attorney Steven Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, argued that chimpanzees display enough attributes similar to humans to be eligible for protections from unlawful imprisonment.
The ruling, that the chimp is not a human, was unanimous.
Members of the animal rights left are funny creatures. They want more rights for animals while at the same time they seek fewer rights for humans.
The runoff between Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy and Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu is tomorrow. It’s not going well at all for the Louisiana Democrat. Today the New York Times published a bracing piece about how Landrieu is the south’s last Democrat. That’s not entirely true. There are still some pockets of Democrats in the increasingly red south, anchored around Texas which just keeps getting redder despite decades of Democrats claiming that demographics will turn it blue.
Landrieu trails in the latest poll by 24 points. Louisiana Democrats have been caught on tape calling on voters to commit fraud to keep her in power, but even that might not be enough. Who’d risk jail for Landrieu now?
The national Democrats won’t, they won’t even risk any cash. They dropped out of the race a while back, which is among the reasons that MSNBC made this stark claim today. Luke Russert says Landrieu has been “left on the side of the road” by the national Democrats. “No real clear shot for her to win this, is there?” Russert asked elections “guru” Steve Kornacki.
America is back in the manned space flight business, or at least, we’re getting closer. The Orion rocket launched from the Kennedy Space Center this morning.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — An unmanned NASA exploration capsule blasted off on its first ride to space Friday.
Onlookers cheered as a 24-story Delta IV Heavy rocket rumbled from slowly from its Cape Canaveral Air Force Station pad with NASA’s first Orion capsule at 7:05 a.m.
The launch marked the start of a planned four-and-a-half hour test flight intended to take Orion on two laps around the planet, flying 3,600 miles up to set up a high-speed re-entry through the atmosphere and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
For some perspective, the space shuttle and the Hubble Space Telescope orbit at about 350 miles above the earth’s surface. Orion went a whole lot higher than that. It’s a powerful beast. Orion’s mission today marks the first flight of a vehicle designed to carry humans, to go beyond low earth orbit since the Apollo moon missions. The moon is about 250,000 miles from earth. Orion will eventually traverse millions of miles.
NASA described the launch as “perfect.” Orion is the next generation of America’s space flight platforms. It will eventually take humans out to an asteroid, and to Mars. Those missions remain a decade or more away, but Orion’s first manned missions are set for around 2018.
NASA rocketry and research has transformed technology since the agency’s beginnings. A full list of all of the innovations that have their roots in NASA would take days to compile. Fortunately, NASA has been keeping track at its spinoff tech site.
What will we learn by putting humans on an asteroid and on Mars? We don’t know yet, and that’s the point of going.
Steve Rattner was President Obama’s “car czar” in the administration’s early years. As such, he was in and around the White House while Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al were working on Obamacare. Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare architect who keeps saying that Americans were “stupid” for buying into his scheme (which the majority have always opposed, by the way), was also in and around the White House during that period. What was it, 19 White House meetings, including face-to-face chats with the president during that time?
The Obama White House and Pelosi now pretend that they don’t know who this Gruber guy is, but they’re sure that he had very little to do with Obamacare. Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is the latest Obama administration figure to pretend that she really doesn’t know who Jonathan Gruber is.
Rattner appeared on CBNC this morning and and had the audacity to tell the truth.
Host Joe Kernen asked Rattner, “I want to get so something that you said that just made me so proud. I guess you’re not going to the White House Christmas party this year after saying that Gruber was the go-to guy. What prompted you to admit, to say that? I mean, you knew that was not going to go over well.”
Kernen added, “[W]hat the heck you were thinking when you admitted that?”
Rattner responded: “It wasn’t a question of admitting it. What I said was that if you pick up any newspaper or go back and look at any video clips from your show or any other show from that point, from that period, Jonathan Gruber was all over the health care situation as an adviser to the administration and as an expert and as the guy who designed the Massachusetts health plan on which the ObamaCare was modeled. That’s a fact.”
It’s also a fact that Rattner has the habit of admitting repeatedly, much to the consternation of the Obama cohort.
In today’s edition, Rattner suggests that the White House should have taken a different tack when Gruber’s “stupid” comments came out.
“Look, what I would have said about that if I were in charge of, of communications is I would have said, ‘Yes. He was an adviser to us. He’s a smart guy. What he said in those video clips that have now come out was stupid. He’s the stupid one for having said that stuff and we, the White House, disassociate ourselves from it.’ That’s all you had to say.”
Kernen gets the last word, for now: “So the White House let some stupid guy design ObamaCare.”
Somebody needs to remind Vlad that Russia is a Third World country and no match for a certain world power. But that somebody would have to have the confidence and desire to knock the KGB man down a peg.
Vladimir Putin excoriated the West in a speech on Thursday, comparing his foreign opponents to Adolf Hitler in their desire to destroy Russia while reminding foes that his armed forces were “polite but menacing”.
Speaking at the Kremlin in his annual address to parliament, Russia’s president defended his decision to annexe Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in the spring, saying that it was a place as sacred to Russians as holy sites in Jerusalem for Jews or Muslims.
It’s not, but whatever.
He said that Russia faced a threat to its very existence from western states and accused the United States of manipulating Russia’s neighbours – in particular, Ukraine – in an attempt to subordinate Moscow to Washington’s will.
“If for many European countries, sovereignty and national pride are forgotten concepts and a luxury, then for the Russian Federation a true sovereignty is an absolutely necessary condition of its existence,” Mr Putin told MPs, ministers and regional leaders. “I want to stress: either we will be sovereign, or we will dissolve in the world. And, of course, other nations must understand this as well.”
The West is not even interested in what you’re hawking, Vlad. Europe is because it’s energy poor, but we’re not. So put your shirt on and knock off the chest-thumping.
Mr Putin said foreign foes of Russia had supported similar separatists “up to their elbows in blood” in the 1990s and early 2000s, but without success. “They would have been delighted to let us go the way of Yugoslavia and the dismemberment of the Russian peoples, with all the tragic consequences. But it did not happen. We did not allow it to happen.”
He added: “It also didn’t work out for Hitler, who with his man-hating ideas wanted to destroy Russia and throw us beyond the Urals. It would be good to remind everyone of how that ended.”
We can talk about how that ended, but it’s more useful to talk about how it started. The Soviet Union allied with Hitler under the belief that a Nazi win would allow Russia to carve up Europe’s carcass for itself. Then Hitler invaded Russia. Stalin sure didn’t see that coming, until it was too late. The Allied victory ended up allowing the carve-up. Russia played to the evil side, then by invasion was forced to join the Allies, but pursued its own interests ruthlessly. That’s what Putin is doing now too. It’s what both Stalin and Hitler did then. Nobody’s interested in destroying Russia, at least, nobody in the West is. Islamists are interested in destroying everything not Islamist. Putin is interested in rebuilding Stalin’s old empire.
Putin’s brand of jingoism plays well in Russia. He’s popular and he has been in power so long that he’s part of the furniture in the Kremlin now.
He’s stirring the pot against the West, and he’s not just doing that for grins.
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Says He Wants Change to Prevent the Next Eric Garner. He’s Not Being Honest.
Let’s stipulate a few things up front. I don’t think that the fatal police takedown of Eric Garner was justified, based on the offense that was in play. That offense was selling illegal cigarettes out of their manufacturer’s packaging — so-called “loosies.” Eric Garner did that, repeatedly, and had been arrested for it previously to the day that he died.
However, my information in this case is incomplete, as is the video we have all seen, as is your information. The grand jury may have gotten it wrong when they declined to indict, but they do know more about this case than any of us knows.
Eric Garner was well known to the NYPD. In 2007, while he was in prison at Rikers Island, he wrote a civil rights case against the NYPD alleging that an officer had sexually assaulted him during another arrest. That case was dismissed, but not on the evidence or lack thereof. It was not adjudicated because Garner failed to provide the court a forwarding address when he left prison.
At the time of his death, three misdemeanor cases were pending against Garner, and he was out on bail. Those three cases were among the 31 times he had been arrested prior to the confrontation that resulted in his death. The father of six should have had an express lane with the NYPD and the prison system.
The fact that he was out on bail has been mostly lost in today’s discussions about the case, but it’s highly relevant. Out on bail, on the day of his death he was breaking a law that he had had been caught breaking over and over again. He was a recidivist, if petty, street criminal. But the crime he committed was, frankly, a stupid crime that is the result of New York’s onerous, even oppressive, policies regulating daily life. Personally, that city has too much government for me and I never want to live there or any place like it. To each his own.
The majority of New Yorkers have voted in support of such policies for decades now. The policies that the majority of New Yorkers support with their votes include the city’s tax hikes on cigarettes. New York City and State add $4.35 and $1.50 respectively to the price of every single pack of cigarettes every day. New York is the most expensive city in America in which to buy cigarettes and has been for years.
New York voters bought the line that the taxes would pay for government health and education programs. But the high taxes have created the city’s black market, of which Garner was a willing seller and untold numbers of others are also willing buyers and sellers. Money, like water, usually flows along paths of least resistance.
They buy cigarettes more cheaply out of state where taxes are lower, smuggle them into New York as if they are petty cartels hauling illegal drugs, and sell them on the streets of the city. The entire transaction process is illegal, and the sellers and the buyers know that.
Most of the buyers and sellers happen to be young, black men, as they are New York’s most likely smokers. But some of the buyers are also wealthy white New Yorkers, Asians, Hispanics and every other ethnicity and income level. Everyone hates to pay more for something than they absolutely have to. Even people who vote year after year to keep making their government bigger and more powerful and therefore more expensive. They vote for a policy that they find ways to escape in their daily lives.
It’s as if the last six years just never happened, at least in Barack Obama’s mind.
The president is having one of his “Days of Action!” at the White House, forums from which he typically says something that he knows is both provocative and offensive to at least half of the country. He pushes a policy that will either increase taxes or government power, or both. And he insults Republicans.
That’s what he has done for six years running — play insult comic, push policies that he knows will make millions of Americans quite angry, and then use the response to denounce them, while going bravely to battle against the army of straw men he surrounds them with and then sets afire.
Six years of that. Now, though, the president of the Roman columns and empty words wants America to get back to some sense of “common purpose.”
“The specific issue that has to be addressed making sure that people have confidence, that police and law enforcement and prosecutors are serving everybody equally,” the president said, in the same week in which he hosted notorious hoaxster and anti-police loudmouth Al Sharpton at the White House. Sharpton has spent recent months ignoring the facts in the Ferguson case. Obama has not called him out on that. “There’s a larger question of restoring a sense of common purpose. And at the heart of the American ideal is this sense that we’re in it together.”
Actually, at the heart of the American ideal is another thought — we’re free individuals, and the government is not our master, it’s our employee. Democrats seem not to agree with that, except when it suits them.
If the president had a record of seeking American unity at all, well, he might get a positive reaction now. But this is the president who says that he sees Americans who disagree with him as “enemies” who must be “punished.”
His immigration amnesty is part of the president’s punishment/reward scheme. And his credibility with the majority of the country is gone.
The states will not wait.
Texas’ Gov.-elect Greg Abbott isn’t even waiting to officially take office before announcing his next courtroom salvo against the Obama administration. As attorney general, Abbott sued the administration numerous times over several policies including Obamacare and won several cases.
The incoming governor is now leading a coalition of states that will sue to stop President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty of an estimated 5 million illegal aliens, according to AP.
Abbott argued Wednesday that Obama’s action “tramples” portions of the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit raises three objections: that Obama violated the “Take Care Clause” of the U.S. Constitution that limits the scope of presidential power; that the federal government violated rulemaking procedures; and that the order will “exacerbate the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, which will affect increased state investment in law enforcement, health care and education.”
Wednesday’s announcement marks the 31st time the attorney general in this fiercely conservative state has brought action against the federal government since Obama took office in 2009. The only other high-profile lawsuit against the immigration action has come on behalf of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Aside: The AP describes Texas as “fiercely conservative.” They probably meant that as a slight, but it isn’t one. It’s a compliment. Texas isn’t the number one destination for interstate movers and the nation’s job creation engine by accident. Our “fierce conservatism” has a whole lot to do with it.
According to AP, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin have joined the suit. Maybe they aspire to become as fiercely conservative as Texas.
Most media eyes have stayed fixed on Louisiana’s Senate race, in which incumbent Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu looks likely to lose to GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy. With the runoff slated for Dec. 6, Cassidy leads in the polls, by a lot. Early voting has also heavily favored the Republicans, with turnout for the runoff actually exceeding early vote turnout for the Nov. 4 general election — on the Republican side only. Democrat early voter turnout is down.
Cassidy is expected to cruise to a win, as Democrat fortunes continue to wane across the country and especially in Louisiana. Whether Cassidy wins or loses, Republicans will control the Senate come January. Landrieu’s defeat, if that’s what transpires, will serve as a coda on the demise of Barack Obama’s Democratic Party.
The Bayou State, once a Democrat stronghold in the otherwise solidly Republican south, has in recent years joined its neighbors in the GOP coalition. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) represents the Republicans’ youthful conservative leadership in the changing state.
A ways down the runoff ballot, though, is the race for District 1 on the Louisiana Public Service Commission. The Nov. 4 three-way “jungle primary” finished with no candidate getting 50% of the vote. The top two vote-getters, Forest Bradley-Wright and incumbent Commissioner Erik Skrmetta, finished first and second with 38% and 37% respectively, so they face off in the Dec. 6 runoff.
Eight people barely escaped the fire in Zervigon’s multifamily building. His car was torched, as was his wife’s. “Someone, whoever it was, did target him,” said Andrew Tuozzolo, a friend and colleague to whom Zervigon has referred media requests.
Since the fire, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been combing the Uptown neighborhood where Zervigon lived to determine who might be responsible. Investigators are treating the blaze as arson, having ruled out the possibility that it was accidental. On Monday, the agency announced that it was offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
As of yet, there are no suspects in the blaze.
Part of the case’s complexity has to do with Zervigon’s involvement in a divisive political race. Moran has said investigators are interviewing not only Zervigon and neighbors, but also the campaigns of Bradley-Wright and his runoff opponent, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta.
Zervigon played a role in other campaigns this election cycle, but none was as fiercely contested as the Public Service Commission race. On Nov. 4, two days before the fire, Bradley-Wright forced the incumbent Skrmetta into a Dec. 6 runoff election. The two candidates, both Republicans, have quarreled fiercely over alternative energy.
Not only is the race divisive, one could argue that at least one aspect of it has been downright devious. Skrmetta is the incumbent Republican. Democrats have a very hard time winning much in Louisiana these days, as the state trends similarly to its gigantic neighbor, deep red Texas. Democrat branding is an albatross in much of Louisiana. Forest Bradley-Wright, the challenger, is also on the Republican ballot for the PSC slot.
But his identification with the Republican Party is of recent vintage.
Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) spoke on politics in Richmond on Tuesday. The former senator pulled no punches when it came to describing his own party and why its power has dwindled sharply recently.
“[T]he concern that I have, quite frankly, is that the Democratic party has lost the message that made it such a great party for so many years, and that message was, ‘Take care of working people, take care of the people who have no voice in the corridors of power, no matter their race, ethnicity or any other reason.’ The Democratic party has basically turned into a party of interest groups,” Webb said.
Near the end of his remarks, captured in the video below, Webb added: “[T]he very people who would have a natural affinity to for what the Democratic Party used to offer feel alienated. They feel that the Democratic Party doesn’t want them.”
Webb is absolutely right, other than the part about the Democratic Party’s alleged “greatness.” The party of the Civil War and Jim Crow was never “great.” The party of Jimmy Carter, tax and spend and weakening America at every turn was never “great.” It isn’t great now.
As an evangelical Christian who desires more personal liberty and smaller government, believes in the right to life and strong national security and a strong economy fostered by fair and predictable legal and regulatory frameworks, the Democratic Party tells me every day, quite loudly and with near perfect clarity, that I am its enemy.
Before anyone jumps the gun and suggests that I’m blaming Barack Obama for the death of Eric Garner, read on. I’m not.
As New York City prepares for protests — hopefully peaceful — after the grand jury’s decision not to indict in the death of Eric Garner, it’s worth a look at how we got here.
Garner reportedly had many prior arrests, which means that he was known to the NYPD and may have been known to the officers on the scene who took him down the day he died, July 17, 2014.
Why did they decide to take him down in the first place? That’s not clear even in the video. The video of his death is unfortunately too short, and starts after the confrontation has already started. The narrator says he is being “beaten up” just for “breaking up a fight,” but that appears to be inaccurate. Garner starts off in the video showing anger that the police have confronted him repeatedly, over time, not just that day. He does not appear to be threatening anyone, and according to reports had in fact just stopped a fight between other people. So it’s not clear why the police elected to use force on him. A citation would probably have sufficed.
But a citation for what?
Garner was reportedly selling “loosies,” individual cigarettes taken out of their original packaging. That’s a crime?
Yep. Since 2010, that’s a crime, sayeth the unaccountable bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration.
An FDA rule issued on June 22, 2010 — well within the Obama era, under a president who has unleashed bureaucracy on the entire country — mandates that individual cigarettes cannot be sold without their original packaging. You must not sell an unhealthy product that everyone knows is unhealthy unless it’s still in the polluting box that it originally came in.
If you sell cigarettes, you must comply with the following bullet points. Note the bold.
- Check photo ID of everyone appearing under age 27 who attempts to purchase cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, or smokeless tobacco.
- Only sell cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco to anyone age 18 or older. **
- Only sell cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco in a direct, face-to-face exchange. ***
- Do NOT break open cigarette or smokeless tobacco packages to sell products in smaller amounts.
- Do NOT sell cigarette packages containing fewer than 20 cigarettes.
- Do NOT sell single cigarettes, also called “loosies”.
- Do NOT give away free samples of cigarettes.
- Do NOT give away free samples of smokeless tobacco except from a “qualified adult-only facility.”
- Do NOT sell flavored cigarettes or flavored cigarette tobacco (other than menthol).
* This is only a summary of the laws. For the full list of federal laws, visit: www.fda.gov/BreakTheChain.
Selling and buying loosies is about avoiding taxes. Garner was being a fringe entrepreneur. That’s not to say that he’s a hero. He appears to have been a guy on the make. What he was doing was illegal and he knew that. None of that justifies the force used on him, but it’s important to keep in mind that the 43 year old was well overweight and actually died not of choking, but of a heart attack. Obviously the heart attack was influenced by the arrest. Could the police have predicted that taking him down would end up killing him? Intent to kill doesn’t appear to be in play in the video. That rules murder out. But there will be a federal investigation.
We’ve reached the point now when tragedy has become farce.
George Washington led the defeat of what was then the world’s most powerful empire and then became the first president of the United States. The man who could have been America’s first king set the precedent of peacefully relinquishing power and established the orderly transfer of power based on the people’s vote. Thomas Jefferson’s ideas powered the creation and the division of powers in America that have kept us free.
A few St. Louis Rams players raised their hands in tribute to a young man to made a series of very poor decisions that ultimately cost him his life.
To Rep. Al Green (D-TX), those Rams players and other “hands up, don’t shoot” protesters are just like Washington and Jefferson and the original Tea Party rebels. Same same.
Incredibly, and as if he has no idea what accusation the “hands up” protest levels at police officers, Rep. Green opens the comments below by thanking police officers. “Thanks, you racist murderers!” is more or less the meaning of the entire speech.
Farce. That’s where we are now.
Perhaps Democrats are learning that pushing an opaque and unpopular bill that has done none of the obvious things that would have brought down healthcare costs was less than ideal. The latest to voice his doubts over his party’s actions is retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). Harkin was one of Obamacare’s co-authors.
The Iowa Democrat who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, laments the complexity of legislation the Senate passed five years ago.
He wonders in hindsight whether the law was made overly complicated to satisfy the political concerns of a few Democratic centrists who have since left Congress.
“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.
“What we did is we muddle through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively,” he added.
Obamacare tackles none of the obvious drivers of cost increases. It doesn’t deal with tort reform at all, as Democrat Howard Dean admitted, doesn’t increase competition, doesn’t really reform healthcare. It takes from some Americans and gives to others, all through the inefficiency of centralized government, and rewards the very insurance companies that Democrats used to blast.
And, the majority of the American people saw all of that and didn’t want it when the Democrats and their president forced Obamacare through to become law.
By the way, Harkin has learned some things but not enough. He thinks one of Obamacare’s flaws is that it just doesn’t hand over enough power to government.
He believes Congress should have enacted “single-payer right from the get go or at least put a public option would have simplified a lot.”
“We had the votes to do that and we blew it,” he said.
Single payer was also unpopular, and still is.
Documents: Obama Administration Paid Baptist Family Services Over $182 Million to House Illegal Aliens
$75 per individual per day, for four months.
According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, that’s how much the federal government is paying for the housing, food and needs of thousands of illegal aliens who crossed into the United States this summer, at just two military bases. The documents show that the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services has paid an eye-popping $186,129,786 to the Baptist Children and Family Services for four months of care for thousands of illegal aliens, at a time when Democrats complain of government “austerity.”
Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The documents show that the government has spent $86,846.34 per child at Ft. Sill, OK, since the surge of illegal crossings earlier this year, for a total of $104,215,608 for the 1,200 unaccompanied children housed at that base alone. HHS also paid out $77,914,178 to care for 1,200 unaccompanied children who are housed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. That’s just two bases covered in the documents. The government has housed illegal aliens, many but not all children, at numerous points in many communities around the country. The costs included in these documents only cover federal spending, not local or state spending as school districts around the country take in thousands of illegal alien kids.
The documents also show that the Obama administration expects the surge to continue up to September of 2016, near the end of Obama’s presidency. That is when the contract, which began in October 2013, ends.
The costs include providing “multicultural crayons” to children at Ft. Sill, along with cell phones including international calling capabilities, “laptop kits,” board games, soccer balls and much more.
Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton sums up the fiscal carnage: “It is outrageous that the Obama administration spent nearly $200 million of taxpayer funds to provide illegal alien children with the types of extravagant high-tech equipment and lavish benefits many American families cannot even afford for their own children. And very few American workers are bringing home the $80,000 the Obama administration pays the BCFS’s Incident Management Team for just four months’ work. Obama’s lawlessness resulted in an illegal alien ‘surge’ that has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in 2014. Based on his new lawless amnesty plans, we can expect hundreds of millions more in taxpayer costs for the resulting wave of illegal aliens trying to take advantage of Obama’s illegal nullification of our nation’s immigration laws.”
My goodness, but the media is full of muppets.
When they’re not fact-checking SNL skits that criticize Obama, and dumpster diving to drive obscure GOP staffers mad, they’re chucking reason and science in the name of feel-good political correctness — never batting an eye that if they get what they want, innocent Americans will be victims of crime, and some of them will die at the hands of violent criminals.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough tried to have a real conversation on race and crime and police practices this morning. It failed. But not because of him, it’s because of his his liberal cohort.
Scarborough tried to get his pal Mika Brzezinski and guest Dorian Warren to see that police departments base their patrolling and practices on crime data. They refused, and Warren kept criticizing police and “stop and frisk.”
Brzezinski betrayed the left’s claim to be the “reality based community” and the politicos who favor science, though, when she blasted police use of data to craft crime-fighting strategies.
“[Policing] should not be based on the data,” an exasperated Brzezinski said. “It should be based on moving society forward, and treating whites and blacks equally.”
Watch the whole painful segment.
Former NBA star Charles Barkley is doing what many on the left claim that they love to see — he is speaking truth to power. In a CNN interview Tuesday, Barkley slammed President Obama’s handling of Ferguson. The round mound of rebound’s comments follow previous ones, in which he slammed the Ferguson looters and burners and “scumbags.” Barkley also said that the Ferguson grand jury got it right in not indicting Officer Darren Wilson. Wilson now has to have personal security and must move from place to place to remain safe.
In an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, Barkley says that President Obama should not go to Ferguson, and that Al Sharpton shouldn’t go either.
Barkley told Baldwin, “Every time something happens in the black community, we have the same cast of sad characters. We don’t have to have Al Sharpton go there.”
“We have the same sad sack of black characters,” Barkley said. “We need some strong black men in St. Louis to stand up and say ‘Hey, let’s handle this situation.’”
ABC News frames this story as “John McCain is angry over President Obama’s latest pick for an ambassador.” Which is the wrong framing, ABC, and yet another example of why no one bothers to trust the MSM these days. Y’all just can’t help yourselves from making bad guys out of good guys and good guys out of bad. See: Ferguson, where the high armed robber who attacked a cop is the media’s “victim,” and the police officer who was doing his job is somehow the “villain.”
The right framing here is that Barack Obama, the man who promised hope and change and that he would run a clean, open and honest government, runs an opaque oligarchy for the rich has once again sold an influential post to one of his fundraisers. This time it’s Colleen Bell, producer of The Bold and the Beautiful — a daytime soap. She raised enough campaign cash for Obama to get herself appointed and confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Senate to become ambassador to Hungary. Obama misrepresented himself as this transformational figure, but he’s just a grifter like so many who have come before him.
Prior to the vote, McCain, R-Ariz., went on a tirade about how Colleen Bradley Bell, a soap opera producer and bundler for President Obama’s campaigns, is “unqualified” to represent the United States as an ambassador to Hungary.
“We’re about to vote on a totally unqualified individual to be ambassador to a nation which is very important to our national security interest,” McCain said on the Senate floor. “Her qualifications are as a producer of the television soap opera ‘The Bold and The Beautiful,’ contributed 800,000 [dollars] to Obama in the last election and bundled more than $2.1 million for President Obama’s re-election effort.”
“I am not against political appointees … I understand how the game is played, but here we are, a nation [Hungary] that is on the verge of ceding its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator getting in bed with Vladimir Putin and we’re going to send the producer of ‘The Bold and The Beautiful’ as the ambassador,” McCain continued. “I urge my colleagues to put a stop to this foolishness. I urge a no vote.”
Regardless of McCain’s urging, the Senate confirmed Bell to the ambassador post with a vote of 52-42.
Which means that the Obama Democrats rubber-stamped his pick. They did it before they lose power next month.
ABC does point out that Bell was one of those Obama appointees who proved themselves clueless and evasive during Senate confirmation hearings.
MCCAIN: So what would you be doing differently from your predecessor, who obviously had very rocky relations with the present government?
BELL: If confirmed, I look forward to working with the broad range of society –
MCCAIN: My question was, what would you do differently?
BELL: Senator, in terms of what I would do differently from my predecessor, Kounalakis –
MCCAIN: That’s the question.
BELL: Well, what I would like to do when — if confirmed — I would like to work towards engaging civil society in a deeper — in a deeper –
MCCAIN: Obviously, you don’t want to answer my question.
After McCain’s rant on the Senate floor today, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., defended Bell saying she is “intelligent,” “successful,” and “knows how to make friends.”
Well under those qualifications Obama should send Dora the Explorer to become ambassador to Russia. She’s intelligent, resourceful, makes friends and she would forbid Putin from swiping more countries. Only two things stand in Dora’s way: She’s not real, and did she raise enough cold hard cash for the Obamessiah?
President Obama’s Battleground Texas group zoomed into Texas promising to make the deep red state more competitive for Democrats. They took on the Wendy Davis campaign for governor as their lead project, and championed her abortion radicalism and made no secret of the fact that Davis would do the national Democratic Party’s bidding.
They failed. Davis underperformed compared to the Democrats’ governor nominee in 2010. Davis’ own state Senate seat went to Konni Burton, a pro-life Tea Party Republican. Statewide, the Democrats suffered yet another in a long string of deserved defeats.
But Battleground Texas wants you to know that they’re still there, ready to soak up more money if you’re of a mind to give it to them.
Talk about living in the past. Whatever “fire lost” has nothing to do with Ann Richards, who was the last Democrat governor of Texas. She got bounced out after one term — in 1994. A whole generation of Texans has grown up since then. Perhaps BGTX should offer engraved plaques commemorating the Democrats’ decades of failure here. While Richards was fond of posing with shotguns, today’s Texas Democrats are as rabidly anti-Second Amendment as their national counterparts. That image or Richards serves to expose how far the Democrats have followed failure in the years since she left office. A radical liberal in many ways, Richards still wasn’t as radical as many of today’s Texas Democrats. They lose, and their bright idea is to lurch even farther to the left.
Now they want Texas liberals to sacrifice some of their Christmas to pay for yet more BGTX failure. That’s worth a chuckle.
Former police Officer Darren Wilson has to move between safe houses, and despite the fact that he is no longer a police officer in Ferguson, MO, the police union is providing him personal security.
That’s thanks to the continued rabble rousing against him by Al Sharpton, and by President Barack Obama’s irresponsible actions this week.
Jim Pasco, executive director of the national Fraternal Order of Police, said local FOP members have been voluntarily providing Wilson’s security that has included their involvement in shuttling the officer among undisclosed locations since his involvement in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown.
“I don’t know how he can live a normal life,” Pasco said, adding that his “days as a cop are over.”
“We’ll work with him as long as necessary,” he said.
That’s likely to be a long time. If the furor dies down, rest assured that someone will stir it back up for political gain.
Sharpton et al claim that since a grand jury declined to indict him, Wilson faces no repercussions for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown on August 9. Like the “hands up, don’t shoot” claim regarding Brown’s actions, that’s obviously a lie — just one of many in the notorious career of the political preacher.
Christmas is on the way, and just prior to Thanksgiving, many in Ferguson, MO have little to be thankful for and Christmas looks bleak. Rioters burned their businesses and destroyed their jobs, over a story that has turned out to be a lie.
Those burned businesses represent lost income for the city’s working residents, lost tax revenue for the city, and lost confidence in law and order that could take decades to rebuild.
But according to the Daily Signal, a local Tea Party group is stepping up to help out.
That’s where Bill Hennessy, a founder of the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition, hopes to help.
Hennessy drafted a list of eight ideas to save Christmas in Ferguson and help DuBose and other business owners and employees.
“Who got hurt last night?” he wrote on his blog Tuesday. “1. People who own businesses. people who work at businesses. 3. People who rely on businesses.” He continued:
Time is short. The people affected by last night’s riots need help rebuilding and jobs right now. While I don’t have complete plans, I can throw out eight ideas. Please make one of these come to life.
“We cannot rely on government — government is the problem, not the solution,” he wrote. “We have to rely on ourselves.”
So he tossed out some ideas, and people are responding.
“The goal is to let everyone in the area know that those places are open and to generate commerce in the area,” he said. “A lot of them are very small. … The little shops are left on their own.”
More than 40 residents affiliated with the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition shopped in Ferguson during the buycott.
Natalie Dubose, the black entrepreneur whose cake shop burned in the riot, has been crowdfunded by people from all over the country with enough funds to rebuild her shop and with it, her dreams.
Given the amount of damage it’s not a lot, but it’s a start, and it’s a million times more positive than anything Al Sharpton has ever done. While he stokes the flames of conflict, it’s the villified Tea Party that is doing something good. Which, for anyone familiar with either Sharpton or the Tea Party, is no surprise at all.
WH Spox: When Obama Said He Changed Immigration Law, He Didn’t Really Mean That He’d Changed Immigration Law
National Journal’s Major Garrett asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest a simple question during today’s press conference: Just what did President Obama mean last week when he told some hecklers that he had just changed immigration law?
“Did the president misspeak in a moment of a sort of a passion to try to calm the crowd,” Garrett asked regarding last week’s admission,”or does he fundamentally and do you fundamentally believe that he has taken action to change the law?”
The trap in that question: Obama has previously admitted, many times, that presidents cannot unilaterally change laws.
Earnest responded: “I think he was speaking colloquially…”
Garrett reminded Earnest that Obama told the hecklers “I just took action to change the law.”
And Earnest danced: “I think that he was speaking…colloquially there.”
The word Earnest is looking for is “confessionally.” Obama had publicly confessed to breaking the law.
So here’s the setting. It’s 1983. Filming on Return of the Jedi has wrapped up that year and the film, the final in the original Star Wars trilogy, is a huge hit. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker is a global star.
There is already speculation that creator/director George Lucas is working on prequels and sequels to the trilogy that Jedi completed. The prequels waited a long while but debuted in 1999 with The Phantom Menace.
In the 1983 talk show clip below, Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker casually mentions a discussion that he had recently had with Lucas.
“He at one time said, ‘Would you consider playing an Obi-Wan type character handing Excalibur down to the next generation?’” Hamill says Lucas asked him.
“I said ‘When would that be?’ and at the time he said, ‘Oh, around 2011.’”
Lucas was only about four years off. Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens comes out a year from now. Hamill/Skywalker is in the film, but not in a starring role.
Disney announced the film just one year off from Lucas’ prediction, in October 2012.
PJM special correspondent Cathie Adams is covering the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru this week.
As the conference gets underway, Adams is taking in the sights and sending them to us. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
Outside the conference hall, this odd cloudy sheep greets attendees.
Apparently the UN favors nebulous sheeple over thinking people.
The UN also favors trees. Weird trees. With a person aboard.
And…bugs. Take a close look at the bottom of the pedestal holding up the bugworld sculpture below.
Message: We’re doomed but the bugs will rise after us.
According to NOLA.com, Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu is running well behind of challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy ahead of this month’s runoff.
The number of people who cast their ballots early in Louisiana dropped off from the Nov. 4 primary election to the Dec. 6 runoff election in every statewide category except one: registered Republican voters.
About 85,900 registered Republicans took advantage of early voting for the Dec. 6 runoff, which was held during the week leading up Thanksgiving, as well as Saturday. That’s almost 3,000 more than the number of people who voted early for the Nov. 4 election, and it amounts to a 4 percent bump in early voting overall from a month ago.
Louisiana’s Republicans are enthusiastic, Democrats are all but writing their chances off.
Landrieu finished ahead in the “jungle primary” on Nov. 4 but she trails in the less crowded, two-horse runoff race. Her Keystone pipeline gambit failed, exposing the fact that she has very little influence with her own party, which will not control the Senate come January.
On Sunday, a handful of St. Louis Rams players entered the game mimicking the Ferguson “hands up, don’t shoot” protest.
The gesture is clearly a political statement intended to signal solidarity with the Ferguson protesters, who continue to insist that Michael Brown had his hands up to surrender when police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him on August 9. Witness testimony plus forensic evidence say that Brown started an altercation with Wilson and tried to grab the officer’s gun. Brown was shot when he charged at the officer.
The NFL says that the Rams players will not face any disciplinary action for making a political statement while they were in uniform.
But the NFL isn’t always so tolerant of players making personal statements. Earlier this season, now benched Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was wearing a T-shirt that said “Know Jesus, Know Peace” just ahead of a post-game press conference. RG3 is a graduate of Baylor University and an outspoken Christian.
Griffin flipped his T-shirt inside-out moments before the presser, and there were claims at the time that the NFL had forced him to make the change. An NFL spokesman denied forcing Griffin to change his shirt, but did point out that players can face a fine for wearing clothing that makes a personal statement on game days. So the threat of discipline was in the air, and RG3 responded to it.
The Rams players made a personal statement on network TV while in uniform, as they emerged to play their game versus the Oakland Raiders. But the NFL says that they will face no fines or any other disciplinary action.
Russell Brand, English communist comic who hates corporations even while they make him rich, has been protesting corporations making profits in London. Huffington Post, a corporation that has made its namesake even richer than she already was, has been dutifully reporting on the anarchic proceedings.
A reporter for Channel 4 London did something daring. He pointed out to Brand that he’s rich enough to have property in London. Brand didn’t like that. At all. The action comes at the :39 mark, when the reporter asks Brand “How much did you pay for your place?” Brand responds angrily, which is ironically funny, and tells the reporter what his job is, which is even funnier.
The very rich comic says that “profit is a dirty word” and has called for a massive redistribution of wealth. Just, not his wealth.
PJTV’s Michelle Fields: Are Climate Change Hypocrites Leonardo DiCaprio and Senator Bernie Sanders Out of Touch with Reality? (Video)
h/t Right Scoop
Iconic comic Bill Cosby resigned today from the Temple University Board of Trustees.
Cosby’s resignation follows weeks of building claims that he allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted numerous women across several decades spanning most of his illustrious entertainment career.
The accusations all come years after the attacks are alleged to have happened, and long after the statute of limitations has expired wherever they are said to have occurred. So he has not been arrested on any of the charges, nor will he ever be. Cosby has been subjected to a feeding frenzy, about which he has mostly refused to comment, except to label it all “innuendo” that he does not have to address.
Cosby has continued to perform his stand-up routine to packed houses and pleased crowds, while his lawyer calls the stories “fantastical.”
The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity.
These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.
Lawsuits are filed against people in the public eye every day. There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege they had been sexually assaulted.
This situation is an unprecedented example of the media’s breakneck rush to run stories without any corroboration or adherence to traditional journalistic standards. Over and over again, we have refuted these new unsubstantiated stories with documentary evidence, only to have a new uncorroborated story crop up out of the woodwork. When will it end?
It is long past time for this media vilification of Mr. Cosby to stop.
Cosby was America’s favorite dad for decades. The Cosby Show led TV ratings from 1985 to 1990 and was never out of the top 20 during its 8-year run. Long before he played Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, Cosby was Fat Albert on Saturday morning cartoons, and long before that, he was arguably America’s most popular and most reliably family-0riented comic. In 1965 the Temple dropout was the first black lead on a network show, I Spy. Cosby won three Emmys for his work on that series. His 1983 HBO concert film, Bill Cosby: Himself, is still one of the most successful and iconic comedy specials in cable history. It’s still laugh-out-loud funny, and clean enough for the whole family to watch.
As himself, as Moses in a hilarious comedy bit, as the wise Dr. Huxtable, the 77-year-old Cosby became one of the most trusted celebrities in America. But if the stories are true, no one should have ever trusted him. The stories don’t square at all with the man we all thought we knew.
The question is, are the stories true? The accusations first surfaced in 2005 when Andrea Constand accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting her a year prior. She met Cosby at Temple in 2002. She says Cosby assaulted her in his Philadelphia home in 2004, the same year that Cosby started speaking out about parenting and family in the black community in a way that rankled many. Constand first went to the police, who believed her but declined to file charges due to lack of evidence. More than 13 alleged victims were reportedly set to testify against Cosby of similar abuse, but Constand settled the civil case out of court on undisclosed terms in 2006, and those witnesses disappeared.
Some of those and more accusers have come forward since comedian Hannibal Buress mentioned them in his comedy routine in October. There may be more than 20 accusers now.
The stories that Andrea Constand, Tamara Green, Beth Ferrier, Joan Tarshis, Victoria Valentino, Barbara Bowman and others tell differ in locations but are similar, and are similar to a comedy riff he did on his 1969 comedy album — a riff about drugging women with Spanish Fly.
New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson wrote a Facebook post on Nov. 25 about Ferguson. It went viral, for a whole lot of reasons, but mainly how he chose to end it:
I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.
Watson appeared on MSNBC today and elaborated on the post. Host Ronan Farrow asked him about government response to racial issues, and the three meetings about Ferguson that President Obama will have at the White House today. Watson said that government cannot solve the problem.
“I think there is only so much that a government can do, when it comes to race issues,” Watson said. “There are questions of law that the government can enact and put things in place. As I mentioned in my post, it’s a hard issue.
“I think that when it comes down to it, we have this thing called sin in our heart that makes us prejudiced and lash out at people and treat people wrong. No matter if you are are white or black, we have this basic issue that can only be fixed by the blood of Christ. That’s my view on it. We can do as much as we want from a government standpoint and change laws and put people through training and all those things are well and good, but the issue of sin still remains, until we deal with it.”
Rosie O’Donnell is “impossible to deal with,” say View insiders who are talking to TMZ.
Among the complaints about the 52-year-old personality is that she is a ‘malcontent’ who is ‘bringing down’ the show.
And with the ratings for the afternoon chat fest on a steady decline, no one wants to put up with her reportedly unpleasant behavior.
O’Donnell’s reported bad attitude allegedly comes from her unhappiness that she is not in charge of the hosts. Rather it is Whoopi Goldberg who is the key ‘moderator.’
‘She is impossible to deal with,’ an insider told TMZ. ‘She is rude both on and off camera.’
What exactly does O’Donnell bring to the show, or any show? She isn’t funny, she’s too ignorant and hard-headed to be insightful, and it’s not like she’s blessed with an obvious TV presence. She’s a nutball 9-11 truther. Honestly, Rosie is pretty much a surly, mean train wreck — and that’s obvious from thousands of miles away. Can you imagine working with her day in and day out?
It was 13 years ago today that I started my first little blog, JunkYardBlog. It was a hobby then, a sketch pad, and a way to get thoughts and ideas about the new war out of my head and channeled toward something hopeful and hopefully productive.
Glenn Reynolds was my inspiration. The Blogfather still is. His Instapundit site was the first blog I ever read, and his way of connecting the world in real time as we all staggered and stood after 9-11 was unique and incredible. He ran rings around the mainstream media, now the legacy media really, and still does. His and other blogs are testament to the truth embedded in Serenity: You can’t stop the signal. Drudge, another inspiration for me to start blogging, is testament to that every single day.
Blogging has taken me to some amazing places — from Blogspot to Movable Type to WordPress, producing Vent and blogging at Hot Air alongside Allahpundit, a trip to Baghdad, running around CPAC as Michelle Malkin’s lone entourage, producing the Laura Ingraham Show, and PJM and PJTV and this Tatler, which has been my home for four years now. I’ve made a huge number of friends over the years too.
Blogging has changed quite a bit over 13 years. When it first began, in the wake of 9-11 for political blogging, you could actually have an exchange of ideas from right to left and back and forth. There was actual discussion and reality usually mattered more than spin. Now it’s perpetual trench warfare and too many calls for getting people fired for disagreeing with the current and always morphing diktats of the speech police. But along with that, the right has a whole vibrant online media now that did’t exist before. PJM/PJTV are a huge and vital part of that. It’s a different media world now than it was before 9-11, better from the perspective of breaking the left’s stranglehold on what is and is not a story. Obama’s FCC and net neutrality move may curb that if they’re allowed to proceed. He has two years left to build his “legacy.”
I’d just like to thank everyone here at PJM for placing their faith in me, I hope I’ve repaid it. I’d also like to thank you for reading my scribbles across these years.
Now, who was supposed to bring the cake?
“Islamophobia.” That, says Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is the real problem. It’s to blame for everything.
He said extremist groups like IS, responsible for beheading prisoners, enslaving captives, and promising to wipe out religious minorities like Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, are a consequence of “the rise of Islamophobia” in the West.
“Those who feel defeated, wronged, oppressed and abandoned… can become open to being exploited by terror organizations,” the Turkish leader said.
While the Pope called for conciliation and dialogue, President Erdogan took a swipe at the West, blaming it for many of the problems in the Middle East.
On Thursday Erdogan said “foreigners” do not like Muslims and are only interested in exploiting the Middle East’s natural resources.
“Foreigners love oil, gold, diamonds and the cheap labor force of the Islamic world. They like the conflicts, fights and quarrels of the Middle East. Believe me, they don’t like us. They look like friends, but they want us dead, they like seeing our children die,” said Erdogan, whose abrasive style confounds the West but has endeared him to millions of Muslims, not just in Turkey but across the Middle East.
The president repeated his complaint about growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the West when the Pope turned up at his sprawling palace on Friday.
Erdogan told Francis that there was a “very serious and rapid trend of growth in racism, discrimination, and hatred of others, especially Islamophobia in the West.”
The Western media and left are feeding an Islamist his anti-Western talking points now.
Erdogan is signaling many things with these comments, among them, that his support in the Russia vs. America contest is up for grabs. He is lending token support for fighting ISIS, allowing the US to use Turkish bases for drones but little else, but he is also telling Putin that he can pivot away from the US and from NATO, of which Turkey is a key member, and become neutral to Moscow-leaning.
Should the EU decide against Turkey’s membership, Erdogan could join Moscow outright.
A few St. Louis Rams players opened their home game versus the hapless Oakland Raiders Sunday with an imitation of the Ferguson “hands up, don’t shoot” protest.
The initial claim that 18-year-old Michael Brown had his hands up in a surrender pose when police Officer Darren Wilson shot him has been thoroughly debunked. It turned out that Brown had strong arm robbed a convenience store just prior to the August 9th shooting, and witness testimony plus forensic evidence say that Brown was killed after a physical altercation with Officer Wilson, during which Brown tried to get the officer’s service firearm. Brown also charged Wilson during the confrontation, and did not surrender. Brown had also been using marijuana heavily in the hours before the fatal moment. The “hands up” protests now ignore reality.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association immediately condemned the Rams players who mimicked the Ferguson protesters.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.
“Five members of the Rams entered the field today exhibiting the “hands-up-don’t-shoot” pose that has been adopted by protestors who accused Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson of murdering Michael Brown. The gesture has become synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson, according to some now-discredited witnesses, gunned him down in cold blood.
“SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda said, “now that the evidence is in and Officer Wilson’s account has been verified by physical and ballistic evidence as well as eye-witness testimony, which led the grand jury to conclude that no probable cause existed that Wilson engaged in any wrongdoing, it is unthinkable that hometown athletes would so publicly perpetuate a narrative that has been disproven over-and-over again.”
NFL players, like everyone else, have the right to make political statements, though not necessarily in uniform. The Rams organization says it was unaware of the gesture before the game. The NFL may fine the Rams players a token amount of money to rebuke them.
The bottom line, though, is that in the Brown case the “hands up” gesture is built on a lie. Brown’s poor choices — robbing the store, using drugs, walking down the middle of the street, engaging in an altercation with a police officer — ended in his death. It wasn’t racism or police brutality or the militarization of police at work in this case. It was fatally poor decision-making, followed by a big lie.
That lie is causing unrest around the country, and has the likes of Louis Farrakhan threatening to “tear this goddamn country apart” and exhorting black parents to teach their children how to make Molotov cocktails. That is a terrorist threat by just about any definition.
If New York’s socialist Mayor Bill De Blasio gets his way, the city’s iconic horse drawn carriages will soon go extinct. As a candidate, De Blasio promised to eradicate the handsome cabs from the city’s streets, and today he has offered a bill to the city council that would do that.
The De Blasio bill bans all horse drawn carriages in New York, destroying an industry that generates romance along with about $19 million per year. The bill would also allow carriage drivers and stable tenders to obtain “green” cab operators licenses free of charge, and retrain them. Horses would have to be sold off, but could not be sold to slaughterhouses. If the bill passes, the horse drawn carriage industry would disappear from New York in 2016.
While De Blasio champions abolishing horse drawn carriages mainly as an animal rights move, there may be a more mundane motivation: Money. The carriage industry’s stables occupy land that real estate developers want. Robert Stacy McCain reported on that earlier this year.
The bad guy in this drama, according to the carriage drivers, is Steve Nislick, former chief executive officer of a New Jersey-based real-estate development company, Edison Properties.* The company “employs legions of lobbyists to influence city decisions on real estate and zoning in its favor,” journalist Michael Gross reported in 2009, pointing out that two of Edison’s businesses “have multiple locations in the same Far West Midtown neighborhood as the stables where the Central Park horses are housed.” An anti-carriage pamphlet Nislick circulated in 2008 made this interesting observation: “Currently, the stables consist of 64,000 square feet of valuable real estate on lots that could accomodate up to 150,000 square feet of development. These lots could be sold for new development.”
More at the link.
Viewed through the real estate lens, then, abolition of the horse drawn carriage industry is another form of the eminent domain issue that has percolated in American property rights politics for the past decade or so. Only, instead of the city simply seizing private property outright by naked force to hand to a private (tax generating) corporation, as in the infamous Kelo case, it is abolishing a whole industry in order to make certain valuable real estate available. The same ends are at work in both — forcing a changing of ownership to generate more tax revenue, which De Blasio and company will then spend on their big government schemes.
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens is destined to hit theaters in December 2015. It will be the first J.J. Abrams Star Wars launch, and the first full live-action SW movie made since Disney bought the franchise from creator George Lucas.
In case you missed it, over the weekend the official teaser trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens was released. And here it is.
It took less than 24 hours for that teaser to be turned out in Lego.
I have to admit, the Lego troopers look pretty good.
The movie’s international teaser also rolled out, and here it is. One of its key moments: The off-screen voice of Han Solo asks if there’s “room in this battle for an old war horse?”
Of course there is.
Harrison Ford was injured during the production of SW7. The “old war horse” broke his leg on the set, and filming had to be delayed while he recuperated.
That thing appears to be the Star Wars version of a greatsword.
The teasers and trailers for The Force Awakens look amazing. But I’m approaching the new SW films from the perspective of an adult who was burned by great teasers for The Phantom Menace. Even though it’s a new era, and Lucas isn’t directing, cautious pessimism is the way to go.