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May 22, 2015

Overnight Open Thread (22 May 2015)

—CDR M

Does Time magazine know who the Pentagon takes orders from? Pentagon rhetoric about Ramadi's fall risks U.S. credibility.

Continue reading


Posted by CDR M at 09:54 PM Comments



Scenes From the Decadent Period of the Dying American Republic

—Ace

dec·a·dence

ˈdekədəns

noun

moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury

The Mary-Sue, fangirl comic book nerd site:

Editor’s Note: Trigger warnings for sexual assault. To find out more about support options available for survivors of sexual abuse, visit the official website for RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

...


Those hopes crumbled into a million pieces last night, when Sansa was raped by Ramsey as Theon/Reek was forced to watch.

...

Using rape as the impetus for character motivations is one of the most problematic tropes in fiction. Rarely is it ever afforded the careful consideration it deserves. Was there more gravity given to the act on Game of Thrones than in the past on the series? I would say yes; however, it took Sansa from her growing place of power, cut her off at the knees, and put the focus on Theo'’s ordeal, instead.

...

After the episode ended, I was gutted. I felt sick to my stomach. And then I was angry. My next thought was, "I'm going to have to spend part of the next six months explaining why this was a bad move over and over."

The Daily Mail, a journal about things that actually happened in the real world:

[no trigger warning included]

Stripped naked and sold to the highest bidder: How ISIS is sending the 'prettiest Yazidi virgins' it abducts to slave markets in Syria

ISIS committing horrific sex crimes against girls, United Nations has found

'They are sold naked to Islamic State leaders and soldiers at slave markets'

Terror group is targeting young girls from Iraq's minority Yazidi community

It has previously abducted hundreds of Yazidis from across northern Iraq

The HuffPo, a website for people to read while folding sweaters at The Gap:

Why Talking About 'Game Of Thrones' Rape Is Important For Feminism

By Emily Tess Katz
...


Dr. Michele Polak, an English professor at Centenary College, shares The Mary Sue's reservations, arguing that the rape served more to advance a male character's storyline rather than that of the Sansa Stark, who was raped.

"I think it was there to move the narrative of her brother," Polak told HuffPost Live on Thursday. "I think that really did great for his narrative more than it did for Sansa's."

...

Slate contributor Amanda Marcotte and contributing editor to Washingtonian magazine, Hilary Kelly, joined the discussion of what is meant by a "gratuitous rape scene" and whether "Game of Thrones" can depict rape in service to a broader, important cultural conversation.

The Washington Post, a journal of things that really happened in the real world (though they have plenty of She the People bloggers who prefer to talk about things that happen on TV shows):

[no trigger warning provided]

Hundreds of kidnapped Nigerian school girls reportedly sold as brides to militants for $12, relatives say

...

The news of the mass marriage come from a group of fathers, uncles, cousins, and nephews who gather every morning to pool their resources, buy fuel, and journey unarmed to forests and border towns in search of the missing girls. They learned this week, they said, that mass wedding ceremonies had occurred on Saturday and Sunday. The insurgents reportedly shot their guns into the air after taking their new brides, and split them into three groups. They were then reportedly moved out by truckload.

"It's a medieval kind of slavery," village leader Bitrus told the BBC.

Jezebel, a fangirl site for fantasy pretend-politics of the sort practiced by White Middle Class Western Women who want to convince themselves they're "informed:"

The incident happened my junior year at Columbia, when Paul followed me upstairs at a party, came into a room with me uninvited, closed the door behind us, and grabbed me. I politely said, "Hey, no, come on, let's go back downstairs." He didn't listen. He held me close to him as I said no, and continued to pull me against him. I pushed him off and left the room quickly. I told a few friends and my boyfriend at the time how creepy and weird it was. I tried to find excuses for his behavior. I did a decent job of pushing it out of my mind....

My friend gave me the name and number of someone at Columbia I could talk to if I wanted to file a complaint. I wondered if what had happened between me and Paul was really sexual assault: there was no penetration, I had no bruises, I got away. But Columbia defines "Sexual Assault—Non-Consensual Sexual Contact" as "Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object without a person's consent." That is exactly what happened to me, and so I decided to file a complaint.

The NY Daily News, another paper chiefly writing about things that actually happened:

[no trigger warning provided]

1 of 2 British school girls in pedophile sex ring recalls being raped by at least 60 men

A British court has heard how a pedophile sex ring raped, drugged, exploited and even "brainwashed" school girls on a "massive scale" over a six-year period.

The disturbing claims against 11 Buckinghamshire men were heard during the first day of trial Monday in London during which statements were read by one of the two young victims, the BBC reported.

That child, who was aged 12 or 13 at the time, said she was passed around and raped by at least 60 men in an Asian grooming gang.

The Independent, writing about the bitter, corrupt feminist Senator Claire McCaskill:

Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Posted by Ace at 07:03 PM Comments



Disclosed Email From Cheryl Mills Says of Hillary's Benghazi Hearing That She Had a "Come to" Jesus Meeting With Her "Colleagues" and Now They're "On Board"

—Ace

On board with what, Ms. Mills?


You do not have to cajole people in a Come To Jesus Meeting to get them to tell the truth.

You hold a Come to Jesus meeting to convince them that there is a Greater Good that must be served.

Other important stuff collected by Allahpundit.

1, Hillary knew that the government had attempted to bully Google and YouTube into censoring "The Innocence of the Muslims," and

2, Just before that video's maker was arrested, Hillary was emailing around a left-wing bloglink exposing him as a rightwing kook.


Max Blumenthal is Sydney Blumenthal's gonzo pro-Muslim, anti-Semitic son.


Update: On November 15-16, two/three days after Mills' email, intelligence and counter-terrorism officials testified in closed-door hearings about Benghazi.

Among those testifying -- Mike Morrell, the CIA agent who lied to Congress, claiming the FBI had made important changes to the talking points, when in fact it was he himself.

Posted by Ace at 04:52 PM Comments

AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, @AndrewStilesUSA

—Andy

Washington Free Beacon Digital Managing Editor and Ace of Spades HQ Podcast Special Hillary Corrspondent Andrew Stiles joins Gabe and John this week for an extended Hillary Update.

Intro: George Clinton - Atomic Dog
Outro: Thompson Twins - Lies

Listen: Stitcher | MP3 Download
Subscribe: rss.pngRSS | itunes_modern.pngiTunes

Browse (and even search!) the archives

Follow on Twitter

Don't forget to submit your Ask the Blog questions for next week's episode.

Open thread in the comments.

Posted by Andy at 04:00 PM Comments

Hillary Received Now-Classified Information In Her Unsecured Private Emails

—Ace

She had claimed there "is" no classified information in her emails.

Well, there was, before she deleted them.

When she originally received the email, it was merely "sensitive" information. The FBI later classified it as "secret."

Here's the interesting thing: We know this is now secret because it is redacted in the emails released by State.

And what's it about? The Benghazi Attack.

It just so happens that the emails are going to be redacted whenever they're about Benghazi, I guess.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received information on her private email server about the deadly attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that has now been classified.

The email in question, forwarded to Clinton by her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, relates to reports of arrests in Libya of possible suspects in the attack.

Because the information was not classified at the time the email was sent, no laws were violated. But Friday's redaction shows that Clinton received information considered sensitive on her unsecured personal server, which came to light just as she was beginning her presidential campaign.

Clinton, campaigning in New Hampshire, said Friday she was aware that the FBI wanted some of the email to be classified, "but that doesn't change the fact all of the information in the emails was handled appropriately."

Asked if she was concerned it was on a private server, she replied, "No."

...

[The FBI] said 23 words of the Nov. 18, 2012, message were redacted from Friday's release of 296 emails totaling 896 pages to protect information that could harm national security and damage foreign relations.

A little context: The New York Times had previously questioned Hillary's claim that "no" classified information "is" in the emails, because the US Government routinely classifies lots and lots of things.

WASHINGTON — Anyone who has tried to pry information from the federal government may have been surprised on Tuesday by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s assertion that in all her emails in four years as secretary of state, she never strayed into the classified realm.

After all, a consensus among Republicans and Democrats for many years has been that the government routinely overclassifies information, reflexively stamping "secret" on mountains of documents with marginally sensitive content. The government classified more than 80 million documents in 2013, according to the Information Security Oversight Office, which publishes an annual count.

...

But some secrecy experts and former government officials on Tuesday were skeptical, noting the interesting turnabout that had a former top official insisting, for once, that none of her exchanges were secret.

Update: Hillary's unsecured emails announced, in 2011, the locations and travel plans of American officials serving in Libya.

Chris Stevens could not be reached for comment.

Noah Rothman quotes The New York Times:

Mrs. Clinton's emails show that she had a special type of government information known as "sensitive but unclassified," or "SBU," in her account. That information included the whereabouts and travel plans of American officials in Libya as security there deteriorated during the uprising against the leadership of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. Nearly a year and a half before the attacks in Benghazi, Mr. Stevens, then an American envoy to the rebels, considered leaving Benghazi citing deteriorating security, according to an email to Mrs. Clinton marked "SBU."
Posted by Ace at 03:08 PM Comments

Lesbian Couple Seeks Engagement Rings from Christian Jeweler.
Jeweler, Being Canadian and Hence Nonconfrontational, Complies.
Lesbian Couple Later Finds Out About His Horrid Views And Demands Their Money Back.

—Ace

And the mobs demanded that the Christian jeweler eat that loss, Because Gross, and the jeweler was so threatened he ultimately complied.

So here's a reason a Christian shouldn't serve a gay couple in their wedding plans, eh...? We're now talking possibly thousands in losses as the gay couple decides, after the service has been provided and the materials all bought and wasted, that they're going to punish the business owner anyway, and make him pay for his views.

Posted by Ace at 01:19 PM Comments

Republican Support of Republican Leadership Dropping Like a Stone

—Ace

The reviews are in for Corker's, McConnell's, and Boehner's opus "Failure Theater," and they're not good.

Fully three-quarters of Republicans want the leadership to challenge Obama more often. But McConnell and Boehner, eyeing those more equivocal independent numbers, won’t do that. And why should they? The genius of "failure theater" is that, as the failures pile up, the argument for electing more Republicans perversely grows stronger among the base. You can’t expect McConnell to go to the mat on executive amnesty when he has "only" 54 votes in the Senate, not nearly enough to break a filibuster. Give him 57 or 58 votes, though, and who knows? Maybe he can shake loose a few Democrats and force an Obama veto.

At some point, a great mass of people will come to the conclusion I (and many before me did), and that will be that for the Republican Party.

Posted by Ace at 12:32 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Frederic Edwin Church, "Twilight in the Wilderness" (1860)

Posted by rdbrewer at 09:57 AM Comments

Morning Open Thread

—BenK

Comment here now, comment in news posts later.

Posted by BenK at 08:04 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (5-21-2015)

—Maetenloch

Sadly most of the movies I see these days are ones I watch on planes. So here are a couple of quickie movie reviews of what I've watched in the last few weeks.

Interstellar

Interstellar

Okay I had read the mixed reviews but I figured hey I'm a sucker for sci-fi flicks so why not. Well the short version is that Interstellar is a long, maudlin, melodramatic, visually stunning, wannabe epic, manipulative, nearly 3 hour long movie with gaping plot holes that actually ended up irritating me. Not recommended unless you have nothing else better to do for three hours. Or just enjoy movies where nearly every single line is an intense whisper.

Birdman

birdman

A very interesting and well done movie. I can see why it won an Oscar and Michael Keaton was nominated for one. It did a very good job of putting you into the life and mind of Riggan, a washed-up actor best known for playing the superhero Birdman now trying desperately to pull off a Broadway show and show that he can actually do something meaningful. The movie follows him around and fills you in on his life without ever having a flashback scene, while also making you want to see what happens to him next. I enjoyed its mix of documentary-style and magical realism scenes but I can see why others might not care for it. It also makes the case that life in general needs a jazz drum background track. Recommended.

The Imitation Game

imitationgame

Okay I already knew the story of Alan Turing and the British breaking the Enigma code during WWII and was very skeptical that it could ever be made into a watchable movie. But I was wrong and The Imitation Game is in fact excellent. It does a good job of both explaining the technological challenges of breaking the code and the context of how important this was to winning the war and capturing the drama behind it. So you can watch the movie knowing nothing and fully enjoy it. Alan Turing was a genius and likely had what we would call today Asperger's syndrome and was critical to ultimately breaking the code. Benedict Cumberbatch did an excellent job playing him and deserved his Oscar for it. Turing's homosexuality was significant to several parts of the plot but I'm glad the movie didn't make it a central point or become preachy about it. Highly recommended.

Cashback

cashback

This 2006 British movie has been lingering in my Netflix queue for nearly five years - so long I had forgotten why I ever even added it. But a few weeks ago out of complete lack of other choices I finally watched it. And it turned out to be very good. The story is about an art student who after a painful breakup with his girlfriend is unable to sleep at all. Finally desperate to fill his nights he starts working the night shift at a local grocery store. There at some point he discovers that he has the ability to actually stop time. So of course he has some fun with this checking out women's breasts and playing pranks on people. But after a while he becomes bored with this and is inspired to use the stopped-time scenes as still-lifes for his art. And in the process he also comes to really know the motley group of people he works with and appreciate them in their own way. In particular he falls in love with a quirky cashier, Sharon. They eventually start dating and it turns out that being able to stop time is not nearly as helpful in a relationship as you might think.

Stylistically the movie is sort of a mix of Fight Club with Groundhog Day along with a good amount of teen sex comedy and rom-com mixed in. But it's actually a very thoughtful and funny movie with the main character narrating scenes and musing on the significance of time in peoples' lives, his own flaws and missed opportunities, and reflecting on how he came to be so fascinated by the female form. Ultimately the movie is about finding love and inspiration in the fleeting moments of everyday life more than any of the entertaining boobage and comedy scenes in it. Excellently written this movie really should be more well known than it is. Highly recommended.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 11:12 PM Comments

Senator Kristen Gillibrand's Chubby Case Against Paul Nungesser Falls Apart

—Ace

Paul Nungesser is the man charged by the so-called #MattressGirl, Emma Sulkowicz.

If you know the case, you know that two (or three?) additional people stepped forward to accuse Nungesser after Sulkowicz began making these allegations.

Let's deal with two of them.

Let's deal with the male accuser.

From Cathy Young: Oh my.

Several days after my Daily Beast piece, which featured not only Nungesser's account of his relationship with Sulkowicz but social media messages tending to support his version, the feminist blog Jezebel ran a purported rebuttal titled "How to Make an Accused Rapist Look Good." Much of the story, by Jezebel editor Erin Gloria Ryan, dealt with Sulkowicz's not entirely convincing explanation of her friendly messages to Nungesser days after what she says was a terrifyingly violent rape. But the piece also contained a new revelation meant to bolster the claim that Nungesser was a serial sexual predator: the existence of a hitherto unknown male victim, identified by the pseudonym "Adam."

Adam, who also graduates this week, told Jezebel that "he was close friends with Paul during his freshman year in 2011" and that "one fall night, in the midst of an emotional conversation in Paul's dorm room...Paul pushed him onto his bed and sexually assaulted him." He claimed that after much self-doubt and internal struggle, he finally reported this incident, first to a student society to which both he and Nungesser belonged and then in a formal complaint to the university in the fall of 2014. Adam rather melodramatically lamented that my Daily Beast piece "invalidates and completely erases [his] experience."

Oh my -- it invalidates your experience. WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO SOONER?!!

There's a girl on Twitter calling herself "NachoSarah." Hot chick, actually. But she tosses off lots of crude jokes.

One oft-repeated joke is about how effeminate the men she sees around her are.

It goes like this:

i was out with a guy on a date and he ordered a quinoa salad and i was like hey remember when men used to carry swords

But that joke probably invalidates Adam's experience, so forget I said anything.

This gets better.

...

According to Adam, during this conversation Nungesser asked him to sit on the bed, rubbed his shoulder and back, then "gently" pushed him down and proceeded to stroke his leg and finally massage his crotch "for approximately 2-3 minutes" while Adam froze in shock. He was finally able to muster the will to get up and leave.

Long story short, external evidence -- Facebook posts, texts -- tended to support Nungesser's denial more than Adam's charges. For example, "Adam" claimed that Nungesser kept bothering him. But the record shows that it was Adam who kept seeking Nungesser out after this dubious incident.

And then "Adam" says Nungesser really turned up the heat of harassment:

...

Adam's credibility was further sunk by his rather fanciful complaints of "retaliation" by Nungesser in a class they shared. These "deliberately aggressive acts" consisted of sitting too close to Adam or to his friends, which left Adam "distraught and traumatized," and complimenting some points Adam had made in a class discussion (which "felt like he was claiming a collective sense of power").

And thus Paul Nungesser carried out his continued Campaign of Erotic Terror.

hey adam remember when men carried swords

I am happy to report that, even on the trauma-happy modern campus, such claims of harassment are still recognized as, in the words of the report, "hyperbolic and illogical."

In the end, the investigators concluded that Adam was "unreliable" and that his story simply did not add up, and recommended that Nungesser be found "not responsible."

A woman charged him with "sexual assault" too, and now writes, anonymously, at Jezebel, that Nungesser was actually found guilty of this "sexual assault" before he "appealed it away."

Let's look at this allegation of a "sex assault" -- from the complaining witness herself:

At this point, I should be used to seeing backlash against Emma Sulkowicz, but I still wasn’t fully prepared for what came this week: endless tittering of people around me in real life and in my social feeds saying they "weren't sure" about Emma’s choice to carry her mattress to Columbia’s graduation; the insistence that Emma's alleged assailant Paul Nungesser had been "proven innocent" by Columbia and exonerated by the NYPD; the posters someone put up around Columbia with Emma's picture on them, calling her a "PRETTY LITTLE LIAR."

Every time I read another version of this narrative--that Nungesser merely "picked the wrong friends," that the complaints against him were a calculated vendetta--my stomach flopped. Don’t forget: before he appealed away the conviction, Paul Nungesser was found responsible for sexually assaulting a woman at Columbia. And I'm writing this because that woman was me.

When I filed the complaint against Paul, I didn't know it would turn into a national event. It was over a year before Emma started carrying that weight, months before what happened at Columbia helped sparked a national dialogue about rape on college campus. I was just trying to do the right thing.

The incident happened my junior year at Columbia, when Paul followed me upstairs at a party, came into a room with me uninvited, closed the door behind us, and grabbed me. I politely said, "Hey, no, come on, let's go back downstairs." He didn't listen. He held me close to him as I said no, and continued to pull me against him. I pushed him off and left the room quickly. I told a few friends and my boyfriend at the time how creepy and weird it was. I tried to find excuses for his behavior. I did a decent job of pushing it out of my mind.

You managed to push it out of your mind? What a soldier.

Now you may be thinking, "Okay, well in the Second Part of this story, Nungesser creeps into her room and rapes her!"

Um... nope. That's the whole story. He pulled her against him for a few seconds, tried to entice her to have sex, and then did nothing more when she pushed him away.

This is the "sex assault" he was found guilty of -- and here she quotes, pedantically, Columbia's definition of "sex assault," which includes "Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object without a person's consent." [Emphasis added -- but I feel that emphasis is implicit in her breathless delivery.] She defines this sloppy, drunken hug as a "sexual touching;" apparently Columbia later realized how insane that was.

Now, don't get me wrong, Nungesser was plainly trying to get sex here. And it is uncomfortable as hell to be manhandled by a drunk (or at least heedless) guy looking for sex.

I hate being hugged or touched and when people hug or touch me it's almost always in a non-sexual, innocent manner.

But I don't like it.

I do think she has a complaint -- but not a legal one.

She has a thing she can justifiably complain about to her friends. "Oh my, this sloppy horny douche hugged me and thought he could sleep with me."

And that's all she has.

But apparently she thinks she was "raped" just like Emma.

But here, let her tell you:

Then, a year later, a friend approached me and asked if we could speak privately. She told me she'd heard that Paul had apparently raped someone, and that the story had reminded her of what he had done to me a year before.

He hugged me for three seconds. It was exactly like that anal rape that Emma Sulkowicz described to me.

This woman writes anonymously because she says she fears the pushback and mockery she might get if her name is connected to this Tale of Hug-Rape.

Good Bet, Sister.

Irresponsible Accusations from Drama-Seeking Children

I saw Goodman Nungesser dancing with the Devil by the well by the north path. Then they made the beast with two backs.

Then Chuck Norris raped me.


Posted by Ace at 06:42 PM Comments

Six Baltimore Cops Indicted in Freddie Gray Death

—Ace

Social Justice In Action.

Six police officers have been indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Thursday.

The officers are scheduled to be arraigned on July 2, she said.

Alan Derschowitz has argued that this constitutes "crowd control justice" -- charges brought to appease a riotous mob, not meritorious charges.

A Ham Sandwich was quoted as saying: "You got the wrong sandwich."

Posted by Ace at 05:52 PM Comments

Party of Science: Young People, When Polled, Estimate The Number of Gay People In Society at... 30%

—Ace

I heard this "three in ten" claim one time, and I laughed at it. Even one-in-ten is too high by a factor of 3-5.

But there's our very educated Millennials for ya!

By the way, I keep hearing the Millennials are "very educated." And they don't mean that ironically.

They mean, of course, that they go to college at higher rates than previous generations, and then waste more time pursuing make-work masters in nonproductive fields.

But seriously: Are they even close to "very educated"?

I know people who employ Millennials.

See if you can guess their take on Millennials' group education level and group intelligence.

And I have to note, as usual, I know some Millennials, and they're bright. And, as I say, they will rule the world in time, for they have nothing but morons between them and the throne.

As Herman Mankiewicz wrote to his writer friend in 1925, imploring him to come to Hollywood:

"Millions are to be made out here, and your only competition is idiots."

He added a whisper:

"Don't let this get around."

Anyway, the fact that America, as a whole, is stupider than it's ever been doesn't mean there aren't very bright Americans, and the fact that the Millennials are a Generation of Imbeciles doesn't change the fact that there are smart Millennials too.

And by the way, the country as a whole -- young people, middle-aged, and old folks too -- peg the number at 25%.

We're not a smart people.

I also see that women, as a whole, also estimated the figure at 30%.

Well... what can we say about that that won't cause a Shaming Crisis?

Um.... it is true that women dabble more with light-to-moderate homosexual acts (at least when younger), and... well I guess it is now de rigeur for every upwardly mobile urban white woman to have her Gay Best Friend.

So maybe that inflates their estimate.

I guess they don't realize that one gay dude they think is their Gay Best Friend is performing Gay Best Friend duties for a network of like eight women.

That poor man.

For Further Reading and Review: Leon Wolf writes of the Emma Sulkowicz Generation.

Posted by Ace at 04:38 PM Comments

Shock: Jeb Bush Says Two Things Which Are Vaguely Conservative

—Ace

Maybe his plan to run against conservatives in a Republican primary isn't working amazeballs like he expected.

Jeb: The climate is changing, but those who claim that the debate is over are "intellectually arrogant."

Earlier Wednesday, Obama warned in a commencement speech to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that climate change "constitutes a serious threat to global security (and) an immediate risk to our national security."

Shaking his head as the host of the house party, Richard Ashooh, quoted Obama's remarks, Bush chided the President for taking what he argued was the wrong path in addressing the problem.

[article's paragraphs re-arranged into actual chronological order -- ace]

"For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you," he continued. "It's this intellectual arrogance that now you can't have a conversation about it, even. The climate is changing. We need to adapt to that reality."

"The President's approach is, effectively, reduce economic activity to lower our carbon footprint," he said. "That's not what he says, of course, but that's the result of his policies."

Rather than focusing on carbon emissions, Bush said, the federal government should provide more incentives for lower carbon-producing forms of energy, like hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling.

"I don't think it's the highest priority. I don't think we should ignore it, either," Bush said of climate change. "Just generally I think as conservatives we should embrace innovation, embrace technology, embrace science. ... Sometimes I sense that we pull back from the embrace of these things. We shouldn't."

Then he said Republicans had spent too much when his brother was president.

Jeb Bush kind of bores me so I've modified this article to make it more "street."

Jeb Bush Faults Brother for Lack of Budget Discipline 'N Shit

CONCORD, N.H. -- As Jeb Bush has faced questions over Iraq and the policies of his brother throughout recent days, he got all TURNT!, son!, on one difference between them: curtailing spending.

"I think that, in Washington during my brother's time, you know, he served his nickel there, plus three more, Republicans spent too many Benjamins," Mr. Bush said Thursday when asked to describe where there was a "big space" between himself and his brotherman. "I think he could have used the veto powizzo, put a jimmie on that shit. He didn’t have line-item veto power, but he could have brought budget discipline to Washington, D.C. Instead, he got all krunk.

...

He did qualify that his criticism of the government spending during his brother's tenure as president “seems kind of quizzaint right now given the fazzact that after he left, the budget and deficits and spending went up astronomizzically, knahmean?”

In the second link, there's a video of Joe Scarborough, the sad establishment clown, confessing that not a single Republican is passionate about Jeb Bush, and David Frum says Jeb just can't win.

Posted by Ace at 03:08 PM Comments

Huckabee: Pardon My French, But the Iowa Straw Poll Is For the B*rds

—Ace

Even though Huckabee has a pretty good shot at winning this meaningless thing, he's scorning it as too expensive and too much in service of ruling class interests.

He says the "Washington Ruling Class," but as Ed Morrissey notes, it really serves the Iowa Republican Establishment, which may or may not be a lame, minor league ruling class in the its own right.

I kind of like Huckabee for doing this. And for helping inject the "ruling class" idea into the national consciousness.

Things are really bad. We are being poorly served by our rulers. It is time to begin upsetting applecarts, rocking boats, and turning over moneychangers' tables.

At some point, those who fail to rebel under such conditions deserve their own enslavement.


Posted by Ace at 02:18 PM Comments

Photoshop, Anyone? **CONTEST**

—LauraW.

The Autopen of the United States (AOTUS) made a few pretty good presidential P-shops, a couple requested by me.

I like this meme, where Obama the unserious, fluff-pop-talkshow celebrity (a role he really relishes) is having a good guffaw while disastrous historical events are occurring during (and because of) his presidency.

It's just so, *him.*

The media lost their minds over the optics of Bush's wartime golfing. But they won't say 'boo!' about the Obamas basically having one long party in office while genocidal slavery openly and confidently marches across the globe. But I guess you can only call upon someone to show a moral core when you know that they have one, right?

Here's one, with more below the fold.

Continue reading


Posted by LauraW. at 01:29 PM Comments

Reform Conservatism....The Way Forward Or Warmed Over Compassionate Conservatism?

—DrewM.

There's a huge debate going on within the conservative wonk class over the direction conservatism should take in the future. It's a debate that occasionally pops into the more mainstream discussions but is really being played out in think tanks and presidential campaign policy shops.

In the broadest strokes the "reform conservatives," who despite their protestations, represent the "compassionate conservative" view of government as an important player in people's lives. They basically think the federal government should focus on targeted policies (like larger child tax credits) as well as "empower" and fund institutions at the state and local level to help people navigate this messy thing called life.

Here's Yuval Levin, one of the recognized leaders of the "reformicon" camp writing in Reason's roundtable on the nature of "reform conservatism".

This regard for mediating institutions is reinforced by our sense of the limits of human knowledge and power. Because we think the human person is something of a mess, and because we think societies and their members flourish through mediating institutions, we are very skeptical of claims of rational control and technocratic management. Large social problems are too complicated to be amenable to centralized, wholesale, technical solutions and instead require decentralized, bottom-up, incremental ones. Societies evolve and improve and solve practical problems not by consolidated jerks of authority from above but by diffuse trial and error from below. Allowing society's institutions and members the freedom for such efforts is more likely to make society smarter than allowing technical experts to manage large systems.

When a society is allowed to become smarter through such institutions, it usually does so in a particular way: by allowing people to try different approaches to meeting the needs of their fellows, allowing the people who have those needs to choose among the options they are offered, and allowing those choices to matter so that successes are retained and failures go away. These three steps—experimentation, evaluation, and evolution—offer a kind of general recipe for addressing complex social problems while respecting human liberty and acknowledging the limits of human knowledge and power.

Representing the competing camp, generally considered Libertarian-populism or in Charles Cooke's formulation "Conservatarian", is Ben Domenich.

As the 21st Century conservatism's most industrious public intellectual and the leading voice for reform conservatism, Yuval Levin has presented a thoughtful and philosophically consistent essay underpinning the disparate ideas that have come to be regarded as the "reform conservative" agenda. He attempts a challenging feat: to offer a coherent and an inspirational case for what are effectively a series of dry public policy white papers. But when you set Levin's deep understanding of conservatism alongside the modern poll-tested policy bullet points of reform conservatism, the weakness of the reformocon agenda become readily apparent. Levin's lofty governing philosophy is at odds with the incongruent grab bag of policies that reformocons offer.

...

Levin's essay is infused with this tension. In the first half, we see expressions of common ground with those who believe in limited government: man is fallible and private institutions and markets are best. But in the second half, the policy approaches favor more activist government—which is run by man and inherently non-market—"to help society address the challenges it faces... and give people more reasons to play active roles in their communities." These two views cannot be reconciled, and no amount of "market-oriented" language—in reform conservatism as in Romneycare and Obamacare—can address government's inherent and fundamental flaws.

You really should read both articles and the rest in the series. This is an important debate going on and whichever candidate you wind up supporting in the primary is likely to broadly fall into one of these camps. Well, there's a third camp, the business friendly go-along get along GOP we all know and hate. But enough about Jeb.

Neither essay is terribly long (combined they are shorter than the traditional AoS movie review) but it was hard to pull a reasonable sampling of both because they cover a lot of important ground.

As you might guess, I'm in the Domench camp (save the libertarian love of nearly unfettered immigration). The faith "reformicons" place in nimble and responsive government doesn't exist in the real world. You can say the federal government will simply be a supportive player writing checks to worthy groups but the reality is always different. Government is control and control is destruction. There is no reforming it, there is no guiding it into wise and benevolent action. It's a wild beast that must be kept away from important and breakable things. You can never turn your back on it and you can never give those who claim to be able to use it in way you'll like an inch. It will quickly morph into a mile and you won't like the results. The "mediating institutions" that partner with the reform conservative style of government will find out it's a lot like partnering with the current style of government and they won't like it.

As our Andy so wonderfully put it, the ratchet only ever turns one way. Either you have faith in individuals to be the judge of their desires and the best ways to realize them or you think the government does. It's much more of a zero-sum game than proponents of government "help" on the left and right will ever admit.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:49 AM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Martinus Rørbye, "A Loggia at Procida" (1835)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:16 AM Comments

Morning Thread (5-21-2015)

—Andy

Every thread's better when it's posted from Texas. That's just #Science right there.

Posted by Andy at 06:29 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (5-20-2015)

—Maetenloch

Quote of the Day I

Only under the peculiarities of America's mainstream media could you have an interviewer interviewing a man who has written a book disclosing the dodgy donations to the Clinton Foundation without the interviewer disclosing that he himself is a donor to the foundation.

-- Mark Steyn

Quote of the Day II

No, members of the mainstream media are presumptively hacks, and the pain and misery they endure as their organizations convulse and die should inspire laughter and joy. Sure, there are honest reporters out there, but that's only a fluke of statistics. There have to be some, if only because of the random vagaries of chance. They can get real jobs with the new media. But in general, MSM members' pain is our gain.

Remember, they hate us. Hate us. They don't merely not care about us. They don't simply misunderstand us. They hate what we think. They hate how we live. They hate what we believe. They hate us.

-- Kurt Schlichter

Quote of the Day III

What doesn't kill me, makes me sadder.

-- Victor Davis Hanson in Pathei Mathos

Quote of the Day IV

"Fancy a rump?"

-- The irresistible pick-up line of Welsh ladiesman, Mike Holpin, who's managed to father 'around 40' children, support none of them, and avoid having to have a jay-oh-bee for 13 years running. His secret weapons? Plenty of Fish, lowered standards, Costanza-ism, and an utter lack of shame.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 11:12 PM Comments

Liberals: We Just Can't Tell If David Letterman is Liberal Or Not

—Ace

No? Really?

You could compare his extremely hostile interviews with Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh -- in one he snapped, without smiling, that what O'Reilly was saying sounded like pure "bullshit" -- with his fawning, Tell Me More interviews with Rachel Maddow and undisclosed (but obvious) liberals like Brian "Chopper Warrior" Williams and Tom Brokaw.



Tonight is Letterman's last show. And thank God. I'm sicking of reading media types churn out obligatory stories about how great Letterman was, without understanding why he was great.

Or... when he was great, which was approximately from 1982 to 1986 and barely ever since then.

Rush Limbaugh predicted that Letterman would fail at 11:30. He made this prediction even when Letterman was, get this, Number One at 11:30.

He said the people currently watching Letterman were not comedy fans, and did not get or like Letterman's (stale by then) transgressive, undermining comedy. He said they were watching just because the Media Elites had made such a big deal about Letterman being the Hip and Cool talk show host, and wanted to be Hip and Cool themselves.

He said Letterman would lose this audience and start losing to Leno. Again, he said this during the first few months of Letterman's show, when he was not only beating Leno, but beating him handily.

I didn't agree with Limbaugh then because I was a fan of Letterman's and wanted him to succeed.

I mean, I read The Late Shift like five times, and watched the movie ten times, and every time I watched it hoped it would have a different ending, where Dave gets the Tonight Show after all.

I thought Limbaugh was being churlish, perhaps jealous.

But you know what happened, right? Within a few months, Leno went ahead of Letterman and Letterman's ratings dropped to be well behind Leno's, and they would remain there, practically forever. (Very rarely, Letterman would win a week when he had on a big guest and Leno had on repeats.)

It was incredible, how Limbaugh had absolutely nailed that. I was really shocked, and I've always remembered Limbaugh's cynical prescience on that point.

One thing that helped the Limbaugh Prediction come to be: Letterman's disastrous Oscar hosting gig. That's when Letterman had the biggest audience of his life... and cemented the idea that he was Comedy For Other People.

Once Letterman had been humbled by that -- and no longer appeared to be the Hot New Thing -- people started watching Leno.

And he was terrible on the Oscars, even for someone who was still then a fan.

One of the types of comedy Letterman has long been far too enamored with is Time-Wasting Anti-Comedy. In the early days of his show, Letterman got a lot of laughs by doing pointless, time-wasting (and sometimes budget-wasting) stunts.

The best of these were things like Throwing Objects Off a Fifth Floor Roof, or throwing himself, in a suit of Velcro, at a Velcro wall to see if he would stick. (He did, in fact. Science!)

The worst of these was Letterman just wasting time, having pointless chats with Schaeffer (Letterman would probably claim the pointlessness *was* the point, or some stupid meta-comedy conceit like that), or, as Norm MacDonald wickedly parodied him, just repeating the same word over and over, believing that if he said "Ehhhh.... Got some gum?" enough times, it would become funny.

Letterman got away with this in his early days because the show's conceit was that the whole thing was an elaborate prank on the network, that they had no business being on TV, and that they were wasting the network's time and money by staging this deliberately stupid, pointless show.

It made you think -- if you were young, and fan -- like you were in on the joke, and that you were right there alongside Dave wasting precious Network Minutes and Dollars for this lame thing.

Here's what the Oscars did, though, at least for me: Letterman's time-wasting nonsense -- his "Oprah... Uma" introductions (between Winfrey and Thurman) that went on for two minutes and then was repeated later in the show -- finally made me see the light:

Letterman wasn't just wasting The Network's time with this sort of so-unfunny-it's-funny (but actually not) non-material.

He was wasting my time, too.

All long I thought I'd been in on the joke.

Suddenly, I realized: No, I was not in on the joke. I was in on one joke, the superficial one about vengeance against the network, but definitely not in on the deeper joke, the real joke.

The real joke is that while Letterman's show was gleefully slapdash, I was still a prisoner of it five nights a week, and voluntarily so.

The real truth was -- and perhaps Letterman intended us to understand this; and perhaps he should be praised for trying to make us understand this -- was that if you were watching TV, you were wasting your time.

Now I don't want to say that Letterman was never funny. He was -- at least I thought so. He was hugely funny.

But the thing is, all this media praise being directed at Letterman...? All the bits people are talking about -- the Top Ten, Stupid Human Tricks, Throwing Objects Off a Five Story Building, the Velcro Suit, the monstrously funny bits with Chris Elliot --

All of these were from the show's first five or six years of existence.

He's been coasting on his past glories ever since. Shit, the Top Ten hasn't been funny in twenty years. I do not know why they bother doing it still, except that it's a habit and it wastes three minutes of network time.

I can think of one funny gag Letterman has done "lately," and by "lately," I mean like sixteen years ago. That's when he had some odd-looking guy go around saying rude things to people; Letterman would tell him the rude thing to say through his earpiece, and the guy would say the rude thing.

That bit was funny. It was also reminiscent of the Jerky Boys and the Man Show Boy.

And like I say, that was sixteen years ago.

So what has he done, really, for twenty four years?

I'm not just not a fan of Letterman anymore; I actively dislike him. He used to seem amusingly cranky, but over the years, I saw this more as being truly sour, bitter, self-pitying, smug, and contemptuous.

I can't tell you how much it put me off when he was still bitter about not getting the NBC gig, still doing not-funny "jokes" (which were not jokes, but real barbs) about it on his CBS show, two years after it all happened.

Dude, you're getting paid $15 million a year. Get over it, or at least do what the rest of us do with Our Shit, which is hide it so that people don't have to see us airing Our Shit all the time.

And then, of course, the cheating, the intern, the out of wedlock child, the weird marriage (which he all but openly confessed on camera he wasn't that into, as if I, or anyone else, needed to know that), and more and more overt (and contemptuous) expressions of his bitter-hearted leftism.

As Letterman grew older, he decided that there was more to him than just the wiseacre who could crack snide about Hormel hams.

There had to be, right?

And especially after the heart surgery, he felt both freed and yet obligated to share The Real Dave with the world.

Well, I never really wanted to know The Real Dave. Even back when I was a raving fanboy, I was savvy enough to guess that The Real Dave was as prickly a dick as he pretended to be on TV.

And he was. And now I got to hear about his politics, and his open contempt for anyone who thought like me, twice a month.

Although, increasingly, then entirely, I only heard about this contempt second-hand, from sources like Newsbusters, because I had stopped watching him.

Letterman was seriously funny for five or six years. No one who is funny can deny he was funny.

But after that initial burst of creativity -- a burst which owed a great deal to off-kilter comedic minds like that of his onetime girlfriend Merrill Markoe, or the gifted, bizarre homonculous Chris Elliott -- he stopped trying to be fresh and new and just started putting in the hours for a paycheck.

The man has been phoning it in for at least twenty years.

Yeah, he got off to a great start. But then he did nothing for twenty years.

Tonight, Dave Letterman retires.

But he quit a long time ago.


Posted by Ace at 07:57 PM Comments

Atrocious: FoxNews Will Limit Debate Participation to Ten, Based On... The Polls

—Ace

What the hell good are the polls right now? People don't know enough to make informed judgments yet. That is the point of a debate -- and that's the point of a first debate, surely.

We are in the very beginnings of this process, and FoxNews is using polls of uninformed people (and I don't mean that negatively; most of us are uniformed at this point) to decide who is allowed to run for President.

And yes, this poll -- based on nothing but name recognition -- will in fact knock five or six people out of the contest entirely. Once you're excluded from a debate, you are labeled "fringe" forever -- and good luck trying to get free media, volunteers, and donors once you've been labeled fringe.

It is not the point of a news organization to make the news -- as FoxNews would be doing here. Based on their silly, meaningless polls, they would declare ten candidates as viable, and five or six non-viable.

Among those who'd be excluded at the moment: Bobby Jindal, long considered the future of the party, and generally acknowledged to be among the most policy-savvy in the entire party.

Rick Perry, former governor of the state that's responsible for half the new jobs in America since Obama's inauguration. I know Perry shit the bed last time, but he says that was due to just getting off back surgery and being on pain pills, and I'd like to know if that's true or not. Because if he's sharper now -- he's a real good candidate.

Carly Fiorina, former HP executive with a great biography and, she says, a thirst for Hillary Clinton's corrupt, murky blood. Well, she doesn't put it that way, but she says she can take her on.

These are serious candidates. Fox is proposing to exclude them, why?

Just to have a "normal" debate where all the candidates are on the stage at once?

For one thing, this isn't a normal year. We have a lot of serious candidates. So do we stick with the usual, or do we adjust our practices to take into consideration the unusualness of this season?

I think the latter. My proposal is that they split debate night into two panels, over two nights. (Or two panels on one night-- but that would be a long night, with around three hours total debate time plus time in between.)

The top six in the polls would do a random draw to be split between the panels, three and three. Everyone else would do another random draw to determine which panel they'd be in.

You'd end up having about 6-8 people per panel, which is a workable number.

Note that the Fox "solution" solves little -- having ten people on the stage, answering the same questions, will be a huge clusterf*ck! It's barely an improvement over having fifteen -- do the math. Assuming about an hour, all told, answering questions (once the questions themselves, commercials, and basic traffic direction are excluded), ten people would have about six minute each to answer questions.

Fifteen people would have four minutes each.

So we're fighting to get "four minutes of actual answers per candidate" up to six minutes?

This is an exceptional year in Republican politics, and conservative thinking, because virtually everything is up for grabs.

In the last post, I talked about the Patriot Act. The party is split between some who want the full Patriot Act back, some who want the USA Freedom Act, and some who want the entire program scrapped as an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.

There has not been an open debate between wildly divergent points of view like that in... forever?

At least since Reagan.

And it's not just that -- some ex-Republicans, like myself, actively want to increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations. (Well, I don't want cuts for them, at least.) My reasoning? I'm tired of the Ruling Class fucking over the rest of the party except when it comes to one thing, their taxation levels. I'm interested in some punishment, some discipline, and a message going forward.

I don't get yelled at a lot when I propose this, either.

This is an extremely fluid time in American politics, at least on the wide-open right, and it is precisely at this time that we do not need an Establishment, Corporatist entity like Fox artificially gaming the field just so that the future of our nation can fit into the Time Slot allotted to it.

“We support and respect the decision Fox has made, which will match the greatest number of candidates we have ever had on a debate stage,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

Of course you do, Reince. Because the important thing is to keep the party nice and corporate and orderly, right?

The Republican Party needs to have a debate. We should have that debate, instead of falling into our customary pattern of letting the Establishment, Corporatist Ruling Class decided the parameters of our debate for us, so we can choose between Option A and Pretty Much Just Like Option A Option B.

Fox News should have a debate with all the candidates. All of them. And if that means tweaking the all-important convention, then so be it.

Posted by Ace at 06:38 PM Comments

Chelsea Clinton Will "Publish" Her First Book

—Ace

The first of many, I assume. She obviously has so much to say, and such a zest and charisma in saying it.

I note the New York Times says she will "publish" her first book. I guess they're leaving it an open question as to whether she will be writing this gem.

It's a children's book. Chelsea Clinton's whole schtick, until she began flacking for her mother (who is atrocious and vile), was to do vague, nondenominational uplift. She did that type of shit on NBC, celebrating "real heroes" or something in America, or whatever, who knows. Who watched?

Anyway they fired her for that, because no one wants to pay a Yawning Black Hole of Unwatchable Anti-Charisma $600,000 a year to do stories about a Lost Dog That Found Its Way Home.

Her "book," if I can call it that, will be more of that.

Her book, "It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going," is aimed at readers ages 10 to 14, said Penguin Random, which plans to publish it in September.

In a press release, Ms. Clinton said she intended to use the book to "try to explain what I think are some of the biggest challenges facing our world today, particularly for young people" and to "explore some of the solutions to those challenges."

All this is is politico-corporate empty buzzwording. "Challenges." "Explore." "Solutions."

Action Items! Blue-sky imagining! Power-verbing! Toolbox-Nouning!

This is progressive grant-proposal-writing, but directed towards the publishing industry.

If this suggests to you What Color is Your Parachute?, it suggested that to the book's mock-up cover artist, too.


Wow! Look at all that color! So diverse!

Why, it's almost as diverse as the Foundation for Clintons staff.


Posted by Ace at 05:40 PM Comments

Rand Paul Currently Filibustering the Reauthorization of the Patriot Act

—Ace

CSPAN has live video.

There are three alternatives before Congress.

1, reauthorize the Patriot Act, including Section 215, which has been claimed to authorize Obama's mass records collection, subpoenaing every 90 days the metadata/call logs of every single citizen in America.

Note that the principle author of the Patriot Act, James Sensenbrenner, says that he never imagined Section 215 could possibly have this meaning. And a federal court has ruled this executive "interpretation" as an unconstitutional aggrandizement of executive power.

Also note that the plan is to explicitly authorize the mass collection of data in this new version of the law. Thus, the court's finding that it was unconstitutional, as an impermissible "interpretation" of the law, would be moot. The law would now specifically authorize the president to collect All the Records.

2, dump the Patriot Act and pass instead the USA FREEDOM Act. "USA Freedom" is a long, stupid backronym (making up an "acronym" from words you pick just to get the "acronym," like SHIELD, in the movies) that says something about ending mass records collection.

USA Freedom would direct the phone companies -- which have your information anyway, as they must -- to store the data formerly (?) collected under Section 215 for a long period. The US could then subpoena needed records from the phone companies, not in a mass collection, it is averred, but rather seeking only those records responsive to specific search terms.

3. Let the Patriot Act lapse, and do not pass USA Freedom as a substitute -- essentially, stop the NSA from collecting phone records, and also permit the phone companies to continue destroying them after a fairly short period of time.

I know some harder-core civil libertarians who support number 3. I don't.

I remember 9/11. And I remember that on 9/11, we all remembered the Church Committee. The Church Committee was a congressional inquiry in the 1970s to expose CIA wrongdoing in the previous two or three decades and prevent any of it from happening again.

What it was was a great overreaction -- America does not seem to react, only overreact -- which is widely believed to have damaged our intelligence-gathering and hence made us more vulnerable to 9/11 itself.

Now, that's a convenient narrative, which I'm sure is favored by the spooks who let us down before 9/11. The CIA never blames itself for losing an intelligence war; the fault is always that of Congress or the American people, for not giving it X surveillance power and Y means of targeting American residents.

But I do think it is substantially true. And I hear a lot of conservatives, deeply (and justifiably) suspicious of Obama and the Enemy State he rules over, wishing to limit the government's power to harass its citizens.

A government fully empowered to harass terrorists can also use that same power to harass its dissident citizens -- the ultimate terrorists, in the eyes of the power structure.

On the other hand:

A government crippled from ever even having the means of harassing its citizens can also never harass terrorists.

I just see a replay of the 1970s here. The post-9/11 overreaction will be "corrected" with an equally great overreaction in the other direction -- and then, after a major terrorist mass-casualty attack, we'll all go through the same process of overreacting the other way again.

I think it's important that this data be available, somewhere, in the case of a Ticking Time Bomb scenario. Which I think is a completely plausible scenario, and not some kind of wild fiction, as the many unimaginative dullards on the left believe it is.

(Always remember: If it hasn't happened before, it can't happen in the future! Muslim terrorists will never have the atomic bomb, even though the technology is more readily available every day that passes, because they haven't had it in the past!

That's #Science for the #StupidlyUnimaginative!)

Two years ago, when all of this broke, I proposed on the podcast that we pass a law requiring the telecom companies to preserve this data for long periods of time so that it would be available should the need arise.

That struck me as a decent enough proposal then, and it still strikes me as a decent proposal.

I'm told by those in the know that there are "still problems with USA Freedom." Whether they mean it permits the government to do too much, or permits it too little, I don't know.

But those who know also tell me it can be fixed by amendments and it will undergo further changes when (if) the House and Senate reconcile their own versions in conference.

I can't support Section 215 -- an illegal power grab by a paranoid and unbound executive -- but neither can I pretend, as some seem to, that the terrorist threat is over, and maybe never existed, and maybe was just something Dick Cheney made up.

It wasn't. It isn't.

So I support Paul's filibuster of the Patriot Act. Of course, establishment types like Mitch McConnell support renewing the Patriot Act, and adding in explicit authority to do that which Obama has previously simply assumed, because of course Republicans want the government to be as big and powerful as their Democrat counterparts do.

And I support the flawed USA FREEDOM bill, as atrocious as that stupid JV PR branding effort is, as a reasonable compromise.

Update: Mike Lee is now talking about the Church Committee (as part of Paul's filibuster).

Yes, this is because I'm psychic.

Posted by Ace at 04:23 PM Comments

#Science: Co-Author of Sociological Study on Attitudes Towards Homosexuality Retracts His Part of the Paper, After "Irregularities" In His Co-Author's Data Collection Are Exposed

—Ace

I can't swear to it, but this is sounding like a Michael "Arms in America" Belleiles situation, with #Science taking a backseat to political agitation.

This Washington Post story (which I got from Hot Air, of course) makes this all sound much less interesting than I think it actually is.

First, let's talk about the political agenda of the survey, which seems to be designed to push the idea that people's ideas about homosexuality can be fairly easily changed if a gay advocate just talks with them about it.

The study purported to show the ease with which peoples' minds can be changed on the subject of same-sex marriage after short conversations, particularly with gay advocates. It was described as being based on survey research conducted in California after voters passed Proposition 8, the referendum that banned same-sex marriage in the state and that has since been struck down by the courts.

...

The study attracted widespread attention in part because it seemed to fly in the face of conventional wisdom and scholarship about how people cling to their own points of view, sometimes regardless of what they read or hear to the contrary.

"One conversation can change minds on same-sex marriage, study finds," was the headline in The Washington Post reporting the conclusions in December.

"Gay political canvassers can soften the opinions of voters opposed to same-sex marriage by having a brief face-to-face discussion about the issue, researchers reported Thursday," a New York Times report said. "The findings could have implications for activists and issues across the political spectrum, experts said."

The paper got linked and discussed all over the place.

Now, one of the co-authors, Donald P. Green, is retracing the paper, and essentially accuses his co-author of... well, the Washington Post soft-plays it as "irregularities."


Green said two University of California-Berkeley graduate students who had attempted their own research "brought to my attention a series of irregularities that called into question the integrity of the data we present."

The other author, Michael J. LaCour, says, in a Hillary-like way, that he looks forward to addressing these concerns.

If you turn to the paper which discovered these "irregularities," you'll soon see the authors there aren't accusing LaCour of mere "irregularities."

The way I read this, is that they're accusing him of outright fabrication.

Here are some excerpts:

Summary

We report a number of irregularities in the replication dataset posted for LaCour and Green (Science, “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality,” 2014) that jointly suggest the dataset (LaCour 2014) was not collected as described. These irregularities include baseline outcome
data that is statistically indistinguishable from a national survey and over-time changes that are unusually small and indistinguishable from perfectly normally distributed noise. Other elements of the dataset are inconsistent with patterns typical in randomized experiments and survey responses and/or inconsistent with
the claimed design of the study.

A straightforward procedure may generate these anomalies nearly exactly: for both studies reported in the paper, a random sample of the 2012 Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project (CCAP) form the baseline data and normally distributed noise are added to simulate follow-up waves.

I don't know exactly what they mean there, but I think -- think -- they're saying that they suspect the author took an already-available dataset and artificially added some "noise" to make it seem like a new or different study.*

Here's why I think that:

Timeline of Disclosure

• January - April, 2015. Broockman and Kalla were impressed by LaCour and Green (2014) and wanted to extend the article's methodological and substantive discoveries. We began to plan an extension. We sought to form our priors about several design parameters based on the patterns in the original data on which the paper was based, LaCour (2014).

As we examined the study's data in planning our own studies, two features surprised us: voters' survey responses exhibit much higher test-retest reliabilities than we have observed in any other panel survey data, and the response and reinterview rates of the panel survey were significantly higher than we expected.

We set aside our doubts about the study and awaited the launch of our pilot extension to see if we could manage the same parameters. LaCour and Green were both responsive to requests for advice about design details when queried.

• May 6, 2015. Broockman and Kalla launch a pilot of the extension study.

• May 15, 2015. Our initial questions about the dataset arose as follows. The response rate of the pilot study was notably lower than what LaCour and Green (2014) reported. Hoping we could harness the same procedures that produced the original study's high reported response rate, we attempt to contact the survey firm we believed had performed the original study and ask to speak to the staffer at the firm who we believed helped perform Study 1 in LaCour and Green (2014). The survey firm claimed they had no familiarity with the project and that they had never had an employee with the name of the staffer we were asking for. [!!! -- ace] The firm also denied having the capabilities to perform many aspects of the recruitment procedures described in LaCour and Green (2014).

Details omitted. Skipping ahed.

. • May 18-9, 2015. Green conveys to Aronow and Broockman that LaCour has been confronted and has confessed to falsely describing at least some of the details of the data collection. The authors of this report are not familiar with the details of these events.

So there's your #Science for you.

Whenever Science gets into bed with Politics, Science winds up taking it up the ass and then being kicked out the door at 3 am like a dirty smelly whore.

* I think that the original "researcher," LaCour, claimed to have conducted a survey about attitudes about homosexuality in the Los Angeles area, then used that as his baseline for his subsequent see-if-talking-to-people-changes-their-mind test.

However, what the authors of the paper pointing out these "irregularities" are saying, I think, is that LaCour actually conducted no Los Angeles area study to establish a baseline, but instead just took some already-existing national data and claimed it to be his Los Angeles study.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 02:41 PM Comments

Evidence Suggests That MORE -- an ACORN Successor Group -- Paid "Protesters" to "Protest" in Ferguson

—Ace

Hashtag #CutTheChecks.

Apparently MORE is angering "protesters" by not paying them as they say they were promised.

On May 14, protesters, upset with not being paid their promised checks for protesting, protested outside MORE, Missourians Organizing For Reform and Empowerment, an ACORN organization which had received funding through George Soros to fund the protests.

Meanwhile, an anonymous protester is pushing back against Emma Sulkowicz's "neurotic attention-seeking" -- carrying her (dubious) "rape mattress" to her graduation ceremony (and to the stage) -- by posting posters of her with the legend "Pretty Little Liar."


Posted by Ace at 01:23 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Edgar Alwin Payne, "The Rendezvous" (1915)

Posted by rdbrewer at 11:06 AM Comments

McConnell: The House NSA Bill Could Make Us Go Dark

—rdbrewer

The Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That seems pretty straightforward. It means that the Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. What gave rise to the Fourth Amendment in colonial times was Britain issuing writs of assistance. This was a form of a general or blanket search warrant, giving officials the right to search anywhere and anytime for smuggler's goods. And the writs were in effect open-ended, because who was going to ensure they were used only for smuggler's goods? They led to tremendous abuse, of course, because people are rotten.

The geniuses who framed the Constitution put a stop to all that and restrained governmental overreach as set out above in the Fourth Amendment. Authorities could still search, but they needed probable cause and a search warrant.

The House NSA bill seeks to end warrantless data collection. But according to Senator McConnell, the House NSA bill could make us go dark. Isn't that a little silly? We were not "dark" before the digital age, and those who would like to see bulk data collection eliminated are not talking about eliminating lawful searches or shutting down the NSA. We only recently gained the power to keep tabs on just about everyone. The digital age made that exceedingly easy. It is this new power law enforcement and statists like McConnell want to keep. But they're not interested in abiding by the Constitution and obtaining search warrants; they want to keep the power to search anyone's "papers and effects" as if the Fourth Amendment doesn't exist.

Continue reading


Posted by rdbrewer at 09:35 AM Comments

Open thread

—BenK

Wait here

Posted by BenK at 08:02 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (5-19-2015) – Under-Handicapped and Dangerous Edition

—Maetenloch

Well since Ace is going to slack off on a Tuesday, I figure I could do the same. So here's a short story to entertain you.

The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel's cheeks, but she'd forgotten for the moment what they were about.

On the television screen were ballerinas.

A buzzer sounded in George's head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.

"That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did," said Hazel.

"Huh" said George.

"That dance-it was nice," said Hazel.

"Yup," said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren't really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn't be handicapped. But he didn't get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts.

George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas.

Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself, she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.

"Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer," said George.

"I'd think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds," said Hazel a little envious. "All the things they think up."

"Um," said George.

"Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?" said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. "If I was Diana Moon Glampers," said Hazel, "I'd have chimes on Sunday-just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion."

"I could think, if it was just chimes," said George.

"Well-maybe make 'em real loud," said Hazel. "I think I'd make a good Handicapper General."

"Good as anybody else," said George.

"Who knows better than I do what normal is?" said Hazel.

"Right," said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one-gun salute in his head stopped that.

"Boy!" said Hazel, "that was a doozy, wasn't it?"

It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling, and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples.

"All of a sudden you look so tired," said Hazel. "Why don't you stretch out on the sofa, so's you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch." She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around George's neck. "Go on and rest the bag for a little while," she said. "I don't care if you're not equal to me for a while."

George weighed the bag with his hands. "I don't mind it," he said. "I don't notice it any more. It's just a part of me."

"You been so tired lately-kind of wore out," said Hazel. "If there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls. Just a few."

"Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out," said George. "I don't call that a bargain."

"If you could just take a few out when you came home from work," said Hazel. "I mean-you don't compete with anybody around here. You just sit around."

"If I tried to get away with it," said George, "then other people'd get away with it-and pretty soon we'd be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn't like that, would you?"

"I'd hate it," said Hazel.

"There you are," said George. The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?"

If Hazel hadn't been able to come up with an answer to this question, George couldn't have supplied one. A siren was going off in his head.

"Reckon it'd fall all apart," said Hazel.

"What would?" said George blankly.

"Society," said Hazel uncertainly. "Wasn't that what you just said?

"Who knows?" said George.

The television program was suddenly interrupted for a news bulletin. It wasn't clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen."

He finally gave up, handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read.

"That's all right-" Hazel said of the announcer, "he tried. That's the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard."

"Ladies and Gentlemen," said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred pound men.

And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. "Excuse me-" she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.

"Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen," she said in a grackle squawk, "has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous."

Continued below.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:52 PM Comments

Open Thread

—Ace

Sorry, I'm just dragging today.

But here's an optimistic note: Josh Earnest says that Obama's counter-terrorism policy has been "an overall success," despite losing three key states to ISIS.

What would a failure look like?

Posted by Ace at 06:33 PM Comments

Hillary Clinton Refuses to Answer a Question from a Reporter, Preferring to Continue Talking to Her Plants

—Ace

Her "everyday Americans," I mean, who always turn out to be an assortment of Planned Parenthood Brand Managers, College Democrats, and one of her two obese, money-grubbing brothers.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 05:16 PM Comments

Ben Domenech: Lindsay Graham Is An Unhinged Kook Who Shouldn't Be Taken Seriously

—Ace

Read the excerpt at Hot Air or Ben Domenech's full article.

I think this is an important piece. Domenech is right; Lindsay Graham is afforded by media progressives as being an "adult in the room" on foreign policy, at least as far as those stupid Republicans go.

But why should he be?

As Domenech lays out, Graham has a very simple, direct, and clear idea of the farthest reach of Executive power: to wit, that there isn't one.

McCain and Graham both share this same conception of civilian society as basically the same as the military hierarchy: Our freedoms must always give way to the Organization's goals, and there is a definite chain of command, and he at the top is, for all intents and purposes, King.

And, of course, we should bomb everywhere on earth that troubles us, early and often.

I think the progressives credit Graham as an "adult in the room" for this very reason that Domenech identifies: Graham's concept of government and society is precisely the same as the progressives' -- we are not important; only acting collectively in the corporate whole can we achieve great things.

This is a conception of society that is abhorrent to the Republican tradition, never mind -- again, as Domenech points out -- the American Constitution itself.

The US military is a fantastic institution. Some who have served in it, like McCain, and, to a lesser extent, Graham, come away with a more profound respect for it than any civilian could have.

However, we are in fact civilians, and if we wanted to serve in an armed forces, we would volunteer. Grahamism is a philosophy which blurs the lines between solider and civilian in very much the same way that Lenin and Stalin did.

I respect the diminished liberty that soldiers have volunteered to live under in order to efficiently protect my life. However, my respect stops well short at embracing those diminishments of liberty for myself.

Related: Chris Christie says, regarding the NSA and Patriot Act, "you can't enjoy your civili liberties if you're in a coffin."

I'm not saying that puts him in Graham's Executive Uber Alles class of statist; but if I don't link this here, I won't link it at all. Christie is plainly no longer a threat to be president.


Posted by Ace at 04:11 PM Comments

Page Six: Chelsea Clinton Nearly As Loathsome as Her Vile Mother, Former Foundation for Clintons Insiders Aver

—Ace

Page Six.

Chelsea Clinton is so unpleasant to colleagues, she’s causing high turnover at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, sources say.

Several top staffers have left the foundation since Chelsea came on board as vice chairman in 2011.

"A lot of people left because she was there. A lot of people left because she didn't want them there," an insider told me. "She is very difficult."

Onetime CEO Bruce Lindsey was pushed upstairs to the position of chairman of the board two years ago, so that Chelsea could bring in her McKinsey colleague Eric Braverman.

..

Chelsea has embraced all the trappings of a corporate CEO, with a personal staff almost as big as her father's. "He has six. She has five," said my source.

Progressives and the media (but I repeat myself) keep suggesting that donations to the Foundation for Clintons weren't direct payoffs to the Clinton.

That's a lie. The Foundation for Clintons apparently pays for five or six man personal staff teams -- that's something like a $200,000 to $500,000 emolument for years.

Imagine this hypothetical: A charity wants to bring you aboard, part-time, as an officer. They say they can't pay you a salary. However, they will provide you with a personal staff of five people, pay for a car and a chauffeur, and pay for first-class travel all over the world as their corporate emissary.

In addition, you'd have a swank office at their headquarters. Corner office, 1000 square feet. A little secret sleeping room for when you just want to nap.

Would you say that there was no personal financial inducement in that offer?

Posted by Ace at 01:41 PM Comments

BREAKING: Men Like Beer And Attractive Women

—DrewM.

Guys! Guys! Think Progress has a major scoop....men go to places like Twin Peaks and Hooters to look at attractive women and not to have deep, meaningful conversations with the waitresses.

Game Status: Changed!

Twin Peaks attributes its success to a basic understanding of the sexes. “Men are simple creatures and so you don’t have to get too crazy to get them in the door,” Kristen Colby, the director of marketing for Twin Peaks franchise, told the Huffington Post earlier this year. She said that beer, sports, and beautiful women are all it takes.

Fact check says: No shit.

TP seems to think this is insulting...to men.

But the restaurant chain’s internal memo aimed at “guys-guys” is a reminder that deeply entrenched gender roles can also impact men. In a society where men are assumed to be “simple creatures” who never want to talk about they’re thinking or feeling, there isn’t a lot of room for more nuanced explorations of masculinity — something that researchers confirm has demonstrably negative consequences for men’s health.

It's not that men "never" want to have serious conversations. It's that they don't really want to have them at a downscale chain restaurant with women they don't know and probably wouldn't come across in any other situation.

The idea that men will be insulted that marketers are capitalizing on the idea we have egos and like to have them stroked (even in a phony way) by hot women to escape the pressure of the day is laughable. This is why guys GO TO PLACES LIKE THIS. It's a feature, not a bug. The only people who are surprised by the nature of the transaction at work here are the type of people who write and read Think Progress.

Liberals want to control every aspect of your life but so much of what they believe only makes sense if you know nothing about basic human behavior and have never met any actual human beings.

Posted by DrewM. at 01:21 PM Comments

How To Solve The Crowded GOP Debate Stage Problem

—DrewM.

At last count everyone who has ever held office as a Republican is running for President. This creates a problem for the RNC, which had hoped to stage manage a nice clean set of debates followed by a quick primary season.

Best laid plans and all of that.

So now everyone is worried about how you fit 12-15 (or more) candidates on a stage and give them enough time to make it worth while. I mean, what can you glean from a candidate who has maybe 3 minutes total over the course of a two hour debate to trade barbs with other candidates and the moderators?

There are lots of solutions being proposed from limiting the field (which is tough since polling is so close and even candidates with almost no support are relatively accomplished figures with some following/notoriety) to ditching the moderators and letting the scrum sort itself out to just rolling with big fields.

Here's my idea: Kill the debates.

These are not debates in any sense of the word. Even in the no-moderator format it's just going to be a bunch of people trying to one up each other with quips that will make the cable news shows and if they are lucky get played on Rush Limbaugh.

So what to do? Candidate forums. Just bring out each candidate and let them respond to two or three questions from a panel of conservative journalists and/or policy experts. Jim DeMint hosted one of these on Labor Day 2011 to great effect. There's no reason it can't be replicated.

You'd still have time constraints but I'd rather have someone like Rand Paul, Rick Perry or Scott Walker, spend 3-5 minutes straight answering a handful of questions with the spotlight on them than the Gong Show type spectacles we've seen the last few go rounds.

Since the candidates wouldn't be responding to each other, you could then break the field up and hold the events over two nights. It wouldn't matter who got to go night one or night two since there wouldn't be any group dynamic to even out. Do a couple of rounds of these and you'll really see the candidates in action. You can go back to the tradition nonsense or the moderatorless format once the field starts to thin out.

If cable networks didn't want to devote this much time, ditch them. There are plenty of ways to reach even the non-base voters that don't involve CNN. But I think they'd be open to it because it's not like they are going to have any Democratic debates to show. There's no way Hillary agrees to the same number as we saw in 2008 or even as many as the GOP has already agreed to.

Either treat these events as a real opportunity to see how the people who want to be President respond to questions conservatives care about or ditch them entirely. Just please spare us the clown shows.

Posted by DrewM. at 11:49 AM Comments

Area Liberal Pundit: Being A Conservative Means You Have To Defend Every Government Program

—DrewM.

Ryan Cooper (not Rory Cooper who you should totally follow to make up for my screw up) is a liberal who thinks he’s got a rather clever way to embarrass conservatives into supporting Amtrak (via Hot Air Headlines).

But Republicans, as the ostensible party of conservatism, have an obligation to consider the extant fact of Amtrak, which is a critical institution for millions of Americans. By supposed conservative principles, it is not appropriate to sacrifice the current needs of existing people in pursuit of an ideological utopia.

Michael Oakeshott famously described the conservative temperament as follows:

To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss. [On Being Conservative]

From there he launches into not only why conservatives must not only leave Amtrak alone but actually increase funding for it.

This is typical liberalism. All big government gains are locked in forever and always, while any conservative gains (such as tax cuts) are always on the table to be negotiated.

Here’s the problem with Cooper’s use of Oakeshott, he’s relying on philosophical conservatism when Amtrak is mostly an issue of political conservatism. They are related but not the same.

As a philosophy, conservatism is about caution. We tend to be leery of big sweeping promises to change complex systems and even the fundamental realities of human nature. We tend to think that society has evolved in a certain way based on innumerable unknowable examples of trial and error. We think it’s the height of folly and hubris to accept that a few self-appointed experts can order things better than the collective wisdom of free people attempting to maximize their personal liberty and happiness.

What conservative philosophy does not demand is the unthinking perpetuation of big government programs because “that’s what’s always been done.” This is especially true when “always” means “since 1971”.

Cooper himself admits that there are other successful models for running a railroad including, “mostly private [ownership] in Japan.” So what advocates of reforming and even privatizing Amtrak are calling for isn’t some wild experiment in bringing forth a libertarian Utopia. It’s simply acknowledging there are other models that would in fact serve people better (unless rail enthusiasts want to argue that Amtrak is superior to Japan’s rail system).

While conservative philosophy provides a cautionary note when faced with upsetting long held positions, it is not an unthinking philosophy that compels devotion to the status quo simply because "that's the way it is and has always been". While we are well served by recognizing the dangers and potential costs of change, it does not mean we should be cowed into supporting things we know to be wrong simply because at some point liberals had enough votes, usually with the help of Republicans, to enact something. We must also be able to discern how important the thing is and act accordingly.

For example, conservatives are rightly convinced there are many costs and unknown dangers to throwing over the traditional meaning of marriage on a whim. We were also right when we warned that overthrowing the health insurance market would lead to the exact problems we are seeing in terms of costs and access. It’s funny but liberals never credit conservatives with intellectual modesty in those case. Then conservatives are motivated by hate and a desire to kill the poor.

But the real foul Cooper is committing here is conflating conservative philosophy with conservative political programs.

“Conservative” in the American political sense tends to mean a vision for government that is more modest in terms of size and scope than establishment Republicans and their close relatives, Democrats and liberals. It’s a political program more in line with the constitutional limits placed on the federal government at the founding.

In the political sense, conservatives aren’t Philosopher Kings they are actual politicians and activists. While many of their positions are grounded in a conservative philosophy, the things they wish to conserve have been diluted or discarded. In the political arena, conservatives can and must be an offensive force, not simply wedded to the status quo. To deny that conservatives can advocate for political and policy change is to deny the legitimacy of any political action not approved of by the left.

In reality, political conservatives have an agenda that we want to see enacted. That the means to achieving these goals may sometimes be in tension with our philosophical beliefs and temperament should not be an excuse for inaction or require us to support policies we oppose.

Accepting that human nature is imperfect and often involves these kinds of tradeoffs and inconsistencies is also part of conservative philosophy. If we deny this and prize theoretical consistency over all other things in the political arena, we will always lose to those who prize nothing more than the accumulation of government power.

I understand why liberals, who give no thought to the damage their never ending appetite to expand government cause, want to enlist conservatives as their unthinking protectors. There’s no reason for us to actually agree to it.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:22 AM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Paul Gauguin, "Le Mas d'Arles" (1888)

Posted by rdbrewer at 09:13 AM Comments



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This week's guest: Andrew Stiles

MP3 Download | Stream | Ask The Blog | Archives
Filmmaker: Why Is Sex So Seldom Depicted in Real (Not-Entirely-Pornographic) Movies?
Here's my answer: Apart from matters of taste and discomfort that Neo-Neocon mentions, let me pose this question: In a movie about two people having sex, What is the conflict?

Apart from situations of coerced sex, there isn't any conflict in sex. Sex is a team effort. And drama is about conflict, not about two people working in tandem to achieve a shared goal.

Any film "about sex" must actually be about something else in order to have conflict -- love, betrayal, etc., etc., etc. -- but the sex itself will not involve conflict, and thus the sex itself will be extraneous to the actual story...

You can have conflict about sex, with a man discussing his sexual hangups with a psychologist, but there the arena will be the psychiatrist's office, not the bedroom...

Thus we tend to have two categories of movies: Those that do not depict actual sex, and pure pornography. Attempts to do a hybrid usually fail. Because there's simply no dramatic stakes in consensual sex, apart from "Will they both get off?"
"The quest for perfect consent is profoundly utopian. Like all such quests that ignore human realities, it points the way to dystopian nightmare."
Cathy Young hits on an important point -- the wild-eyed ideologues do not care about the way humans are, but only about what they think humans should be. Their crusades to pound and cut humans into more pleasing shapes are coercive, often violent, and always immiserating.
NY Times: 2 Women Moved to Write Stories Uncover a Surprisingly Personal One
Sisters reunited after 30 years. [rdbrewer]

Actual Headline: PETA Says This Bar’s Name Offends Chickens [rdbrewer]


FBI admits no major cases cracked with Patriot Act snooping powers
"FBI agents can’t point to any major terrorism cases they’ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Department’s inspector general said...." [rdbrewer]


Mark Hemingway: For Robert Downey Jr., Forgiveness Transcends Mistakes
"Would you rather live in Robert Downey Jr.’s world of ‘do unto others as you’d have them to do you,’ or The New Yorker’s, where any weakness is an excuse to write people off forever?" [rdbrewer]


Before ‘The Great Relearning,’ First We Need ‘The Great Unswaddling’
" RINO Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post, last seen helping grease the skids of the ultimate swaddled man-child to reach the White House by shivving Sarah Palin in the fall of 2008, appears to perhaps be on the verge of experiencing the aura of the penumbra of second thoughts over whom she helped bring to power and his negative impact on today’s college students." [rdbrewer]


Michael Bastasch: Former UN Lead Author: Global Warming Caused By ‘Natural Variations’ In Climate
"Global temperature change observed over the last hundred years or so is well within the natural variability of the last 8,000 years, according to a new paper by a former Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) lead author." [rdbrewer]
Ken White From Popehat Shares His Story Of Dealing With Depression. If you or someone you care about is in trouble please read it. There are options.
The Emma Sulkowicz Generation how to marginalize the very narrative you want to promote, use lies

"She traded her body for drugs—and kicks!"
Drudge Screamer: WI-FI MAKING PEOPLE SICK
I have wondered about this. We've suddenly gone from having almost none of these particular radio waves in our lives to bathing in their radiation 24/7... are we sure there are no medical effects?

'Star Trek: Captain Pike' Fan Film to Boldly Go to Pre-Kirk Enterprise
"A group of dedicated 'Star Trek' fans want to make a new movie, featuring a character from 'The Original Series' who was captain of the Enterprise before James T. Kirk. And they plan to have experienced 'Star Trek' actors taking part." [rdbrewer]
Emma Sulkowicz: Why Sure I'd Be Open To A Museum Giving Me Money For My Alleged Rape Mattress
PS I'm outraged anew that Columbia's president didn't shake my hand, even though I violated a specific directive not to bring "large objects" to the graduation ceremony
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