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December 19, 2014

Oh Boy: Woman Who Started #IllRideWithYou Viral Meme Admits... It Pretty Much Didn't Happen, and Was Mostly Imagined

—Ace

After the Sheik killed two people, the media turned to praising Islam and highlighting the plight of Muslims in the West, because that's what we always do after a Muslim kills people in the West: We praise Islam, and then worry about what hypothetical crimes Westerners may commit against Muslims.

Kinda skipping over the actual crimes a Muslim has just committed against Westerners.

By the way: That's kind of a two-fer for al Qaeda and ISIS, isn't it? Not only do they get the terrorism and murder and fear they seek, but then they get the Western media praising Islam as the world's most peaceful faith in the aftermath of the slaughter, don't they?

Do we want to give them free two-fers like this?

Anyway, so after a bloodthirsty sheikh (is there any other kind?) murders two people and holds a coffee shop hostage, of course we have to turn to talking about how awful Westerners are to Muslim, because, obviously, that's the storyline when two non-Muslims lay dead, murdered by a Muslim.

But it turns out the story the media forced on us for twenty-four hours was pretty much a lie.

The story went like this: A woman saw a Muslim woman on a subway car. The non-Muslim people were staring at the Muslim woman hatefully, because we're full of hate, even though we don't seem to murder Muslims, but instead seem to be murdered by Muslims, but apparently we're hateful for occasionally noticing that.

So the evil Christians are staring at the Muslim woman, making her uncomfortable, until at last she removes her hajib, in a silent, shameful submission to the hateful glares of the cultural-imperialist Christians.

And then the Muslim woman gets off the subway, because she's still hounded by hate, but this nice progressive woman gets off with her, in a show of solidarity, and says to her: "I'll ride with you."

And the media read their twitter accounts on the air for 24 hours, repeating this wonderful story.

Small problem: It's not true. It never was. The woman who originally reported the story on FaceBook now "confesses" (her words) that many details were simply invented, or, as she calls it, "editorialized."

Confession time. In my Facebook status, I editorialised. She wasn't sitting next to me. She was a bit away, towards the other end of the carriage. Like most people she had been looking at her phone, then slowly started to unpin her scarf.

Tears sprang to my eyes and I was struck by feelings of anger, sadness and bitterness. It was in this mindset that I punched the first status update into my phone, hoping my friends would take a moment to think about the victims of the siege who were not in the cafe.

I spent the rest of the journey staring--rudely--at the back of her uncovered head. I wanted to talk to her, but had no idea what to say. Anything that came to mind seemed tokenistic and patronising. She might not even be Muslim or she could have just been warm! Besides, I was in the “quiet carriage” where even conversation is banned.

By sheer fluke, we got off at the same station, and some part of me decided saying something would be a good thing. Rather than quiz her about her choice of clothing, I thought if I simply offered to walk her to her destination, it might help.

It’s hard to describe the moment when humans, and complete strangers, have a conversation with no words. I wanted to tell her I was sorry for so many things—for overstepping the mark, for making assumptions about a complete stranger and for belonging to a culture where racism was part of her everyday experience.

But none of those words came out, and our near silent encounter was over in a moment.

My second status was written as a heartbreaking postscript to my first. While the woman appeared to appreciate my gesture, we had both left defeated and deflated. What good is one small action against an avalanche of ignorance?

So:

1. She's not sure the woman was Muslim.

2. She's not sure the woman took off her scarf due to the glares of hatred. She notes it could have just been hot. She also now says the woman had mostly been looking at her phone -- and it's hard to notice the scorn of the crowd when you're reading FaceBook on your phone.

3. She never actually said, "I'll ride with you" to the woman. In fact, she never said anything to her. She just wanted to say it.


But whatever.

The media doesn't do news. The media does narratives.

They're easier and they tell the story the media wants to tell, whether they're true or not.

Posted by Ace at 02:47 PM Comments



Obama Holds a Press Conference In Order to Feel the Sustaining Adulation of His Devotees

—Ace

I don't know what he'll be talking about, though I imagine he wants to be praised for his Cuba executive action.

Posted by Ace at 01:45 PM Comments



Weird: Five Days After Alleged Rape, Jackie Seems to Have Sent a Romantic Email to Ryan

—Ace

This is complicated, but the email sent on Oct 3, 2012 was sent by Jackie's Mystery Date, who had the unlikely name of "Haven Monaghan." "Haven" (ahem) was supposedly forwarding an email of Jackie's to Ryan, an email in which she gushed about him.

Haven -- who had supposedly participated in a seven-man gang rape -- appears to be trying to act as a matchmaker here, letting Ryan know how very much Jackie likes him.

Now "Haven Monaghan" is very unlikely to actually exist. There is no student at UVA with that name. Nor, I would bet, in the physical world. Haven seems to be a Catfish account of Jackie's where she pretends to be this hot guy who's totally into Jackie (but who wants Ryan to know that Jackie's totally into him).

The really terrible thing is the date the email was sent -- October 3, 2012. This would be five days after the gang rape allegedly occurred.

Five days after a terrible gang-rape, and Jackie is screwing around with fake Magic Boyfriends to get another boy interested in here?

It does not seem psychologically plausible that a woman coming off a brutal, forcible gang rape would turn to silly romantic deceptions to land her man. I would think that she would have no amorous feelings for at least a few weeks (if not a few months; if not a few years).

It actually gets weirder -- and maybe even worse for Jackie. Because the gushing email she wrote about Ryan turns out to have been cribbed nearly word for word from an effusive proclamation of love ripped off from Dawson's Creek.

Here's Jackie talking about Ryan (which "Haven" then forwards to Ryan, to let him know how much Jackie likes him):

Ryan is fine. Ryan's great, actually. I mean he's smart. He's attractive. He’s funny. He’s a scaredy cat. If you creep up behind him, he'll jump right out of his skin. It's pretty amusing. He's honest. He always calls them just like he sees them. You can constantly count on getting the truth from Ryan, even if the truth hurts. He has the most incredible taste in music. He's like this walking, talking music library. And he understands how truly important music is. He's stubborn. He has this regimented way about him that can be so frustrating sometimes. And sometimes the things he says hurt. But he’s a really, really good friend. And loyal to a fault. He's realistic about everything. And I'm a dreamer so I mean, it’s good to have somebody like that in my life. He's one of my best friends here, you know? He’s more than that...he's everything.



And here's James van der Biek on Dawson's Creek, talking about Katie Holmes:

She's great. I mean, she's smart, she's beautiful, she's funny, she's a big ol' scaredy cat. If you creep up from behind her she’ll jump out of her skin. It's pretty amusing. She's honest. She always calls them just like she sees them. You can always count on getting the truth from Joey even if the truth hurts. She’s stubborn. We fight a lot. She can be so frustrating sometimes. But she's a really, really, good friend. I know her to a fault. She believes in me. And I'm a dreamer so it's so good to have somebody like that in my life. If she goes away, I don't know what I'm going to do. I mean, she's my best friend, you know? She’s more than that. She’s everything.

Sally Kohn immediately called James van der Biek a rapist.

Posted by Ace at 12:51 PM Comments

BREAKING: FBI Says North Korea Responsible For Sony Hack

—DrewM.

Suspected, now confirmed.

"The FBI has determined that the intrusion into SPE’s network consisted of the deployment of destructive malware and the theft of proprietary information as well as employees’ personally identifiable information and confidential communications. The attacks also rendered thousands of SPE’s computers inoperable, forced SPE to take its entire computer network offline, and significantly disrupted the company’s business operations."

...

The FBI said the "destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets it apart. North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves. Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior."

As Ace has pointed out several times, one of Obama's favorite tools for dealing with inconvenient events is to ignore them. If he doesn't talk about them, they didn't happen. Think of our new war in Iraq. We keep sending troops and increasing air attacks on ISIL but he just doesn't say much about it hoping no one notices he's doing it.

Well, the FBI saying North Korea just wiped out the electronic infrastructure of a US based company (Sony's parent company is in Japan but this division is US based) in order to prevent Americans from exercising their constitutional rights, would seem to preclude ignoring it.

Obama is giving his year-end press event this afternoon before heading off on vacation. He's going to have to lay out some sort of response.

Unfortunately, there don't seem to be many good options.

Related, the hackers sent Sony a note promising not to hurt them anymore. Yeah, good luck with that.

Posted by DrewM. at 12:05 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


P.S. Krøyer: "Fishermen Hauling the Net on Skagen's North Beach" (1883)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:33 AM Comments

Morning Thread (12-19-2014)

—Andy

Did you surrender to the Communists yet, daddy?

Posted by Andy at 05:59 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (12-18-2014) - Six Shopping Days Left Edition

—Maetenloch

Quote of the Day

One Cuban young woman complains to another. "He lied to me! He told me that he was a luggage handler! It turns out, he's nothing but a neurosurgeon!"

-- Cuban joke (explanation here)

Comment of the Day

You know, I never thought that gay marriage would be the way fascism would come to America. People are doing all sorts of batshit crazy things in its name.

I'm old enough to remember when people like Harvey Milk were against the whole idea and considered anybody who brought it up to be bigoted and homophobic.

Posted by: AmishDude at December 18, 2014 07:00 PM (L2xDv)

U Michigan Department Chair: We Should 'Hate Republicans'

Not just disagree with or look down upon but actually hate them personally. Note that she posted this unashamedly, expects to receive accolades for it and fears no professional repercussions.

"I hate Republicans," communications department chairwoman and professor Susan J. Douglas boldly declares in the opening of the piece. "I can't stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal 'personhood.'"

She writes that although the fact that her "tendency is to blame the Republicans . . . may seem biased," historical and psychological research back her up, and so it's basically actually a fact that Republicans are bad!

Reason #77 that the modern university system needs to be radically reformed and defunded or simply ended.

By the way here is the face of hate:

profhatephoto_43

Why Did Paramount Ban Showing Team America?

Well this might be one reason:

According to IMDB, Team America, while distributed by Paramount, was produced by Scott Rudin, the embattled (and uber-manic) Sony Pictures executive being eaten alive by the North Korean hacking scandal.  I wonder if he put in a frantic call to Paramount to have Team America banned as a substitute for the latest anti-North Korean movie whose production he led. (If so, the Norks will likely let us know in their next round of hacks.)

...A couple of years after Team America snuck past Paramount's leftwing censors, Mark Steyn had Hollywood's number down pat: "Hollywood prefers to make 'controversial' films about controversies that are settled, rousing itself to fight battles long won"

upstage-alec-baldwin17

Also  One Major Reason North Korea Can Dictate What Movies We Watch in the United States: Tort Law

Welcome Our First Mostly Jewish Half-Black All Leftist President

obamaanddavid_539_332_c1_539_332_c1

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:28 PM Comments

What Exactly Has North Korea Done That Progressives Don't Do Every Single Day?

—Ace

A professor blogged a criticism of a teaching assistant, who'd discussed gay marriage in her classroom, but then shut down all dissent, claiming dissent to be illegitimate (per his claim).

Result? The university is "investigating" him and has suspended him from all teaching duties.

arquette University has suspended with pay and barred from campus the tenured professor who criticized a graduate student instructor in a personal blog, pending an investigation into his conduct.

John McAdams, an associate professor of political science at Marquette, last month wrote a controversial blog post accusing a teaching assistant in philosophy of shutting down a classroom conversation on gay marriage based on her own political beliefs. He based the post on a recording secretly made by a disgruntled student who wished that the instructor, Cheryl Abbate, had spent more time on the topic of gay marriage, which the student opposed. McAdams said Abbate, in not allowing a prolonged conversation about gay marriage, was "using a tactic typical among liberals," in which opinions they disagree with "are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed 'offensive' and need to be shut up."

...

McAdams shared the text of an email he received from Richard Holz, dean of the Helen Way Klinger College of Arts and Sciences.

"The university is continuing to review your conduct and during this period -- and until further notice -- you are relieved of all teaching duties and all other faculty activities, including, but not limited to, advising, committee work, faculty meetings and any activity that would involve your interaction with Marquette students, faculty and staff," Holz wrote.

Apparently the academy is no longer the place for academic debate.

Posted by Ace at 06:47 PM Comments

The Year in Outrage

—Ace

I just picked on Slate but this is pretty terrific: every social media outrage of 2014.

Including some that weren't really outrages, because, like, they had to fill the whole calendar.

Still, some of those are fun. To mock the social media outrage mongers, Patton Oswald began claiming to have deleted offensive tweets he'd posted. The gag was that he had not posted the allegedly offensive tweets at all.


Meanwhile, from our friends at Free Beacon, here are our friends at MSNBC, bein' silly all 2014.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 05:42 PM Comments

Byron York: No, Ted Cruz Did Not Let Harry Reid Confirm Appointments That Otherwise Would Have Failed

—Ace

A few weeks ago, I noted that if an "expert" is not on your side, he's not a benefit to you. In fact, he's a threat.

What I mean by that is simple: An expert who's actually on your side can provide you with useful and true information and advice.

An expert who's not on your side can use his claimed expertise to bully you into accepting lies as the truth.

Witness Jonathan Gruber and all the alleged "Health Care Wonks" of the press who lied the public down the river.

Last week, Establishment types began claiming that Ted Cruz, by seeking a vote on immigration, somehow invoked a little-understood part of Senate rules which then permitted Harry Reid to ram through a bunch of stalled progressive appointments.

It was not quite explained how this rule operated or how Cruz had activated it.

The whole story relied on the bullying power of asserted expertise: Trust us, we understand Senate rules, and, while they're too complicated to explain right now, you'll just have to take our word for it that Ted Cruz permitted Harry Reid to do something he was otherwise powerless to do.

I don't like being told to just take things on faith, by anybody. I have not liked doing so since I was a child. Since I was a child, I rejected most claims of authority about what conclusions I should draw. If I don't understand the logic and facts which lead to the conclusion, I don't accept the conclusion as true, no matter how passionately the expert demands I take his word about things.

Which is not the same as saying I reject the conclusion as false: If I don't understand things, I can't say the conclusion is false, just as I can't accept it as true. I myself can draw no conclusions about it. I can cite the conclusions of experts, and even trust the conclusions of experts, but what I cannot do is take the conclusions of experts to be my own conclusions.

A man who's ignorant of the basic facts and principles in play does not get to have conclusions; he can only regurgitate the conclusions of others.

At any rate, I was skeptical of this claim not for any especially strong reason, but just due to pocket (fallible) heuristics, like: The people claiming this did not offer up a detailed explanation, permitting me to follow their logic and check their claimed facts. They just wanted me to Accept It.

People who have the truth on their side have no need of demanding I Accept things, given that they can prove them.

I also sort of didn't like the shabby sorts of people making the claim, like John McCain, who I know fancies himself as honorable and true but in fact is a low, sleazy liar in pursuit of his political goals. (See: "Build the dang fence.")

It's also the sort of Too Good to Be True/Proves All of the Arguments We've Always Been Making sort of claim. I've generally found these sorts of claims to be false.

Anyway, I didn't have strong reasons to doubt it, but I did have some reasons.

But, not having any real insight into the truth here, I refrained from writing about it.

That wasn't just me being lazy. I just get so fucking sick of having to offer Strong Opinions on things about which I know nearly nothing. Sometimes I like to implicitly confess my ignorance and not write about things about which I know nothing.

And now Byron York, someone I tend to trust a lot, has looked into it, and his conclusion is this was all nonsense.

Specifically, the accusation is that Cruz's initiative created a break in the consideration of the spending bill that allowed Reid to take the opportunity to set in motion the procedures necessary to get the confirmations underway. By doing that on Saturday, instead of having to wait until after the spending bill was passed on, say, Monday, the thinking goes, Reid got to pass more nominations than he might otherwise have. And of course, given that Democrats are about to give up control of the Senate, this was Reid's last chance to confirm Obama's nominees on his own.

There are four problems with the anti-Cruz scenario. The first is that on Dec. 9, days before Cruz threw a wrench in the works, Reid signaled his intention to confirm all of Obama's remaining nominees, no matter how long it took.

"You know, maybe we'll have to work the weekend and maybe even work next week," Reid told reporters. "I know that's tough duty for everybody, but we may have to do that. We have a number of nominations we're going to do. We're going to -- we have nine judges left. We're going to do those. We're going to do [Surgeon General nominee] Dr. [Vivek] Murthy. We're going to do the head of Immigration Naturalization, ICE. Social Security administrator and other things. I've given a list to the Republicans and it's up to them to decide how long we stay."

Does that sound like a majority leader who is ready to pack up and go home without passing his party's nominees? No, it doesn't. And that leads to the second problem with the scenario, which is the nature of Harry Reid himself. It is simply impossible to believe that the man who made the Senate pass Obamacare on Christmas Eve would abandon the president's nominees out of the goodness of his heart so that Republican colleagues could go home to make scheduled dates at the ballet or visits with family. That is not Harry Reid's style. If Cruz had not acted, would Reid have said, 'Well, it looks like we would have to work all the way until Dec. 18 to finish these nominations, so let's just put them aside and go home and have a nice time, even though it's our party's last chance to pass them." Does anyone believe Reid would have done that?

You can read the other two points.

The best argument made for the Cruz-Ruined-Everything scenario is less persuasive. The idea is that while Senators must stay in DC to pass the CRomnibus, they could go home once that is done; so if the CRominbus passed earlier, Democrat senators might bug out of Washington to get an early start on their vacations, rather than stick around to vote on appointments.

I find this unpersuasive and silly in its speculation. First of all, we were only talking about a couple of days.

Second, there would have been Holy Hell to Pay from the leftwing blogger/activist base if Democrat Senators went on vacation instead of passing President Princess' oh-so-important progressive appointees.

I just can't think of who they have in mind, when they postulate these leftwing senators willing to use the nuclear option to get Obama's picks installed, but not leftwing enough to stick around the couple of days needed to do so.

Such people might theoretically exist, but no one's pointed to a specific senator and said, "Well, Al Franken totally loves his vacation, he would have been out of here."

Let me point out the obvious:

The Republican Establishment is very similar to the Progressive Establishment in the dim view it takes of the Tea Party, and also in the belief that it is itself "rational" and "fact-based," as opposed to those emotional, hot-headed fabulists in the Tea Party who just "make up facts to comport with their ideology" and who "just make shit up so they can yell about it on talk radio."

Let me suggest here that making up silly fantasies about Ted Cruz enabling Harry Reid to do what Harry Reid could always have done (and which he said he would do) does not convince me that the Establishment is as "fact-based" is it believes itself to be, nor as above "just making up silly partisan hokum to make people angry so they can yell about it."

In fact, it appears like The Establishment has all of these failings too. Wrapped in entitlement and arrogance, to boot.

So if The Establishment wants my vote -- and I am a gettable vote -- it has to actually act as if being "fact-based" and "above made-up nonsense smears" is something that's important to them, rather than just something they claim to be all about (as they gleefully make up silly nonsense to smear the Tea Party with).

And speaking of Joe Scarborough.

Posted by Ace at 05:01 PM Comments

Fall Out: New Regency Cancels Thriller Set in North Korea; Paramount Bans "Team America: World Police" From Theatrical Screening

—Ace

And now, the corporate cowards are in full flight.

The chilling effect of the Sony Pictures hack and terrorist threats against The Interview are reverberating. New Regency has scrapped another project that was to be set in North Korea. The untitled thriller, set up in October, was being developed by director Gore Verbinski as a star vehicle for Foxcatcher star Steve Carell. The paranoid thriller written by Steve Conrad was going to start production in March. Insiders tell me that under the current circumstances, it just makes no sense to move forward. The location won’t be transplanted. Fox declined to distribute it, per a spokesman.

I guess I understand that move -- it's show business, and if wacky midget dictators are going to tank your project, you can't make money on it, and have to walk away.

I have less understanding about Paramount's gutless appeasement, though.

The Alamo Drafthouse had planned to show Team America: World Police instead of the pulled The Interview because Texans are awesome.

But Paramount, which I guess owns the rights to Team America, is now telling Alamo Drafthouse they have no right to do that.

From the Daily Beast:

The famous Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, Capitol Theater in Cleveland, and Plaza Atlanta in Atlanta said they would screen the movie instead of The Interview but Paramount has ordered them to stop.


That is just outrageous cowardice.

Meanwhile, you can at least enjoy the scene that caused Fidget the Midget to go Full Spazz here -- Kim Jong-un's "death scene."

Oh and you won't be surprised to learn that Slate is fucking stupid and engaging in apologism for fascism.

Really, though, underneath all this not entirely unwarranted hand-wringing about bedrock American values, there’s a strong sense of someone sitting on the back of a large corporation and twisting its arm until the large corporation cries uncle. This, too, is frightening, sort of, but it should tell us that large corporations like Sony need to get their cybershit together, not that the Constitution’s in tatters and the terrorists have really, finally won. The fact that Sony chose not to release the film at all--not to VOD, DVD, VHS, or traveling hand-puppet reenactments—suggests that the calculus was less "How do we protect moviegoers while also standing up for free expression and artistic integrity" and more "Please, oh mighty lord in heaven, just make this go away." Simply put, at a certain point--given the accumulated damage in industry relationships, in corporate practices revealed, in class-action lawsuits from its own employees, in potential liability nightmares--The Interview was no longer the hill that Sony wanted to die on.

You stupid shits, that's what coercion always is -- escalating the pain (for a perfectly lawful action) until the person taking it decides they've had enough.

Slate, which is not worth the paper that people don't bother to print it on, seems to think there's some distinction between a real case of anti-free-speech censorship and this apparently shabby sort of corporate capitulation.

I mean, the party being attacked for daring to engage in free speech eventually said "I submit." Obviously then this isn't a real matter of free speech.

Real free speech battles always involve leftists talking about their peenies and gynies. Everyone knows that.

Update: Actually, If You Work For Slate, You Kind of Suck. I really hate Slate writers' default posture of being Above It All.

Note to Slate's writers: You are not "above it all." Proof of that? You work for Slate.

You are rather beneath it all, or at least beneath most of it.

There is an element of criticism which is inherently obnoxiously superior. One cannot criticize a thing without, implicitly, assuming a posture of being above that thing (or above the person who created that thing).

This is an obnoxious and unwarranted posture (how many movie critics could make a movie, or even write a short story?), but it is unavoidable, if one is to criticize at all.

But for God's sakes that doesn't mean you have to exult in it. You don't have to parade around in that unwarranted superiority.

The fact is, all of us bitchy little online critics, pedants, carpers, and snipers, all of us ankle-biters, jock-sniffers, apple-polishers, and boot-lickers -- and I include myself in this -- are rather low in the socio-economic pecking order. Pretty damn low.

And if you work at Slate -- even lower.

If we could do something else, we wouldn't be fucking pissant internet critics.

Slate's Stupid Business Model is to never admit the obvious. If it seems obvious that North Korea has committed a serious attack on Sony's Free Speech, Slate must come in and offer a #SlateTake, even if the opposite of the obvious is stupid and loathsome.

Now 10% of the time, this sort of doctrinaire counter-intuitive #SlateTake might be worth considering.

But 90% of the time it's just wrong. Because the obvious take is the correct take 90% of the time. Putin taking over Ukraine is bad for the Ukraine. That's obvious.

And a #SlateTake claiming Actually, Maybe Being Occupied by Russia Is Just What Ukraine Needs! is just stupid, prickish and prattish.

And then to package these outrageously-wrong brainfarts up with attitude -- as if being outrageously wrong is more charming when you're vomiting up unwarranted arrogance alongside it.

It's not enough to say something stupid -- no, they have to imply that other people are dumb for not thinking of the stupid #SlateTake themselves.

Only very clever people could be this determinedly stupid, their corporate credo seems to be. (And yes, Slate is a corporation: So if a hacker extorted Slate, would that not be a real first amendment issue, I wonder?)

One should not exert oneself this hard to be clever. Let the cleverness come naturally; don't force it all the time, laddies.

I'm reminded of the aphorism: The failure state of "clever" is "asshole."

This constant attitude from the silly little shits at Slate, who haven't done anything except blogposts, is repulsive.

Stop acting like you've fucking Done Something until you've actually Done Something, boys.


Posted by Ace at 03:35 PM Comments

Greta Van Sustern: Sony Was "Stupid" and "Idiots" to Make NK Movie; Should Have Known They'd Be Hacked, Threatened with 9/11-Style Terrorist Attacks

—Ace

Really?


Several points:

North Korea has never engaged in this sort of retaliation before, and they've been similarly provoked. The awful James Bond movie Die Another Day featured North Korea as a villain, and had Bond blowing up half of a North Korean brigade; Team America: World Police featured a hilarious parody of Kim Jong-il, and showed him being killed ("assassinated," I gues) at the end.

Also, when he died, the creature living inside of him -- an alien parasite, maybe, or a mutant demi-urge taking the form of an insect -- escaped. That creature inside him, representing his soul, was a cockroach.

So why would Sony know that they shouldn't make this movie?

Greta Van Sustern is just wrong here in so many ways. Her "solution" to terrorism is just to capitulate pre-emptively to potential terrorists -- Sony and all other media companies should just figure out which Evil Basket-Case Tyrannical States are willing to use terrorism as part of their PR apparatus, and make sure they never mock such countries.

So... We're not supposed to mock the most vicious regimes which are most deserving of mockery. If we self-censor, then we won't permit North Korean terrorists to censor us, I guess.

In a way I guess that's true, but in all important ways it's wrong.

It seems to me Van Sustern is demonstrating one of the most common, and stupidest, sorts of human behavior here.

Whenever a terrible setback befalls someone -- paralysis, cancer, rape, cyberterrorism by basket-case states run by midget maniacs -- human beings have a remarkably annoying, and sometimes offensive, need to moralize about the tragedy, and begin positing all the ways in which this horrific event could have been avoided.

Though usually not as overt as in Van Sustern's formulation, the suggestion is usually present: This tragedy was eminently avoidable, and the fact that it was not avoided suggests a defect, whether intellectual, moral, or characterological, on the part of the victim.

I think people do this partly due to their basic survival programming: Learn from the setbacks of others. Postulate methods of avoiding similar tragedies.

I also think they do it partly to reassure themselves so that they're not unduly frightened: People don't like accepting the fact that many dangers are very unpredictable and hence impossible, or nearly impossible, to avoid, so they are overly fond of claiming that each and every tragedy that occurs in life was eminently foreseeable and thus eminently avoidable.

It's kind of a psychological knock-on-wood reassurance.

I don't think this is true in many cases. I do not think it was so "obvious" as Van Sustern says that North Korea would of course resort to an entirely unprecedented and never-once predicted or threatened form attack.

If this was so obvious, I'm sure Ms. Van Sustern can quote herself warning of the attack's inevitability...? Or cite someone she read making that warning?

Even if that warning had come (it hadn't, but if it had), then she's just saying "We should give in to bullies and censors and terrorists because otherwise they'll make trouble."

And all this just so she call call them "idiots" and "stupid."

This is of course the really basic thing about human behavior: Humans love to discover new ways in which they are Superior to new people they had previously not realized they were superior to at all.

Somewhere in Van Sustern is a hungry ego, impatiently crying out to be fed, as there is in all of us; she sees here an opportunity to feed the crying beast, and seizes upon it.

If Van Sustern thinks it's "stupid" to provoke terrorists and bullies and censors, she should quit her job at Fox immediately, because of course Fox takes a less charitable view of ISIS, Islamofascists generally, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and all the various leftwing soft-fascism organizations than any other news company.

Is she so "stupid" to put her own safety and privacy at risk by antagonizing these people?

I guess so.

The Mewlings of Cowards: Too often I see cowardice being credited as "wisdom."

Risk-taking is good. I don't love Seth Rogen all that much, but mocking a tyrant is a good thing, even if it's a risky thing.

Perhaps Rogen was foolish to not realize it was risky.

Perhaps. But I don't know that. Why should I assume he didn't realize this was risky? Why should I assume he's stupid?

People tend to fear bravery -- to the extent they'll mock it, and the person exhibiting bravery, when he stumbles.

I hate this tendency our safe modern society has of mocking bravery and risk-taking.

"Well those idiots didn't know the safe play."

That's the sort of thing a boring, vanilla, will-never-impact-the-world coward tells himself about risk-taking people to make himself feel better about his own safe, soft decisions.

Risk-taking people usually do in fact know the risks.

They also know "the safe play" that the softer-bodied people are always demanding everyone take.

They just choose not to make the safe play. They choose, knowingly, the risky play.

I think it is toxic for society -- a poison that saps at our vitality-- for the Safe Play People's voices to be so loud, and so numerous, while so few people actually stick up for a bit of riskiness and danger.

Hey, Safe Play People: I've got news for you. No one ever accomplished anything big by sticking to the Safe Play.

So keep on hectoring and picking at anyone who dares to step out of line, if that makes you feel better about your own choices.

The people taking risks will just have to content themselves with mattering and living lives full of color and steel.


Posted by Ace at 02:01 PM Comments

How Progressivism Is Killing the Social Sciences

—Ace

The parasite kills its host. Every time.

I have had the following experience more than once: I am speaking with a professional academic who is a liberal. The subject of the underrepresentation of conservatives in academia comes up. My interlocutor admits that this is indeed a reality, but says the reason why conservatives are underrepresented in academia is because they don't want to be there, or they're just not smart enough to cut it. I say: "That's interesting. For which other underrepresented groups do you think that's true?" An uncomfortable silence follows.

I point this out not to score culture-war points, but because it's actually a serious problem...

That's why I was very gratified to read this very enlightening draft paper written by a number of social psychologists on precisely this topic, attacking the lack of political diversity in their profession and calling for reform....

They start by debunking published (and often well-publicized) social psychology findings that seem to suggest moral or intellectual superiority on the part of liberals over conservatives, which smartly serves to debunk both the notion that social psychology is bereft of conservatives because they're not smart enough to cut it, and that groupthink doesn't produce shoddy science. For example, a study that sought to show that conservatives reach their beliefs only through denying reality achieved that result by describing ideological liberal beliefs as "reality," surveying people on whether they agreed with them, and then concluding that those who disagree with them are in denial of reality -- and lo, people in that group are much more likely to be conservative! This has nothing to do with science, and yet in a field with such groupthink, it can get published in peer-reviewed journals and passed off as "science," complete with a Vox stenographic exercise at the end of the rainbow. A field where this is possible is in dire straits indeed.

That's the stupidest thing I ever heard.

"Science."

More "Science:" Hate is bad, but you can hate Republicans, because Science shows us that they are bad.

As I've said before, what really bothers me is their combination of asserted superiority and actual childishness.

A University of Michigan department chairwoman has published an article titled, "It's Okay To Hate Republicans," which will probably make all of her conservative students feel really comfortable and totally certain that they’re being graded fairly.

"I hate Republicans," communications department chairwoman and professor Susan J. Douglas boldly declares in the opening of the piece.

Communications department.

...

She writes that although the fact that her "tendency is to blame the Republicans . . . may seem biased," historical and psychological research back her up, and so it’s basically actually a fact that Republicans are bad!

...

Republicans now, she writes, are focused on the "determined vilification" of others, and have "crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all."

(Apparently, the irony of this accusation given the content of her own article was lost on her.)

I swear, a lot of Progressives are borderline stupid, but want to be smaaahhht, so they select a political philosophy that promises them they'll be smaahhhht if they just say the right things, no matter what their so-called "IQ tests" may say about it.

Posted by Ace at 11:54 AM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Briton Riviére, "Requiescat" (1888)

Posted by rdbrewer at 11:01 AM Comments

Morning Thread (12-18-2014)

—Andy





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Posted by Andy at 05:50 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (12-17-2014)

—Maetenloch

Quote of the Day

"When I started playing Bond it became apparent, in 1977, that I would have to leave the UK if I wasn't to pay ninety-eight per cent tax on my salary: an actor's life in the spotlight is short, so we need to look after our pennies, and that's why I decamped to Switzerland with its lovely snow-capped tax benefits."

-- Roger Moore

Dishonest Politifact Announces Its Lie of the Year: Claims About the Threat of Ebola

Only they actually aren't a lie and in fact are generally true. So here are some examples of their choice of 'lie' of the year:

Fox News analyst George Will claimed Ebola could be spread into the general population through a sneeze or a cough, saying the conventional wisdom that Ebola spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids was wrong.

"The problem is the original assumption, said with great certitude if not certainty, was that you need to have direct contact, meaning with bodily fluids from someone, because it's not airborne," Will said. "There are doctors who are saying that in a sneeze or some cough, some of the airborne particles can be infectious." False.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., described Ebola as "incredibly contagious," "very transmissible" and "easy to catch." Mostly False.

Except that as Patterico points out that the CDC published this poster in October which makes the very same claim that George Will was making:

cdcdroplest364

And in regards to Rand's statement of opinion about Ebola Patterico makes this note:

Looking at it another way, "at least anecdotally" (and, let's face it: fact-checkers around the globe universally agree that anecdotal evidence is the Gold Standard for fact-checking), one might anecdotally observe that health-care workers who believed they were taking every precaution and yet inexplicably ended up contracting the disease might come away from that experience saying: gee, it seems like Ebola is easier to catch than I realized!! Why, one might even call it "incredibly contagious" or "easy to catch"!

Because if Paul's statement were in fact truly false, then there would absolutely no reason to wear these kinds of suits when working with ebola patients.

Ebola-suit

Meanwhile Don Surber points out the REAL lie of the year which alone has caused untold amounts of national harm:

The lie of the year is Dorian Johnson's statement to Wolf Blitzer about the shooting and death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August: "I saw the officer proceeding after my friend Big Mike with his gun drawn, and he fired a second shot and that struck my friend Big Mike. And at that time, he turned around with his hands up, beginning to tell the officer that he was unarmed and to tell him to stop shooting. But at that time, the officer firing several more shots into my friend, and he hit the ground and died."

That was a lie. The autopsy and testimony from at least a half-dozen witnesses confirm that Dorian Johnson lied through his teeth.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:38 PM Comments

Michele Obama: Someone Asked Me to Reach Something for Them at Target So That Was Racism

—Ace

Or, as some are noting, just asking a tall woman to reach something on a high shelf.

This is an odd thing. I actually live in fear of asking someone for help at Target who doesn't work at Target. I have a phobia about asking someone where the vitamins are, only to have him turn angrily on me and announce, "Just because I'm wearing a jazzy red polo shirt and loose-fit khakis, does that mean you own me??!"

So I kind of don't ask people, unless I see someone else asking them. Or I see them stocking stuff.

But you can get into trouble that way, too. Because if you ask the guy stocking the Coke where the bacon is, he might go, "I don't work here, I work for the Coca-Cola distributing company. And go fuck yourself for that insult, Sirrah!"

Social horror.

Anyway, not making this up, I really do have a phobia about this.

On the other hand, I ask people for help who I know don't work at the store.

It's a weird thing. I get panicky about mistaking someone as store help, but I have little problem asking someone I know does not work for the store for information, just on the theory that hey, we're in this store together, why shouldn't we help each other out?

Have you ever been a male in the spice aisle looking for, I don't know, corriander, and not being able to find it (Yeah I know they're in alphabetical order, but just go with me on this), so you see someone who seems to be knowledgable, and sure, this person just happens to be female, so you ask, "Do you know where the corriander is?"

I always want to say, "I know you don't work here, but that doesn't mean you don't know the basic layout of this super-market you obviously come to twice a week" before asking them, but I don't.

Anyway, the point is, Michele Obama, sometimes people, get this, ask other citizens for help, advice, or information, not thinking they're (horrors!) an employee making only a dollar or two above the minimum wage (aah! the social insult! I shall not live), but just thinking, "This person could help me and I see no good reason why I shouldn't ask her for help."

But Michele Obama goes through life like a china shop in a stockyard, looking to be shattered by hoof-fall.

Posted by Ace at 06:46 PM Comments

Sheppard Smith, Arch-Progressive Crank

—Ace

Yes, in the middle of FoxNews' broadcast day, they have smug, condescending, reflexive and dogmatic progressive anchoring the news.

As Shep Smith said about the threat of Global Warning: It's true. It's true.

The #SmartTake today among progressives on Twitter was to fret about Obama's Cuba initiative, not for being insufficiently anti-communist, of course, but for exposing that Tropical Communist Paradise to decadent running-dog capitalism.

And that, of course, was Shep Smith's take.

“The last thing they need is a Taco Bell and a Lowe's," Shep Smith says, worried about America poisoning Castro's utopia, and that we will "ruin" it. Quote unquote.

Incidentally, Jay Thomas, supposedly an actor and allegedly a comic, hough I mostly know him as a blowhard minor celebrity turned progressive radio host, makes a joke that if North Korea launches a nuke and kills Seth Rogen and James Franco, it will be a "Hell of an ending to their careers."

I'm not offended, I'm just annoyed that so many people, especially those on the left, seem to think "clever" is synonymous with "obnoxious."


Posted by Ace at 06:04 PM Comments

Details of the Unilateral Executive Cuba Deal

—Ace

Some good, some bad.

Loosened travel restrictions

...

A dozen different licenses allow Americans to travel to Cuba, and requirements for getting them will be relaxed....

Authorized travelers will also be able to use their U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba, something not previously allowed. That could make it much easier for people to go to Cuba.

Bringing back goods

...

Under the new rules, authorized visitors will be allowed to bring back $400 worth of goods -- including $100 worth of alcohol and tobacco products combined. In the past, it has been illegal to bring back any of Cuba’s famed cigars and rum.

...


Sending money

It will be easier for people in the U.S. to send money to Cuba under the changes....

Billions already are sent annually by Cubans living in the United States....

Human rights

Republicans are ripping the deal for doing little to improve human rights in Cuba. The White House appears to have dropped its opposition to a Cuban presence at the 2015 summit of the Americas in Panama, but says has that Cuban civil society “must be allowed” to participate.

Meh.

I'm not sure I really care. The previous policy, whether the right policy or not, has not yet toppled the Castro regime. I think this new policy will almost certainly increase the chances the Castro regime continues, near to mid-term, but I think we're talking about increasing the chances from 98% to 98%, so I'm not especially bothered.

I supported the anti-Castro plank because the Republican-voting Cuban exiles in Florida wanted me to. But lately, they seem to voting for Democrats, and they don't seem to care about the Cuba embargo as much.

So I guess I don't really have any incentive to continue to support a policy I was only supporting as a favor to a political ally.

Below, Marco Rubio tears Obama as the worst negotiator in the modern era, noting that Obama got "nothing" out of this deal -- no structural undertakings towards freedom on Cuba's behalf -- except freeing 53 political prisoners. (Who could be re-imprisoned in a week.)

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 03:54 PM Comments

With the Guardians of Peace (aka North Korea) Now Threatening 9/11 Style Attacks on Theaters that Exhibit "The Interview," Five Theater Chains Cancel The Film's Showings

—Ace

Crumble.

The country's top five theater circuits have decided not to play Sony's The Interview, a knowledgeable source tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film.

This, following new threats that the "Guardians of Peace" (aka the North Korean external intelligence services) would kill people at theaters screening the film.

"The world will be full of fear," the message reads. "Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment."

For those thinking "Oh, North Korea would have to be crazy to do that!!!," @ComradeArthur reminds you: They are crazy.


I think Sony will pull the film.

And then it will be released on Pay Per View, where it will make 75% of what it would have made in the theaters.

And the word will go out. No movie company is going to name a real repressive regime as a heavy any more. You can't create a $300 million product and let it be held hostage by nuclear-armed fruitbats.

So from now on all bad guys, and not just 90% of them, will be White Male Christian Businessmen, or made-up countries like "Qurac."

Posted by Ace at 02:39 PM Comments

Pay-for-Passage: Senator Robert Menendez Pulls Strings for Visa for Woman Banned from US Travel, Due to Visa Fraud, So She Could Work at an Obama Fundraiser

—Ace

And he did so with the express written authorization of Hillary Clinton.

And when I say she was involved in "Visa fraud," what she was actually doing was sneaking women into the country claiming them to be "business associates." Their real purpose? Maids for her parents' estate.

Ecuador characterizes that Visa fraud as a "form of human smuggling."

Oh, and the woman's father is fighting extradition back to Ecuador on charges of banking fraud and money laundering.

The family members donate lots to Obama -- and to Senator Menendez.

A former US ambassador to Ecuador said that pulling strings to secure a Visa for someone accused of Visa fraud would be "highly unusual" -- especially if that person was not actually a constituent of the Senator pulling the strings (and the woman in question is does not live in the state of NJ, which Menendez allegedly represents).

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 01:26 PM Comments

Obama Moves to Normalize Relations With Cuba, After Cuba Releases Hostage It's Held for Five Years

—Ace

Rubio says that this announces to the world that the way to wring concessions from America is to take a hostage. But that's silly. Obama already announced that with Bowe Berdahl.

The monster is speaking now.

Near the end of the speech, after announcing a raft of "executive actions," he concedes the embargo is a creature of Congressional law, and that he "looks forward" to discussing the lifting of the embargo with Cuba.

Obama: "Todos sommos Americanos." Which I assume means "We are all Americans."

Um... no we're not. What they'll do is say "We are in fact all inhabitants of The Americas," and make fun of dumb conservatives for "not knowing" this.

But given his unilateral immigration move, I think he's actually sending out the signal that we are literally all Americans, anyone who wants to be and who can jump a fence.

Posted by Ace at 11:54 AM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Nicholas Roerich, "Battle in the Heavens" (1912)

Posted by rdbrewer at 11:15 AM Comments

Breaking: US And Cuba Exchange Prisoners. Set To Normalize Relations?

—DrewM.

Cleaning up one of the last bits of the Cold War.

Cuba released U.S. citizen Alan Gross from prison Wednesday after five years in captivity. The U.S. released three alleged Cuban spies in return. The exchange is a result of a year of secret backtalks between the U.S. and Cuba. Raul Castro and President Obama will both speak, separately, around noon Eastern time.

Apparently the talks were and are so wide ranging as to encompass the resumption of diplomatic relations. The two countries have had official relations since the Eisenhower administration.

A lot of people on the right and in the Cuban-American expat community are going to go ballistic about this but let's be honest, it's time. Yes, the Castro regime is a brutal dictatorship but we do business with a lot of thuggish regimes. Some are even our friends (Hello Saudi Arabia). I think we've made our point after 60 years. We're basically the only country that doesn't have some sort of relationship with Cuba so it's not like we're breaking down some grand coalition here.

The Russians are using Cuba as part of their plans to reinvigorate their power projection plans. Now with the Ruble in free fall and Russia teetering on the edge of economic collapse (thanks fracking!), maybe we can peel Cuba away from them.

Plus...really cheap Caribbean vacations for Americans and the chance for more Cubans to come here will do a lot to bring down the decrepit shell of Castro's revolutionary paradise.

On the domestic political front, it will be fascinating how Hillary and Jeb react to this. It's a touchy issue in the all important swing state of Florida.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:01 AM Comments

Open Thread

—BenK

So it turns out I have a job and occasionally need to do some work.

Posted by BenK at 09:45 AM Comments

Morning Thread (12-17-2014)

—Andy

Hump day.


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Posted by Andy at 07:00 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (12-16-2014)

—Maetenloch

Because sometime work gets in the way of the ONTery.

It's Time for Regime Change in Christmastown

From Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt:

The latest edition of my pop-culture podcast with Mickey White goes up today. I discuss a Christmas television special that our family watches every year - and I was unnerved to see that James Lileks also wrote about the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special as well. Luckily, the two of us headed in different directions in our assessment. He wonders how today's Left would re-edit it, while I lament that for all of the warm feelings it stirs . . . this children's classic makes almost no sense.

First, I get that this is a parable about tolerance of those who are different, and appreciating "misfits" who "don't fit in." Perhaps that was a particularly powerful message in 1964. But the story's need for an intolerant society to depict means that a lot of previously-beloved characters associated with Christmas get turned into absolute quasi-fascistic villains.

Donner, Rudolph's dad, is one of the worst. He's horrified by his son's shiny nose, literally from the moment of his birth. Everyone just accepts that because of the shiny nose, Rudolph will never be able to pull the sleigh. Nobody ever explains why. They treat this as some sort of horrible genetic mutation. In the entire story, no one in Christmastown other than Clarice and Rudolph's mother - who never even gets a name! - can tolerate it. Everyone else instantly reacts with shock, horror, and disgust.

Santa comes across as even worse. He's a jerk who doesn't care about the elves' musical number. The first sign of snow - in the North Pole, where he really shouldn't be that shocked - and he's ready to cancel Christmas. He's got one job!

Finally, when Rudolph is exposed at the reindeer games, Santa tells Donner, Rudolph's dad, he should be ashamed of himself. For what? His son's nose? A birth defect? For polluting the gene pool? Is this Nazi Christmastown?

Read the rest here.

rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer Rudolph-parents-and-Santa-rankin--bass_s640x427

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 08:48 PM Comments

Phone Numbers Provided by Jackie for Her Imaginary Boyfriend Were Created on Website That Enables Cellphone Spoofing

—Ace

That is, it's actually a computer website that can pretend that it's sending texts from a cellphone of a number the user makes up and assigns to the spoof account.

This explains how the Mystery Man "Drew" sent texts to Jackie's friends, despite not actually existing:

Today the Washington Times adds significant new detail to the story. It turns out the cell numbers provided by Jackie, "are registered to Internet services that...can be used to redirect calls to different numbers or engage in spoofing." The site, known as Pinger, is an app that allows people to text for free but it can also be used to set up free texting accounts on the web. It's at least possible then that the accounts Jackie's friends were texting were not connected to a phone at all. Told about the source of the texts, one of Jackie's friends, Alex Stock, tells the Times, "That definitely raises some red flags."

This raises a possibility which I must stress is merely a possibility, a possible explanation for some contradictory claims.

I wouldn't offer this speculation, because I'll get killed by the SJWs, except that it's so obvious it's essentially right there on the surface.

Sabrina Rubin Erdely has claimed that she in fact contacted "Randall" (now identified as Ryan) but he said he would not comment on the story "out of loyalty to his frat."

Ryan, for his part, says he never spoke with Erdely, and that she never contacted him at all. He says he would have spoke to her if Erdely had asked.


So, given this business with the spoofed cell phone numbers: Is it possible that Sabrina Rubin Erdely was tricked into thinking she was texting with Ryan when in fact she was just communicating with spoofed accounts run by someone else?

I don't know. That scenario would permit both Ryan and Erdely to be telling the truth, as it appeared to them, and yet be in complete contradiction with one another. Ryan would say "Erdely never contacted me," and would be truthful, and Erdely would say "I contacted Ryan but he refused to be interviewed," and would not be lying, though she would be wrong.

Even if that were true, I don't know if that totally lets Erdely off the hook. I don't know if you just assume you've gotten through to an interview subject without any kind of actual confirmation of that.

Spooky:

I'll mention this again -- STEPHEN GLASS'S MIDDLE NAME IS RANDALL.

It's turtles all the way down on this one, people.

-- Phinn

Posted by Ace at 08:27 PM Comments

What The Hell

—Ace


Posted by Ace at 06:40 PM Comments

"The notion that Jeb Bush is going to be the candidate is a fantasy nourished by the kind of people who used to run the Republican Party."

—Ace

I don't have much use for Ben Smith but he seems right.

Oh -- Jeb Bush is apparently on the board of Mike Bloomberg's Bloomberg Foundation.

No labels, baby.

I've actually met him only once, in a gorgeous breakfast room atop Manhattan’s Bloomberg Tower, in front of a sweeping view of the East River. The breakfast was part of a series with a distinctly Bloombergian vibe: editors rather than reporters, healthy snacks, elite centrism. I asked Jeb there about the Republican Party, whose mantle he's now apparently considering seeking. He didn't need much prodding, either, to go after his fellow Republicans or to blunder into making news. "Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad -- they would have a hard time if you define the Republican Party -- and I don't -- as having an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground," Bush said, adding that he views the hyper-partisan moment as "temporary."

"Back to my dad's time and Ronald Reagan's time --they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support," he said. Reagan "would be criticized for doing the things that he did."

The notion that Jeb Bush is going to be the Republican presidential nominee is a fantasy nourished by the people who used to run the Republican Party. Bush has been out of a game that changed radically during the 12 years(!) since he last ran for office. He missed the transformation of his brother from Republican savior to squish; the rise of the tea party; the molding of his peer Mitt Romney into a movement conservative; and the ascendancy of a new generation of politicians — Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, among them — who have been fully shaped by and trained in that new dynamic. Those men occasionally, carefully, respectfully break with the movement. Scorning today’s Republican Party is, by contrast, the core of Jeb’s political identity.

...

Bush was in the Bloomberg Tower for a board meeting of the personal foundation of the former New York mayor, whose aggressive campaigns for gun control make him, after President Obama, perhaps the most hated figure among pro-gun Republicans. The foundation’s focus includes two particularly bitter pills for Republicans: shutting down coal-fired power plants and campaigning globally for the kinds of new taxes on junk food whose introduction in New York City infuriated the right.

Yeah I don't get this. It's like when they said they had made a movie called RIPD, about dead cops who come back as ghosts to fight supernatural criminals, and that it starred Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges.

And I said, "Why would you do that? Who is that for?"

And they said, "It's for everybody! It's got Ryan Reynolds! And Jeff Bridges!!!"

And I said, "They were more relevant like six years ago..."

And they said, "But imagine!!! Ghost Cops!!!"

And I said, "Isn't this just Men in Black with the supernatural instead of the sci-fi?"

And they said, "Yes! Exactly! That's why everyone will love it. Plus-- Act of Love!!!"

But they didn't love it, because it was a really dumb idea that exactly no one was asking for.

Oh: And the new news is that, allegedly, the Bush Brand is a now a benefit rather than a hindrance, as George W. Bush (and his dad) have risen in public esteem (or just fallen in public antipathy).

I don't have as much of a problem with the Bush Brand as other people; I have a problem with the Jeb Bush Brand.

I think it's absurd for a candidate's main selling point to be how much he hates the party whose nomination he's seeking.

You know, I don't believe in "The Base," whatever that is. I have arguments with those who claim to speak for this mythical Base.

I have a basic problem with claimed orthodoxies.

But I also have a problem with being an obnoxious idiot, and just flat-out running on a campaign of You Republicans Are Stupid And Everything You Believe Is Hatred and Distemper is an obnoxious idiot move.

I have literally not heard this guy say One Thing he likes about Republicanism or conservatism. All I hear is is List of Ways In Which We've Disappointed Him.

Well, I've had six years of one entitled narcissist telling me I have to elevate my game to gain his (His?) approval.

That's enough for me. I've had a snootful.

I'd like to be pandered to a little bit now, Thank You Very Much Drive Through.

Who are these dumb fuckers who think I want to be "challenged" all the time?

Pro-Tip: No one wants to be "challenged," including, especially, those who claim the loudest to seek "challenging" points of view.

Posted by Ace at 05:30 PM Comments

How About a Non-Boomer Candidate for 2016?

—Brandon Finnigan

Look, the Boomers have run the country now since 1993, and, well, look at the place. It's a mess.

Their fiscal wreckage is being left to Generation X and my own to clean up- generations they continue to leave the bill for while gorging themselves like so many Creosotes. Why give them another four years? Why not take a wafer-thin mint to the whole lot, at least this one time?

I made this argument, not very seriously, on Twitter the other day, but it really got me thinking since.

Who would both parties be left with as possible contenders in 2016 if we eliminated every candidate born after January 1 1965 and before the debut of MTV?

Continue reading


Posted by Brandon Finnigan at 05:08 PM Comments

Professor Has Simple Answer to Screechy Student Demanding Delay in Exams Due to Heart-Ache Over Ferguson

—Ace

A professor at Oberlin -- Lena Dunham's old stomping grounds -- of all places.

You can read the letter at Reason, or in this link.

When I read this, I thought what I'm about to quote below was a joke.

It's not. It's real. This really happened:

After receiving his professor;s response, the student posted the exchange publicly to Facebook, with the message: "TRIGGER WARNING: Violent language regarding an extremely dismissive response from a professor. This is an email exchange I had with my professor this evening. ... We are obviously not preaching to the choir. Professors and administration at Oberlin need to be held accountable for their words and actions and have a responsibility to their students."

More: An op-ed from a Harvard Law student, explaining that his classmates aren't whiny and entitled. Just really really serious about Justice.

Delaying Exams Is Not a Request from 'Coddled Millennials'

...

Drawing comparisons to events surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and other times of intense turmoil, these opponents portray today's law students as coddled millennials using traumatic events as an excuse for their inability to focus on a three-hour exam. In essence, law students are being told to grow up and learn how to focus amidst stress and anxiety -- like "real" lawyers must do.

Speaking as one of those law students, I can say that this response is misguided: Our request for exam extensions is not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness. . . .

Where some commentators see weakness or sensitivity, perhaps they should instead see strength--the strength to know when our cups of endurance have run over and when the time for patience has ended. Perhaps they should instead see courage--the courage to look our peers in the eyes and uncomfortably ask them to bear these burdens of racism and classism that we have together inherited from generations past. We have taken many exams before, but never have we done this. We are scared, but no longer will we be spectators to injustice. . . .

No, I see it as more excuse-making for the generation which does very little except make excuses as to why they can't handle the most basic aspects of their jobs.


Posted by Ace at 02:57 PM Comments

Pennsylvania District Court Finds Obama's Executive Action on Immigration to be Unconstitutional

—Ace

If I understand this right, Obama's executive order became an issue because party in a deportation action sought to claim protections under Obama's lawless order.

The court found Obama's order to go "beyond prosecutorial discretion" and therefore beyond the permissible extent of executive action. He thus discarded consideration of the action in handling the case before him.

Posted by Ace at 02:05 PM Comments

Today: Taliban Butchers 130 Schoolchildren; Sets Teacher on Fire In Front of Class
Last Week: Hillary Clinton Claims We Need to "Empathize With" Our Enemies

—Ace

Really?

Which aspect of them shall we empathize with -- their raping of women, or their massacring of children?

Or perhaps their raping of children?

"This is what we call Smart Power," Hillary says.

Oh? Doesn't sound that smart to me.

Incidentally, how are Obama's negotiations with the child-massacring Taliban faring, eh? Have we negotiated how many children they will murder down from 2000 per year down to 1000 per year?

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 01:07 PM Comments

Another Viral Media Story Turns Out To Be, Get This, Completely Fabricated

—Ace

New York magazine ran a piece about Mohammad Islam, a Bedford-Stuyvesant high school senior who made a whopping $72 million playing the stock markets.

Rumors, on Wall Street, can be powerful. A whisper can turn into a current that moves markets, driving a stock price up or sending it tumbling. There may be only one other place where gossip holds such sway, and that is high school.

Late last year, a rumor began circulating at Stuyvesant that a junior named Mohammed Islam had made a fortune in the stock market. Not a small fortune, either. Seventy-two million.

...

As the news spread, Mo’s stock went up. The school paper profiled him, Business Insider included him on a list of "20 Under 20," and Mo became "a celebrity," as his friend Damir Tulemaganbetov put it on a recent Friday night at Mari Vanna near Union Square. "A VIP!"

...

Mo got into trading oil and gold, and his bank account grew. Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the "high eight figures." More than enough to rent an apartment in Manhattan--though his parents won’t let him live in it until he turns 18--and acquire a BMW, which he can’t drive because he doesn't yet have a license.

The 72 million dollars figure turns out to be slightly exaggerated.

"Mo's" real take from the stock market is more modest: Zero dollars. Zero point zero dollars, and zero cents.

American.

It was just kids making up a story, but Business Insider ran it, then New York, and then the New York Post.

You seem to be quoted saying "eight figures." That’s not true, is it?

No, it is not true.


Is there ANY figure? Have you invested and made returns at all?

No.

So it's total fiction?

Yes.

Are you interested in investing? How did you get this reputation?

I run an investment club at Stuy High which does only simulated trades.

If you had been playing with real money, would you have done really well?

The simulated trades percentage was extremely high relative to the S&P.

Where did [New York magazine writer] Jessica Pressler come up with the $72 million figure?

I honestly don’t know. The number's a rumor.

She said'‘have you made $72 million'?

[I led her to believe] I had made even more than $72 million on the simulated trades.

At this point the PR reps jumped in with Law & Order style objections. A conference outside the room ensued. Back into the room came Mr. Islam.

All I can say is for the simulated trades, I was very successful. The returns were incredible and outperformed the S&P.

And I've won the championship eight times straight on simulated seasons of Tecmo Bowl.


Posted by Ace at 12:13 PM Comments

Welcome To 2016: Jeb Bush Officially Announces He's Running (Sort Of)

—DrewM.

Oh yeah, Bush 2016 is real and it's going to be spectacular!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Like many of you, our family was blessed with the opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday.

Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren.

We shared good food and watched a whole lotof football.

We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.

In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.

Best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season. I’ll be in touch soon.

Finally! The party that has nominated George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney will have the White Knight moderate it needs to wrest control of the party away from those dirty conservatives.

Why is Jeb doing this so early?

I'm guessing because the Romney 2016 thing was getting real. All the talk from Team Mitt about how, "the field wasn't that great and he as much as he didn't want to run again gosh darn it, his duty to party and country might force him to" was probably getting donors all hot and bothered. Sometimes in politics momentum starts and self-fulfilling prophecies of inevitability are created. Jeb wanted to blunt that before it got going to strongly.

Well the Great White Moderate Whale has just thrown his hat in the ring. Now donors who want to unite behind someone are going to have to start picking sides. In just a few weeks there will be an address to which they can send checks. Attendance will be taken, so take the holidays to decide if you're on the Bush bandwagon or not.

It'll be interesting to see who else this forces into the same move. If you're in the establishment bracket of the GOP primary (hello Chris Christie and yes you Mitt Romney) Bush just fired the starter's pistol. Either you get in now or you risk being left behind.

While we enjoy this moment of pure glee at an amnesty loving, Common Core front runner for the GOP nomination, let us have a moment of silence of Rubio 2016. Bush's entry ends any hope Rubio had this cycle. They are personally close and share too much of the same donor base.

Excuse me while I go buy some popcorn futures. Demand is about to skyrocket.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:10 AM Comments

Morning Thread (12-16-2014)

—Andy

Yesterday 10 families affected by the Sandy Hook shooting sued Bushmaster and the entire distribution channel that sold the gun to the shooter's mother. The complaint is an interesting read in that it looks like it was cut-and-pasted from anti-gun comments on Daily Kos.

An example:


Bob followed that up with a good piece on the history of the AR-15 and why this suit is doomed.

Also ... oops:


UPDATE: Somehow the myth that an AR-15 wasn't used at Sandy Hook but was found in the shooter's car still lives on after 2 years. Nope.


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The most racist headline your are likely to ever read. And I quote: "West Harlem Residents Are Fed Up With ‘Aggressive’ Raccoons Terrorizing Neighborhood". I know. I'm the racist for pointing out the unfortunate wording. Although, you could bet if it were the Free Beacon's headline, Sharpton & Jackson would be all over it by now. [krak/t]
Daily Express: Ibuprofen adds 12 years to life! Cheap painkillers can slow ageing and fight disease [rdbrewer]

Joshua Rothman, New Yorker: The Crazy History of 'Star Wars'
"Solo was partly based on Francis Ford Coppola." [rdbrewer]

Video: We're not so different, you and I
Via @debbywitt. [rdbrewer]

Bill Whittle, Truth Revolt: We're Number Two!
Video. More at BillWhittle.com. [rdbrewer]


Jon Gabriel: Kim Jong-un to Host 87th Annual Oscars [rdbrewer]


Sonny Bunch: Signposts of a Broken Culture
"Think about this for a second. What we are saying—nay, what we have accepted, as a society—is a situation in which a totally blameless third party would be held responsible for the evil committed by an irresponsible actor." Bunch begs the question as to whether the 3d party is blameless. Reasonable forseeability is the basis for a defendant's duty to a plaintiff and is always a question for a jury. [rdbrewer]


Jonah Goldberg: No Superheroes in The Interview Cave-In
"Mayor Fiorello La Guardia wanted to speak to the creators of Captain America. Simon got on the line. 'You boys over there are doing a good job,' the voice squeaked. 'The city of New York will see that no harm will come to you.'" The creators of Captain America were getting death threats. [rdbrewer]
IRS unintentionally advocates for Flat Tax. Claim they are underfunded to handle the complex tax situations that now exist, which may result in a partial "shutdown" of the IRS, and certainly will result in delayed tax refunds. So, the Right has a great opportunity to turn this further bald politicization of the IRS against them and the Left (birm): Spell out to the American public how cheaply the IRS could operate when dealing with a Flat Tax. [krak/t]

Jim Geraghty: The North Korean Hacking Threat Hits Close to Home
"This fat pant-load thinks he can push us around." [rdbrewer]


Michael Barone: America’s Dynastic Turn
"The fact that Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton could end up as president leaves many Americans queasy." Let the Democrats look back. The GOP needs to look forward in picking a candidate. [rdbrewer]


Joseph Bottum: Even Small Towns Are Loading Up On Grenade Launchers
"What exactly is a Midwestern state’s attorney general doing with any military rifles? What, for that matter, is anyone doing with military equipment?" And right at the time people were talking about legislation to end this program, the Ferguson liars showed up. Now taking military equipment from the police is off the table for many in Congress. Thanks, Ferguson liars. [rdbrewer]


Chuck Ross: Did UVA Student Plagiarize ‘Dawson’s Creek’ In Love Letter To Friend?
"An email likely sent by Jackie to a friend of hers who she was romantically interested in appears to be plagiarized from an episode of Dawson’s Creek...." Via @Maetenloch. It gets worse: Steven Sailor: The Literary Sources of Haven Monahan's Glitch in the Matrix Email. Via @ComradeArthur. Added: Chuck Ross updates his story: UVA Student May Have Also Plagiarized TV Show ‘Scrubs,’ Others In Love Paean To Friend. [rdbrewer]


Daniel Wiser: Obama Provides Economic Lifeline to Cuba
"The Obama administration’s normalization of relations with Cuba has handed the Communist government an economic lifeline, critics say, just when its traditional foreign patrons are suffering from their own domestic troubles." [rdbrewer]
And even more plagiarized love notes contributed by "Jackie, from UVA". Anyone else starting to feel like an extra in The Truman Show? [krak/t]
Risk Based Security: A Breakdown and Analysis of the December, 2014 Sony Hack
A very detailed ticktock of the Sony security breach. Via @jcopella. [rdbrewer]

IBD: On Cuba, Obama Had an Ace, and Dropped a Deuce
"Obama held a handful of strong cards — including the plunging price of oil and the weakening of potential Cuban patrons from China to Russia to Iran — but instead played the deuce, offering concessions to Castro without getting so much as a pledge of democracy." [rdbrewer]

Capitulation Complete: Paramount Bans Showing of Team America: World Police
"According to IMDB, Team America, while distributed by Paramount, was produced by Scott Rudin, the embattled (and uber-manic) Sony Pictures executive being eaten alive by the North Korean hacking scandal." [rdbrewer]
Everybody hates Ted (Cruz)
Honeybadger don't give a ****
[Weirddave]

"I shall return when
needed most"
Mediaite: Alan Dershowitz on Sony Hack: It’s ‘Pearl Harbor on the First Amendment’ [rdbrewer]


Listener Calls Into Glenn Beck Radio Show With an Incredible Allegation About Michelle Obama’s Race Story
The woman who asked for help is an Obama supporter and is married to an MSNBC producer. Via commenter "Jane D'oh." [rdbrewer]


Meet Derby, the dog who runs on 3-D printed legs
"With his new legs, he can run." [rdbrewer]


Obama gives the Castro regime in Cuba an undeserved bailout
"President Obama granted the regime everything on its wish list that was within his power to grant.... That liberalization will provide Havana with a fresh source of desperately needed hard currency and eliminate U.S. leverage for political reforms." The Castros will get all the money we spend there, allowing them to stay in power indefinitely. [rdbrewer]


Vermont’s Giving Up On Single-Payer Health Care Over Ballooning Costs [rdbrewer]


Ann Coulter: One In Five People Who Write For Rolling Stone Are Morons
"In response to the total implosion of Rolling Stone’s preposterous story about a fraternity gang-rape at the University of Virginia, the media have reverted to their Soviet-style reporting. They’re not even saying: We’re choosing not to talk about UVA because it’s a side show. It’s more like: UVA? That’s a school?" Related: Jackie sounds a little cray cray. [rdbrewer]

Ungrateful Loaf: Why Are Conservative Culture Reviews Always So Negative?
"If you reflexively hate what Hollywood does now, why in God’s name are you reviewing new movies?" [Gabriel Malor]
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