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April 23, 2014

Top Headline Comments 4-23-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Wednesday.

Wow, I don't think anyone expected Vox to be quite so unprofessional. Partisan, yes, but even partisan hacks on the left like to preserve their illusions of professionalism.

Here's a good recap of the Supreme Court action yesterday in the political campaign false statements case. "A serious First Amendment concern with a state law that requires you to come before a commission to justify what you are going to say," said Justice Kennedy.

Oh, and the self-proclaimed "perfect affirmative action baby" on the high court wrote a strident dissent in the college affirmative action case in which she equated supporters of ending racial preferences in college admissions with supporters of Jim Crow. She also attacked the Chief Justice for his 2007 statement "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." In response, he chides her: "People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate."

Prominent same-sex marriage advocates sign open letter rejecting the mob-mindedness that claimed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich.


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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:50 AM Comments



Overnight Open Thread (4-22-2014)

—Maetenloch

Mark Steyn: Happy Erf Day

burntire223

Yuval Levin on Confirmation Bias and Human Nature

A longish but worthwhile read.

American progressives have long contended that as social science enables us to overcome some of the limits of what we know, it should also be permitted to overcome the constitutional limits on what government may do. They take themselves to be an exception to the rule that all parties see only parts of the whole, and therefore an exception also to the ubiquity of confirmation bias, and so they demand an exception to the rule that no party should have too much raw power.

...But understanding human limitations does not mean we can overcome them. It only means we can't pretend they don't exist. It should point us toward humility, not hubris. And in politics and policy, understanding the limitation that Klein highlights should point us away from technocratic overconfidence and toward an idea of a government that enables society to address its problems through incremental, local, trial-and-error learning processes rather than centrally managed wholesale transformations of large systems.

The New Progressive Aristocracy

At least the old aristocracy had actual titles and were bound by rules and legal obligations.

chelsea-clintonsddf

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:21 PM Comments



Open Thread

—rdbrewer

Posted by rdbrewer at 09:33 PM Comments

Environmental Weenies Slam EPA for Wasteful, Carbon-Producing Travel on Earth Day of All Days

—Ace

Even weenies can have a point on occasion.

The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says the greenhouse gases generated by EPA administrator Gina McCarthy's week-long, five-city tour will "far exceed" any concrete action on climate change from her travels.

...

Ruch noted that some events on McCarthy’s itinerary have questionable ties to promoting climate action, such as joining Energy Secretary Moniz to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday's Red Sox vs. Yankees baseball game at Boston's Fenway Park.

Ruch said McCarthy is a frequent air traveler and has been criticized for commuting frequently back to her home in Boston. An agency official told The Daily Caller earlier this month that McCarthy sometimes drives home to Boston on the weekends, but the official did not specify how many times or the vehicle she uses.

Posted by Ace at 06:37 PM Comments

Income Instability: An Astonishing 12 Percent of All Americans Will Achieve At Least One Year of Earnings in the Top 1% in Their Lives

—Ace

The left likes talking about the "richest 1%" as if they are an easily-defined, permanently-existing superclass. They're not.

Professor Mark R. Rank of Washington University, co-author of Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes, tells a different story in a review of his own and others’ research in last Sunday’s New York Times. Far from having the 21st-century equivalent of an Edwardian class system, the United States is characterized by a great deal of variation in income: More than half of all adult Americans will be at or near the poverty line at some point over the course of their lives; 73 percent will also find themselves in the top 20 percent, and 39 percent will make it into the top 5 percent for at least one year. Perhaps most remarkable, 12 percent of Americans will be in the top 1 percent for at least one year of their working lives.

The top 1 percent, as I have noted here before, is such an unstable group that it makes no sense to write, as so many progressives do, about what has happened to its income over the past ten year or twenty years, because it does not contain the same group of people from year to year. Citing tax scholar Robert Carroll’s examination of IRS records, Professor Rank notes that the turnover among the super-rich (the top 400 taxpayers in any given year) is 98 percent over a decade — that is, just 2 percent of that elusive group remain there for ten years in a row. Among those earning more than $1 million a year, most earned that much for only one year of the nine-year period studied, and only 6 percent earned that much for the entire period.

The New York Times article by Professor Rank was published this Sunday. In addition to the eye-popping stats recapitulated by Williamson, he notes

Yet while many Americans will experience some level of affluence during their lives, a much smaller percentage of them will do so for an extended period of time. Although 12 percent of the population will experience a year in which they find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution, a mere 0.6 percent will do so in 10 consecutive years.

Note that's a little different from Williamson's "six percent" in all ten years, which was taken from a different study, and applies to millionaires. Rank's figure of 0.6 percent applies to the category of "top one percent," which is different from "millionaire."

Likewise, data analyzed by the I.R.S. showed similar findings with respect to the top 400 taxpayers between 1992 and 2009. While 73 percent of people who made the list did so once during this period, only 2 percent of them were on the list for 10 or more years. These analyses further demonstrate the sizable amount of turnover and movement within the top levels of the income distribution.

...

Ultimately, this information casts serious doubt on the notion of a rigid class structure in the United States based upon income. It suggests that the United States is indeed a land of opportunity, that the American dream is still possible — but that it is also a land of widespread poverty. And rather than being a place of static, income-based social tiers, America is a place where a large majority of people will experience either wealth or poverty — or both — during their lifetimes.

But, Income Inequality!

Posted by Ace at 05:31 PM Comments

Is Media Matters Helping "Produce" Stories for the Allegedly Mainstream Media?

—Ace

Sharyl Attkisson said that the "independent," non-partisan organization had helped "produce" stories for her, while at CBS, in the past -- but of course turned on her when she turned her investigative eye from George W. Bush to Barack H. Obama.

Media Matters issues a non-denial denial on this point -- they deny some things (which I'm not sure Attkisson even claimed) but not that they "help" to "produce" stories in the alleged mainstream media.

n the immediate wake of Attikson’s Sunday appearance, Media Matters elected only to respond to the assertion by Attkinson that she had been targeted by the organization:


Sharyl Attkisson is continuing a pattern of evidence-free speculation that started at the end of her tenure at CBS. We have never taken contributions to target her or any other reporter. Our decision to post any research on Attkisson is based only on her shoddy reporting.

Did Attkisson even make that claim in bold? I don't remember seeing it.

At any rate, while they deny something I'm not certain was even alleged, they fail to address whether this obviously-partisan organization is helping the networks with their narratives.

Yesterday, Media Matters doubled down on their repudiation of Attkisson’s suggestion they might have have targeted her, calling the claims “false.” Again, however, Media Matters failed to address the whole of Attkisson’s assertions.

In explaining away the targeting claims as baseless, Media Matters neglected to respond to the more subtle assertion by Attkisson that it worked with her, as she phrased it, “to help me produce my stories.”

I'm not sure if it's actually a big story that Media Matters "helps" reporters with their stories. Every advocacy organization under the sun does that.

But it Media Matters' refusal to even comment on this is interesting. Why the secrecy and evasiveness from an organization supposedly devoted to get the media to report the "real truth"?

Posted by Ace at 04:49 PM Comments

Shockingly, a Pro-Marxism Book by a Leftwing French Economist Has Taken America's Don't-Call-Them-Socialist Progressive Establishment By Storm

—Ace

I haven't read the book and don't plan to. I further don't believe I'd be able to critique it as I did-- while the book is written in layman's language, one would still need an advanced understanding of economics and statistical analysis to say it's right or wrong.

But it's a huge thing now, especially on the We're Not Socialists But Boy Do We Love Socialism left, so I thought I should at least post about it.

It's almost entirely about -- wait for it...! -- income inequality, and why that's bad, and why it will get worse unless we Do Something About It.

Robert J. Samuelson wrote about it, more or less approvingly, if a little skeptically in the end:

Piketty presents Scandinavian countries in the 1970s and ’80s as examples of “low inequality.” Still, the richest 10 percent commanded about 25 percent of national income and the poorest 50 percent got only 30 percent; the “middle class” — the 40 percent below the top 10 percent — received 45 percent of income. These days, the distribution in the United States is far more unequal. In 2010, the top 10 percent received about 50 percent of national income, and the bottom 50 percent got 20 percent; the middle 40 percent got 30 percent. European nations are typically in between, with the top 10 percent taking 35 percent of income.

What Piketty also shows is that in the last 30 years, inequality has exploded almost everywhere, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. This finding disproves the so-called Kuznets Curve. In 1954, American economist Simon Kuznets (1901-85) argued that income inequality would fall as societies modernized. Workers would move from low-paid farm jobs to better-paid industrial jobs. Gaps would narrow.

This seemed to have happened in the United States. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the income share of the richest 10 percent fell from around 50 percent to about 35 percent. But now it’s rebounded to the late 1920s’ level. This stunning fact, published previously in academic journals, helped make inequality a big political issue.

Piketty's big suggestion (more about this later) is that we tax yearly incomes of $500,000 (or $1,000,000; I guess he isn't sure on the threshold) at an 80% rate, and tax accumulated wealth at similar rates.

He is ideologically opposed to gaining wealth by investment -- he uses the word "rentier" as a derogatory term for such people.

Though Piketty is an economist, his book is essentially a work of political science. He objects to extreme economic inequality because it offends democracy: Too much power is conferred on too few. His economic analysis sometimes seems skewed to fit his political agenda.

Sameulson quibbles with some of Piketty's claims, such as (wait for it...!) that confiscatory tax rates on high incomes and accumulated capital won't reduce growth rates, but, as you can see, he's largely impressed with the work.

Now for some people who aren't so impressed.

Clive Cook headlines "The Most Important Book Ever Is All Wrong."

It's hard to think of another book on economics published in the past several decades that's been praised as lavishly as Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century."

...

So what's the problem?

Quite a few things, but this to start with: There's a persistent tension between the limits of the data he presents and the grandiosity of the conclusions he draws. At times this borders on schizophrenia. In introducing each set of data, he's all caution and modesty, as he should be, because measurement problems arise at every stage. Almost in the next paragraph, he states a conclusion that goes beyond what the data would support even if it were unimpeachable.

This tendency is apparent all through the book, but most marked at the end, when he sums up his findings about "the central contradiction of capitalism":

The inequality r>g [the rate of return on capital is greater than the rate of economic growth] implies that wealth accumulated in the past grows more rapidly than output and wages. This inequality expresses a fundamental logical contradiction. The entrepreneur inevitably tends to become a rentier, more and more dominant over those who own nothing but their labor. Once constituted, capital reproduces itself faster than output increases. The past devours the future. The consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying ...

Every claim in that dramatic summing up is either unsupported or contradicted by Piketty's own data and analysis. (I'm not counting the unintelligible. The past devours the future?)

Cook goes on to note that Piketty's own findings contradict his central hypothesis. Piketty argues that when r (rate of return on investment) is significantly higher than g (economic growth rate), it results in a sort of Climate Change-like feedback loop in which r grows more and more outsized compared to g. The system becomes unstable; more and more money flows to the "rentiers."

But that's not what his data shows, at least not in some very important cases:

The trouble is, he also shows that capital-to-output ratios in Britain and France in the 18th and 19th centuries, when r exceeded g by very wide margins, were stable, not rising inexorably.

Cook also notes what Samuelson did-- that this is more of a political tract than an economic text:

As I worked through the book, I became preoccupied with another gap: the one between the findings Piketty explains cautiously and statements such as, "The consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying."

Piketty's terror at rising inequality is an important data point for the reader. It has perhaps influenced his judgment and his tendentious reading of his own evidence. It could also explain why the book has been greeted with such erotic intensity....

At the WSJ, Daniel Schuman focuses on that "80% tax rate" business.

He notes Piketty shares the idea with Barack Obama that confiscatory tax rates are not primarily about bringing in money to the state, but rather about simply destroying other people's wealth. For Justice, you understand.

A professor at the Paris School of Economics, Mr. Piketty believes that only the productivity of low-wage workers can be measured objectively. He posits that when a job is replicable, like an "assembly line worker or fast-food server," it is relatively easy to measure the value contributed by each worker. These workers are therefore entitled to what they earn. He finds the productivity of high-income earners harder to measure and believes their wages are in the end "largely arbitrary." They reflect an "ideological construct" more than merit.

...

While America's corporate executives are his special bête noire, Mr. Piketty is also deeply troubled by the tens of millions of working people—a group he disparagingly calls "petits rentiers"—whose income puts them nowhere near the "one percent" but who still have savings, retirement accounts and other assets. That this very large demographic group will get larger, grow wealthier and pass on assets via inheritance is "a fairly disturbing form of inequality." He laments that it is difficult to "correct" because it involves a broad segment of the population, not a small elite that is easily demonized.

But that won't stop them from trying.

So what is to be done? Mr. Piketty urges an 80% tax rate on incomes starting at "$500,000 or $1 million." This is not to raise money for education or to increase unemployment benefits. Quite the contrary, he does not expect such a tax to bring in much revenue, because its purpose is simply "to put an end to such incomes." It will also be necessary to impose a 50%-60% tax rate on incomes as low as $200,000 to develop "the meager US social state." There must be an annual wealth tax as high as 10% on the largest fortunes and a one-time assessment as high as 20% on much lower levels of existing wealth. He breezily assures us that none of this would reduce economic growth, productivity, entrepreneurship or innovation.

Schuman has a couple of funny barbs in there, like Piketty's use of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" as an economic text (proving something about the mad scramble to marry rich) and about his distinction between those who don't really earn their outsized fortunes -- CEO's -- and those who just might possibly actually earn their fortunes, such as entrepreneurs and, as luck would have it, academics who write best-selling Marxist economics texts.

Incidentally, and I'm sure this is entirely coincidental, but as socialism is on the rise in America, middle-class after-tax incomes are falling.

The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.

While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

Instapundit suggests that there is a top-and-bottom coalition against the middle class.

The bottom wants to take the middle class' stuff because they just want stuff. The top earners want to take the middle class' stuff because the middle class threatens their status.

And this is all going on as America partially embraces Piketty's prescriptions.


Posted by Ace at 03:28 PM Comments

NBC Devotes 39 Paragraphs Reporting that Temp Workers Are At An All-Time High; Does Not Mention Obamacare Once As a Contributing Factor

—Ace

She almost mentions it, though.

If there's a prize for most words spent in Obamacare avoidance, NBC News's Martha C. White is definitely in the running.

White managed to burn through almost 40 paragraphs and nearly 1,600 words in a report carried at CNBC on the all-time record number of workers employed by temporary help services. But she somehow managed to completely avoid mentioning Obamacare, which used to be known as the Affordable Care Act until President Obama and his Health and Human Services regulators made 40 changes to the law originally passed by Congress, some of which directly contradict the original law's language. The closest she came was noting that using temps "lets companies avoid the cost of providing benefits like health insurance" — which has always been the case, except that health insurance is and will continue to be a lot more expensive, giving companies even more incentive to avoid adding to their own payrolls.

Obama pronounced that the "debate is over," and NBC scribbled it down furiously.

The media is definitely running their new reality-show TV arc called "Obamacare is Back!!!," and they're not going to let these little minor stories step on that very satisfying storyline.

Posted by Ace at 02:31 PM Comments

Open Thread

—DrewM.

Conservatives don't trust Boehner on immigration.

Liberals are brave and smart, just don't say anything that might scare them or hurt their feelings.

Modern feminism...enforced silence on genital mutilation, loud and proud on sexist Happy Meal toys.

Posted by DrewM. at 12:45 PM Comments

Supreme Court Rules It's Ok For States To Not Discriminate Based On Race In College Admissions

—DrewM.

It's amazing that self-anointed "leaders" of the civil rights movement in this country had actually twisted themselves to the point where they were arguing there was a constitutional mandate to discriminate based on race in college admissions. But we were.

The Supreme Court didn't rule that race based admission factors were unconstitutional. The 6-2 majority simply says that states once having created such preferences could legally remove them.

The justices said in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions. The justices said that a lower federal court was wrong to set aside the change as discriminatory.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said voters chose to eliminate racial preferences because they deemed them unwise.

Kennedy said nothing in the Constitution or the court’s prior cases gives judges the authority to undermine the election results.

I for one am gladdened and amused by Kennedy's new found respect for the people's right to amend their state constitution. I'm sure he'll lose it the next time his magic coin comes up the other way.

I'm having trouble downloading the opinion but I'm guessing Kagan recused herself from the case because of her work a Solicitor General. Ruth Bader Ginsberg joined Wise Latina Sonya Sotomayor's dissent which she read it from the bench (something justices do to show they have a sad over a decision).

I guess that means Steven Breyer joined with the majority which is...weird.

Added: This story has more background and the local view of the case.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and admissions director Ted Spencer have decried the affirmative action ban, saying outright that the school cannot achieve a fully diverse student body with it in place.

"It's impossible," Spencer said in a recent interview, "to achieve diversity on a regular basis if race cannot be used as one of many factors."

Fifty-eight percent of Michigan voters in 2006 passed Proposal 2, a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution and made it illegal for state entities to consider race in admissions and hiring. With the Supreme Court's ruling, the only way left to nullify Proposal 2 is to mount a long, expensive and uncertain campaign to overturn it.

You want to fix the racial diversity issues in colleges? Ok, start with elementary and high schools. Start turning out students from places like Detroit that are ready to compete for slots at schools like U of M. If that means blowing up the public education system and the teacher's unions and replacing them with voucher programs and charter schools, so be it. It's "for the children" after all.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:43 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 4-22-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Tuesday.


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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:58 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (4-21-2014)

—Maetenloch

Pixy on the Democrats and Their Love for Totalitarian Iconography

The Hillary poster in particular seems to come from some weird alternate universe in which Eva Peron was an admiral of the Imperial Japanese navy.

icondailypoll

"Shut Up Culture" Takes on Dissent Over Campus "Rape Culture"

So Cornell student Julius Kairey wrote a thoughtful, reasoned column in the campus newspaper pointing out how the movement to end 'rape culture' on campus has seriously eroded the due process rights of students.

But the belief that rape must be prevented by "any means necessary" has been used to justify the elimination of key protections for students accused of rape in campus judicial systems. Some want the claims of the alleged victims of rape to be accepted as true, and not scrutinized in a fair legal proceeding. Just two years ago, Cornell stripped those accused of sexual offenses of the right to retain an attorney in University proceedings and the right to cross-examine their accusers. A student accused of a sexual offense at Cornell is now not able to directly ask the person who is making a potentially life-ruining accusation a single question about the incident. This is an inexcusable erasure of the fundamental right to confront one's accuser, a right that has existed for all of our country's history. Such rights are not superfluous. They protect us against arbitrary action by those who hold the levers of power.

And outrage!! from the usual campus suspects ensued blaming Kairey for fomenting sexual assault as well as the newspaper for disrespecting rape survivors by having the temerity to even publish his trigger of a column:

We disagree with the decision to publish "The Truth About 'Rape Culture,'" by Julius Kairey '15. Kairey blatantly disrespected a sensitive subject by reducing and delegitimizing the scarring experiences of survivors. This newspaper erred in publishing this article and should now also take responsibility for the harmful, triggering effects that articles like these cause.

...Those, like Kairey, who have the power to create change by advocating for survivors instead choose to ignore their voices, erase their rights and refuse to hold perpetrators accountable..

Now to even disagree with those obsessed with 'rape culture' makes you a cheerleader for sexual assault as well as a common thought criminal.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:31 PM Comments

My Definition of a Boombastic Open Thread

—Ace

An American man wins the Boston Marathon for the first time since 1983.

The Blaze reports that a $28 billion Army software system for organizing intelligence on the battlefield just doesn't work very well-- and the Army is refusing officers' request to implement a much cheaper ($3 million) system developed by a private software company, a system preferred by the Marines.

The Marine Corps, Air Force and special forces, through their own procurement process, had implemented Palantir [the privately developed alternative software] as an additional war-fighting tool to be utilized with their own DCGS platform. U.S. special forces, including the Navy SEALs and other elite teams, along with the Marine Corps noted in a June 2013 U.S. Government Accountability Office report that their troops thought Palantir was “easy to use” and “effective” on their recent missions in Afghanistan.

“Users indicated it was a highly effective system for conducting intelligence information analysis and supporting operations,” the GAO report said. “The software had gained a reputation for being intuitive and easy to use, while also providing effective tools to link and visualize data.”

But for the Army ,”Palantir was like a thorn in their side — they didn’t want to cut into their own research and funding — if they added the software program to their DCGS platform, it would eliminate their ability to keep lining their own pockets,” a military intelligence analyst with knowledge of the program told TheBlaze.

When a student videotaped bullies absuing him and presented that proof to school authorities, that student was quickly charged with illegally wiretapping other people and prosecuted. He was ultimately convicted on a disorderly persons charge.

Now that charge is being vacated -- but what the hell?

I think this is an example of Your Government At Work, and government's interest is always in protecting itself and the phoney-baloney jobs of its workers. If a kid presents evidence of serious bullying, that reflects poorly on the school's discipline.

So how do you solve that problem? Well, there are two ways: One is to crack down on bullying, which may be difficult and may take a long time.

The other is to prosecute the whistleblower.

Either way, it's out of your In Box. So go with the easier one.

This is pretty neat, though I don't understand the principle behind it -- French scientists say they've created a gel embedded with nanoparticles that will close a wound as if it were glue even in soft organs like the liver and lungs.

The article explains how the nanoparticles bond with each other and with the gel they're in... but I don't understand how the gel sticks to the flesh. I mean, if the gel itself is just glue, then how is this different than plain old glue?

So I don't understand it. But it seems important. Maybe one of y'all can figure out how it works from the paper submitted on the process.

Charlie Crist announces that he hasn't changed his position on abortion -- that he's always been pro-life, by which he means pro-choice.

His statement is confusing and nonsensical, as it's meant to be.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 07:51 PM Comments

Of Course: California Moves to Bar Boy Scouts From Serving as Judges, Due to Boy Scouts' Private Organizational Beliefs on Gay Scoutleaders

—Ace

Fascism is forever descending upon the rightwing but landing upon the left.*

In a move with major legal implications, The California Supreme Court Advisory Committee on The Code of Judicial Ethics has proposed to classify the Boy Scouts as practicing “invidious discrimination” against gays, which would end the group’s exemption to anti-discriminatory ethics rules and would prohibit judges from being affiliated with the group.

“The Committee’s invitation ignores the fact that the change also encompasses other youth organizations whose membership is limited on the basis of gender, e.g., the Girl Scouts, as well as the military, which continues to practice ‘discrimination’ on the basis of gender,” wrote Catherine Short, legal director of the pro-life group Life Legal Defense Foundation, in a letter to the Committee obtained by TheDC that predicts possible implications for pro-life judges in the future.

“Perhaps this is not an unintended consequence,” wrote Short.

Perhaps we should just make it official that, in order to qualify for a paying job of any kind, one must submit proofs that one has voted Democratic at least 75% of the time.

* Just in case people don't know this quote: The original quote is, "Fascism is forever descending upon America but landing in Europe." The idea is that while people are forever shouting that fascism is coming to America -- because they view America as crude and susceptible to that sort of thing -- they completely miss the fact that genuine fascism convulses Europe frequently.

Similarly, many on the left -- or those who consider themselves the "center," but who are really on the left -- are always worrying about the fascist impulse in rightwing politics. Conveniently missing their own fascist impulses.

Posted by Ace at 06:03 PM Comments

Long-Rumored Clinton White House Memo Pushing Idea of the Internet as an Incubator for Right-Wing "Conspiracies" Finally Released to Public

—Ace

Via Althouse, the document that probably served as the basis for Hillary Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy" remark.

The actual document is here. There's not much to it. It's a fairly crude political blast-fax type thing (from the age of the blast-fax -- the emails of yesteryear).

Interesting, it uses the term "conspiracy theory" to apply not just to what would typically be termed conspiracy theories (the various theories about Vince Foster's death) but also to any derogatory story the Clinton White House wished to delegitimize. Thus, the Paula Jones and Gennifer Flower accusations -- which were not "conspiracy theories" in any sense, but just accusations that Clinton (falsely) denied -- are termed "conspiracy theories" pushed by the "right-wing."

Whitewater also gets namechecked as a "conspiracy theory."

The document is especially paranoid itself* about the powers of this newfangled "Internet" machine:

The right wing has seized upon the internet as a means of communicating its ideas to people.

Moreover, evidence exists that Republican staffers surf the internet, interacting with extremists in order to exchange ideas and information.

Egads!

Other interesting points:

The memo is much-concerned on partisans' ability to transmit memes via this "Internet" and then get them into "mainstream" news coverage. Note that the left has spent the last twenty years building up a serious and well-funded infrastructure of professional agitators whose only goal is to just that, but for the left.

Media Matters and all the rest are frequently able to get their stories picked up by the "mainstream" media, and, per Sheryl Attkisson, are also active in coordinating email/phone call/whisper campaigns to "controversialize" news stories they don't like and get them pulled from "mainstream" media broadcasts and articles.

The other interesting thing, of course, is that the names "Richard Mellon Scaife" and "Joseph Farah" litter the document like mentions of the devil in a medieval treatise on the plague.

Twenty years later, and they're still working off the exact same playbook. It's just that the Koch Brothers are the Devils of the Day.

* Note how establishment players are often extremely paranoid about "the fringe" (that is, anyone who's non-establishment).

This 2009 article describes "the paranoia of the center" (or the putative center -- certainly They think they're the center) and how their hateful suspicions about anyone Not Like Them can lead to deligitimization campaigns and suppression of vital debate.

We've heard ample warnings about extremist paranoia in the months since Barack Obama became president, and we're sure to hear many more throughout his term. But we've heard almost nothing about the paranoia of the political center. When mainstream commentators treat a small group of unconnected crimes as a grand, malevolent movement, they unwittingly echo the very conspiracy theories they denounce. Both brands of connect-the-dots fantasy reflect the tellers' anxieties much more than any order actually emerging in the world.

When such a story is directed at those who oppose the politicians in power, it has an additional effect. The list of dangerous forces that need to be marginalized inevitably expands to include peaceful, legitimate critics.

The Paranoid Style in Center-Left Politics

This isn't the first time the establishment has been overrun with paranoia about paranoiacs. The classic account of American conspiratology is Richard Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," a 1964 survey of political fear from the founding generation through the Cold War. A flawed and uneven essay, Hofstadter's article nonetheless includes several perceptive passages. The most astute one might be this:

"It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship, even of pedantry. Secret organizations set up to combat secret organizations give the same flattery. The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through 'front' groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy."

Hofstadter didn't acknowledge it, but his argument applied to much of his audience as well. His article begins with a reference to "extreme right-wingers," a lead that reflected the times. In the early 1960s, America was experiencing a wave of alarm about the radical right. This had been building throughout the Kennedy years and then exploded after the president's assassination, which many people either blamed directly on the far right or attributed to an atmosphere of fear and division fed by right-wing rhetoric. By the time Hofstadter's essay appeared, the "projection of the self" he described was in full effect. Just as anti-communists had mimicked the communists, anti-anti-communists were emulating the red hunters.

It's an important piece, worth reading again every year.

So, it appears that the Democrats became paranoid about these "right wing extremists" using the Internet to "spread [their] ideas" to the mainstream media, and then spent the next twenty years diligently creating a virtual media paramilitary militia army to transmit their own memes and enforce their community-based narratives.

Posted by Ace at 05:17 PM Comments

Tom Cotton Ad Blasts Mark Pryor's Claim That Service in the Military Gave Him a "Sense of Entitlement"

—Ace

Cotton already had big advantages over Pryor, but this ad just adds to those.

Oh, and Dick Blumenthal sort of cut an ad, too. Inadvertently. See below.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 04:31 PM Comments

Troll So Hard: Daily Beast Writer Calls US Military a Socialist Paradise

—Ace

He may just be trolling (so I'm not linking him, but Jonah Goldberg's discussion of the troll-posts), but he may be partly serious.

We were just discussing this idea of Socialists on the podcast, with Jonah Goldberg, as a matter of fact.

Socialists actually crave the non-fighting aspects of the military life -- the collectivization of people into a single body with one shared purpose. (This feeling of a shared purpose is often craved by those with a religious impulse but who reject actual religion.)

Socialists long to be corporatized -- turned into a single cell of a much larger, much grander, much more transcendent body.

They are frequently pretty casual about admitting that they would like a military-like society, regimented and hierarchized, with orders flowing down from those of superior rank.

Indeed, the military does have these attributes, as it must. But people in the military are largely conservative-leaning, and opposed to collectivization generally.

The Daily Beast writer implies this is somehow a contradiction. It's really not. A soldier might accept that he will give up certain rights of expression and choice for purposes of an undeniably grand purpose (defending the country) and only for that purpose.

The fact that a solider accepts that he is not permitted to bad mouth his superior officers or civilian leaders while acting as a soldier does not suggest he believes that such forbiddances should attach to an ordinary citizen.

Including himself, when he musters out -- most soldiers aren't lifelong soldiers, after all. A soldier may accept some aspects of collectivism (including obedience to superior officers) in his life as a soldier, and yet be completely averse to such a situation in his civilian life.

As most do, of course.

But the left does seem to imagine that if it works for the military, why then it really ought to work for society in general.

It's a creepy idea. It's a totalitarian idea. The military is exceptional in many ways, and foremost among those ways is that the military obeys rules that regular civilians are not required to obey, nor even to recognize.

But the left does see a well-functioning society as resembling the military, minus some aspects -- such as a patriotic temperament, willingness to use force to defend a nation, etc.

But otherwise: March in formation, act as a single unit, sublimate individuality into shared purpose decided upon by your superiors, and so forth.

And so they'll keep on insisting on this point, claiming it reveals something about conservatives, without realizing it reveals far more about themselves.

Posted by Ace at 03:29 PM Comments

Geraghty: Left's Overpraise of Chelsea Clinton Gives Away Their True Feelings About Aristocracy

—Ace

Via @rdbrewer4, a really good piece.

Chelsea assures us that her past workplaces were “incredibly, fiercely meritocratic.” Sometimes in past interviews, the interviewer inadvertently expresses surprise at the seemingly high-level jobs Chelsea Clinton gets handed...

Chelsea took that “Assistant Vice Provost” position [at an NYU school] in 2010, at age 30.

Now Chelsea’s “making her move”, which warranted that Fast Company cover piece:

Now, finally, she has decided to join the Clinton family business. As vice chair of the recently rebranded Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, she is helping one of the world’s most notable philanthropies grow up.

She must have been extraordinarily talented to be named vice chair of an organization that has her name in its title, huh? What are the odds?

...

Dear friends on the Left: You can’t bemoan the death of opportunity in America, and rail against the richest one percent, and then devour puff pieces on how exceptionally talented and wonderful the offspring of our super-wealthy political leaders are, earning plaudits just by showing up with their famous last names.

The New York Times' public editor (ombudsmen) Arthur Brisbane described exactly how the media covers their favorite causes in 2012:

I also noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

Posted by Ace at 01:52 PM Comments

Is NBC'S David Gregory Crazy Or Just An Unlikable Jackass?

—DrewM.

I've worked for myself for most of my adult life and don't have any real experience with working in a cooperate environment, so maybe this is totally normal. Or maybe it's a sign of something far more troubling.

NBC News last year hired a "psychological consultant" to interview David Gregory's friends and family, part of an effort to get greater insight into the "Meet the Press" host's personality, according to a new report.

The point of hiring the consultant, NBC spokeswoman Meghan Pianta said, was to "to get perspective and insight from people who know him best."

...

"Gregory’s job does not appear to be in any immediate jeopardy, but there are plenty of signs of concern,” [The Washington Post's Paul] Farhi wrote.

You have to wonder if perhaps NBC is just worried about Gregory's state of mind. I mean taking over the number one Sunday talk-show and running it into the ground has to be a heavy burden anyone.

Still, it makes this image, and the DC prosecutor's decision not to try this obvious violation of the law, all the more troubling.

gregory.PNG

Naturally all of us here at the HQ wish Mr. Gregory the best in this difficult time.

Posted by DrewM. at 12:17 PM Comments

Everything You Need To Know About Liberals In One Blog Post: They Are Dumb

—DrewM.

From the, "I can't beieve Jeff Bezos didn't give Ezra Klein $10 million dollars" file, behold this gem.

First of all let me say how asinine it is for someone who claims to be engaged in deep wonkery to keep pitching stories as "Everything you need to know about X in one chart/graph/interpretative dance performance".

If complex subjects can be fully covered and explained in a single anything, it's probably not that complex of a subject and you don't need experts, let alone a bunch of arrogant children without any discernible accomplishments to explain it to you.

But enough about the staff of Vox.com. Let's look at some of the "297 words" that constitute Ezra Klein's vision of all you need to know about economics. Mind you, these aren't Klein's words but the words of an actual expert in economics, Thomas Sargent a Nobel Laureate in the field.

1. Many things that are desirable are not feasible.

2. Individuals and communities face trade-offs.

3. Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts,
and their preferences than you do.

4. Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That is why social safety nets don't always end up working as intended.

I'm going to stop here, 74 words into the 297 (my version of Word says it's actually 308 but let's not quibble).

How can you think these are essential truths about economics and still be a big government liberal? Imagine thinking, as Klein does, that these are four essential parts (there's 12 in total) of understanding economics while simultaneously thinking that ObamaCare doesn't go far enough and we should have "a more nationalized health-care system".

If your entire worldview is based on greater concentration of political power over the economy and the incentives under which individuals operate, wouldn't you look at those 4 points alone and either say, "What an idiot this guy is!" or "Hmmm....I may need to evaluate my thinking on everything."?

How can you read those words and think, "Yes! This guy nails it and oh by the way, society should be organized in such a way as to ignore everything he just said"?

There's more of this, approximately 223 words worth, at the link and all of it damning to the liberal project of confiscatory taxation providing central government planners with more money and power to control the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

And yet, Klein and his merry band of know-it-alls want you to trust them to explain everything to you.

I really feel there should be a word that means "smart person who is actually quite stupid". Preferably it would be in German.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:53 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 4-21-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Monday.

Yesterday, the GAO released details on how Sec. Sebelius shook down outside companies for funding to promote Obamacare.

From Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt (which you should subscribe to, if you aren't), about half of Georgia's healthcare sign-ups haven't paid.

More evidence that GM got kid glove treatment from federal regulators.

Unions are warming up to fracking.

Snowden's feelings are hurt that everyone thinks he's such a naif.

Gov. Perry's "makeover" is noticed by Politico. "He just seems like a very confident, upbeat and articulate spokesman for conservative policy and values," says former Perry staffer.


AoSHQ Weekly Podcast rss.png itunes_modern.png | Stream | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:44 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (4-20-2014)

—Maetenloch

Quote of the Day

"LITTLE HITLERS: There is, as every petty official knows, a great deal of pleasure to be had from the obstruction of others, especially if they appear to be more fortunate, better placed, richer, or more intelligent than oneself. There is a pleasure in naysaying, all the greater if the naysayer is able to disguise from the victim the fact that he is not only doing his duty but gratifying himself. Indeed, there are many jobs, meaningless in themselves, in which the power to say no is the only non-monetary reward."

Quote of the Day II

The program is supposedly only for citizens or legal resident aliens, but in reality no one's checking. It will all run on the honor system, at the insistence of the dishonorable. The taxpayer will be robbed blind and anyone who doesn't like it is a bad Christian, anti-American, and of course racist.

Quote of the Day III

After his prepared remarks, Scalia took questions from eager law students who lined the aisles of the theatre. His remarks there were more candid, pointing to the Washington, D.C. v. Heller opinon - a second-amendment case - as his proudest moment on the court.

When another students asked about the constitutionality of income tax, he assured the student that the government could, in fact, take his money.

"But if reaches certain point, perhaps you should revolt,"
Scalia advised the young man.

It's Official: Americans Now Believe Obama is a Liar

61% say President Obama lies either "most of the time" or "some of the time," with a plurality of 37% opting for "most of the time."

580x102xObamaLies14-600x106.jpg.pagespeed.ic.9eoH7rzf41

blabla

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Posted by Maetenloch at 10:02 PM Comments

New Takes On An Old Classic Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

Courtesy of Weird News:

Sir Mix-A-Lot is a musical genius. When he created "Baby Got Back" in 1992, he crafted a musical masterpiece that can be recreated in any genre without losing a beat.

Like your big butts in jazz? There's a "Baby Got Back" for that.

Easy listening? Here's some mellow big butts for you.

Prefer metal? Try this one.

Then again, does anything beat the original?

Posted by Open Blogger at 08:12 PM Comments

Gun Thread (4-20-2014)

—Andy

Civil Disobedience In NY

There is one purpose for a gun registry. One.

Good on the folks in NY who've decided to not give the state the rope with which to hang them.

Owners of assault-style weapons were supposed to have registered their guns by Tuesday.

But there is no way of knowing exactly how many of these weapons there are in the state and how many were registered under the NY SAFE Act.

The state refuses to say how many were registered, claiming it is confidential information protected by the law.

Gun-rights advocates estimate compliance will be less than 10 percent.

And in Erie County, the sheriff says he will not force his deputies to enforce registration.


Crazy Rednecks Bring Evil NRA Into Schools To Teach Kids About Guns

Guess the state.

Headline: NRA-sponsored gun-safety program set to go in Westford schools

Former schoolteacher Marilyn Frank has big plans for firearms-safety education in town.

Frank, 79, who served in the school district for 29 years and for a decade as health-education coordinator, said she doesn't own a gun but she wants to help remove polarization around the subject of gun safety. In December, she proposed bringing the National Rifle Association-sponsored program Eddie Eagle back to the local elementary schools. The program, approved by the School Committee, will start early next month.

"You want everyone to buy into this. I think this is a message that everyone can come together for, caring about the kids," she said. "That was what this is all about. Are we going to save anybody? I don't know. But when I put in birth- control explanations (in the schools), I didn't promise nobody would get pregnant. You don't know, but you just hope."

Turns out there are still a few sane people in Westford, MA after all.


Gun Of The Week

GOTW20140920.jpg

(answer below)

Continue reading


Posted by Andy at 04:30 PM Comments

Food Thread: Baking: It's Not Science....It's Magic [CBD]

—Open Blogger

We Politely Request That All Off-Topic or Political Comments Be Directed to the Thread Directly Below This One, Which Will Serve Officially as the Current "Active Conversation" Thread for All Discussions Not Related To This Topic.

Matzoh 1.jpg

The conventional wisdom is that cooking is an art and baking is a science -- requiring precision and consistency and rigid attention to detail. And if you satisfy those requirements you will be rewarded with marvelous crusty breads and glorious cakes and you will be the marvel of the neighborhood.

It's a dirty filthy stinking lie, perpetrated by an unholy cabal of flour mills and sugar barons and the natural gas industry.

Continue reading


Posted by Open Blogger at 03:55 PM Comments

Open Thread (reserved for politics) [CBD]

—Open Blogger

Or Haikus...whichever you prefer.

An interesting perspective of Barry Goldwater from one of his campaign ads in 1964.

Posted by Open Blogger at 03:54 PM Comments

Gaming Thread 4/20/2014 (Easter Edition)

—Gang of Gaming Morons!


Happy Easter

Continue reading


Posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 02:55 PM Comments

Soon To Be Stomped Open Thread

—Open Blogger

Here's a distraction until content is posted.

and

Posted by Open Blogger at 01:47 PM Comments

Sunday Morning Book Thread 04-20-2014: The Day The World Changed Forever [OregonMuse]

—Open Blogger


resurrection 3.jpg

Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.


He Is Risen!

Jesus Christ walked onto the stage of world history 2,000 years ago, and is never leaving it. To be sure, it is very easy to imagine a future history where the Church is either absent or totally irrelevant (and there have been many books written along those lines), that's never going to happen. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so powerful, that His followers can exist even in the most hostile environments, i.e. there are churches in Saudi Arabia and North Korea. Granted, they're small and pretty much entirely underground. But they survive. They know they're in a spiritual battle:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

(Ephesians 6:12)

Many have lost their lives for the cause of Christ. For example, remember the movie 'Chariots of Fire', about that Olympic athlete who wouldn't run on Sunday? Eric Liddell was his name, and perhaps you don't know that he went on to become a missionary to China, and he died in a Japanese internment camp, where he was ministering to the other prisoners during WW2. There have been a number of biographies written about Liddell, but grammie winger recommends Complete Surrender: A biography of Eric Liddell, by Julian Wilson.

Another interesting character is the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas is a good modern biography. Christians classify Bonhoeffer as a martyr, but I have difficulty with this. What got him in trouble with the authorities was not anything that Christians are traditionally martyred for, i.e. being told not to preach the gospel but preaching anyway, or refusing to worship the leader of the state as divine. Rather, Bonhoeffer was arrested for his active participation in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler, and that's why the Nazi government killed him. In my opinion, murdering a political leader is difficult to justify under any flavor of Christian theology, and Bonhoeffer is no longer around to tell us why he thought what he was doing was right, given his understanding of the gospel. That is, I assume he thought it was right, I can't imagine him thinking, "yeah, this is wrong, but we have to do it, anyway." Read his books, The Cost of Discipleship or Life Together or even Letters and Papers from Prison and ask yourself if anything he wrote would lead you to understand how he would ever participate in such an obviously "battling against flesh and blood using worldly weapons" political plot.

I confess I don't understand.

I'm not saying what Bonhoeffer did was wrong. Perhaps it was. But even if not, I just have a hard time thinking of him as a martyr, at least as traditionally understood, like the kind of martyrs described in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which, being in the public domain, is available on Kindle for $0.

Bonhoeffer was executed on April 9th, 1945. He could probably hear the artillery from the approaching Allied armies, who were only a few days away from liberating the camp he was in.


R.I.P.

The internationally renowned Colombian novelist, screenwriter, journalist and 1982 Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez has died at the age of 87. He was most famous for his novels One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and The Autumn of the Patriarch.

I've never read any of his books.

Here's an interesting bit from the wikipedia bio:

The popularity of his writing also led to friendships with powerful leaders, including one with former Cuban president Fidel Castro...It was during this time that he was punched in the face by Mario Vargas Llosa in what became one of the largest feuds in modern literature.

Ha! A rat bastard commie gets popped in the puss. I would like to have seen that.

Continue reading


Posted by Open Blogger at 10:10 AM Comments

Sunday Morning Open Thread

—Andy

Happy Easter!

Posted by Andy at 07:22 AM Comments

Final Overnight Thread

—LauraW.

OK, what was said before, that was a lie. THIS is the real party. Swearsies.

The theme of this, the true and final Overnight Thread of this evening:

Chickens.

Continue reading


Posted by LauraW. at 11:42 PM Comments

Overnight Thread: The Real One

—LauraW.

Sorry for the decoy post, but *this* thread is for the cool people and we're trying to keep those other people distracted. Don't tell them we're here.

Here, see. These are some animals that are not like other animals.


The Sea Pig.

Continue reading


Posted by LauraW. at 10:30 PM Comments

Overnight Thread: Desserts that Look Kinda Sweaty

—LauraW.

Continue reading


Posted by LauraW. at 09:35 PM Comments

Announcing The First In A Series Movie thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

I chatted with the boss and we've been given the go-ahead to try something new.

Next week at 8 pm (EST) Saturday, I'll post a movie thread. Ideally, you folks will rent/on-demand/pop in the blu-ray of said movie and we'll all watch it together, commenting as we go. It might be a bit much for an every week kind of post, but we'll see how it goes and, perhaps, make it a once a month/every three weeks kind of thing if folks get on-board with it.

Blogger privilege means that I get to pick the first movie, but after that we'll conduct some sort of poll to determine the next. And, let's keep it light and fruity, with nothing too heavy. I'm thinking along the lines of Animal House, Caddyshack, Battlefield Earth, Pacific Rim, Fast Times at Ridgemont High type of stuff. No Godfather. No Schindler's List. Perhaps an Alien now and then. As one of the commenters said of this concept, it's like MST3K at the HQ.

So, let's kick this thing off.

Next week's selection is likely to come as no surprise to some of you. I choose Battleship, starring Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Decker, and this remarkable fellow. It is one of those movies that is simply awful but is eminently watchable. It is, quite simply, a fun movie to both love and hate and I'm keeping my fingers crossed here that at least a few of our Navy Morons and 'Ettes will take part because I can only imagine what they'll have to say about it.

If you have HBO, the movie is presently available via On-Demand for free. If not, it is available via On-Demand and Roku for just $2.99.

So, sync your watches and get ready for some fun.

I'll see you back here next Saturday.

Posted by Open Blogger at 08:00 PM Comments

The Nightmare Before Easter Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

I remember the first time my daughter saw Santa Clause at the mall. She was none too happy about it. And, when I took her to the circus for the first time, and she saw the clowns, she was similarly having nothing to do with them either. Yet, despite the occasional and jarring contact with the masked or make-up covered characters associated with Christmas or with the three-ring circus, I tried to keep her nightmares to a minimum.

I wish I could say the same of these parents.

22 Easter Bunnies That Are Definitely Serial Killers

Don't believe me?

Check below the fold.

Continue reading


Posted by Open Blogger at 07:09 PM Comments

Weekend Travel Thread: Pet Edition [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Welcome to your weekend travel thread. By special request of commenter Seamus M., this week's topic is traveling with pets.

How about some music to kick off the thread?

Continue reading


Posted by Open Blogger at 05:29 PM Comments

The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775 [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Today is also the anniversary of a transformative event in our history, the Battle of Lexington. From the Wall Street Journal:

April 19, 1775, was a quiet day in America's Thirteen Colonies—except for a deadly encounter in Lexington, Mass., between about 80 militiamen and 700 British regulars. Neither side had been expecting a fight, and no one knows who really fired the first shot. But accident or no, it set off one of the greatest social and political experiments in history.

The Battle of Lexington was also the inspiration behind one of America's best-known poems, the "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Even those unfamiliar with the poem will recognize the line: "Here once the embattled farmers stood/ And fired the shot heard round the world."

And here's a link to Emerson's famous poem.

How many of you were required to memorize it in school? I don't think I was. Our American history classes focussed on slavery and the Civil War more than on the Revolutionary War. (Pretty sure Mr Moxie's school (in New England) emphasized the latter more than the former.)


Open thread to discuss politics and such.

Posted by Open Blogger at 05:26 PM Comments

If Ben K. And CAC Had A Baby, It Would Look A Lot Like This Video

—DrewM.

We all know Ben has an unhealthy obsession with Russian dash-cam videos and CAC loves him some space stuff.

Well, here's a Russian dash-cam video of a meteor exploding.

Now try and get the image of Ben and CAC having a baby out of your mind. I bet you can't.

You're welcome.

Posted by DrewM. at 04:39 PM Comments



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Top Headlines

The Editors: Half a Win on Racial Discrimination
"In a perfectly Orwellian dissenting opinion, which she read dramatically from the bench, Justice Sotomayor argued that the decision of the people of Michigan to end racial discrimination is itself an instance of racial discrimination and that the only way to mitigate such racial discrimination is through the mandatory maintenance of racial discrimination." Remember when Laurence Tribe said Sotomayor wasn't all that smart? Nailed it. [rdbrewer]

Entertainment Weekly: Aaron Sorkin apologizes for 'The Newsroom': 'I feel like I'm just now starting to learn how to write it'
(Thanks for the links, Drudge.) [rdbrewer]


Victor Davis Hanson: Elites’ Sacrificial Victims
"In a word, liberal ideology so often proves more important than people. Noble theories about saving humanity offer exemption from worry about the immediate consequences for individual humans. In a personal sense, those who embrace progressive ideas expect to be excused from the ramifications of their schemes." [rdbrewer]


Urban Ghosts: Has a Full Scale Millennium Falcon Been Built for Star Wars: Episode VII?
"The news will be welcomed by the multitudes of Star Wars fans who weren’t overly enamoured by the excessive reliance on CGI in the previous three installments, as well as those of us who’d like to sit in the Falcon’s cockpit should it one day be open to the public." [rdbrewer]


Dorothy Pomerantz: The Johnny Depp Problem
"The real lesson here is that movie stars are no longer the power they once were." Eh, those movies were bad, and I can't think of a case where an otherwise bad movie was fixed by choice of actor. Maybe the real lesson is choose your movies wisely--which might be harder for Depp since he's more of a character actor than a leading man. [rdbrewer]


Joel Kotkin: Does The GOP Have A Shot At Wooing Disgruntled Millennials?
"Besides a tepid economy, the millennials confront paying off huge public debts, much of it due to the generous pensions of boomer public employees. This constitutes what economist Robert Samuelson has labeled 'a generational war' in which the young are destined to be losers in the 'withering of the affluent society.'" [rdbrewer]


Peggy Noonan: Mrs. Clinton’s New Memoir
"Third, the very fact of the book allows Mrs. Clinton to attempt to counter a growing perception, at least among Republicans, that she didn’t really have any accomplishments.... [H]er successor, John Kerry, like him or not, is an example of what a secretary of state who takes chances and claims some autonomy looks like. To counter the perception that she has little to tout, Mrs. Clinton will probably go heavy on recollections of personal meetings...." [rdbrewer]


Robert Tracinski: Why Democrats Are the Party of Inequality
"They are the political faction that has a vested interest in inequality, because they depend on appeals to guilt and envy. To upper-middle-class elites, they promise to alleviate any spiritual discomfort caused by contemplating their relative good fortune.... For the poor, they promise to take the rich down a notch and distribute some of the loot." [rdbrewer]


Ted Cruz invites Sriracha company to Texas
Irwindale, California designated them a public nuisance because of spicy odor complaints, and now they can enter the factory and screw with them. (Sidebar: I'm guessing there isn't much barbecue in California.) [rdbrewer]
The Air Vent: Climate Today
"Then there are those who have the gall to write against this powerful climate industry. Because that is what climate science is. A smog-belching, economy-sucking, rule-making, profit-taking industry.... Because at the root, taxation is their food, nutrients, power, and hope for the future of their industry. The best colleges, the most influence, the best jobs. They need your fear to get your taxes...." [rdbrewer]
Bumped: Iowahawk's 9th Annual Earth Week Cruise-In "Celebrate the climate-correcting miracle of internal combustion, and honor Mother Earth - the Ultimate MILF®!"
Bob Shrum: Jeb Bush is your only chance against Hillary, Republicans
Of course Democrats will promote Bush: 1) There is a good chance he would split the party and lose when conservatives stay home, and 2) if he does win, he's the most like them. Win-win. And note, this is Bob Shrum. He's never been right about anything. [rdbrewer]


Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas
But it makes progressives feel good about themselves. That's the important thing. [rdbrewer]


M.G. Oprea: The Closing of the Academic Mind
"In other words, Korn would have the university cease to be a forum for open debate and free inquiry in the name of justice, as defined by mainstream liberal academia. This is already a reality in most universities across America, where academics and university administrators alike are trying, often successfully, to discredit and prohibit certain ideas and ways of thinking. Particularly in the humanities, many ideas are no longer considered legitimate, and debate over them is de facto non-existent." [rdbrewer]

Jim Geraghty: Enough Puff Pieces About Chelsea Clinton Already
"Dear friends on the left: You can't bemoan the death of opportunity in America, and rail against the richest one percent, and then devour puff pieces on how exceptionally talented and wonderful the offspring of our super-wealthy political leaders are, earning plaudits just by showing up with their famous last names." And the fawning would be embarrassing to anyone with a sense of shame. [rdbrewer]

John Hinderaker: The Epic Hypocrisy of Tom Steyer
"Steyer is the ultimate rent-seeker who depends on government connections to produce subsidies and mandates that make his 'green' energy investments profitable.... Today, he is a bitter opponent of fossil fuels, especially coal. That fits with his current economic interests: banning coal-fired power plants will boost the value of his solar projects. But it was not always thus. In fact, Steyer owes his fortune in large part to the fact that he has been one of the world’s largest financers of coal projects." [rdbrewer]

Interview: James Delingpole on The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism
"'I’m not a scientist and actually given what I’ve seen of scientists in my experiences following the global warming scam, I’m glad I’m not a scientist because a lot of these guys are basically shysters and crooks. They’re not some kind of white-coated elite with a special hotline to the truth. In fact, they’re just ordinary guys and girls trying to earn a living like the rest of us but slightly more dodgily....'" [rdbrewer]
NYT: In Cold War Echo, Obama Strategy Writes Off Putin
"Strategy" gives Obama too much credit. "Reaction" might be a better word. [rdbrewer]

Frontpage: Obama Praises Muslims in Easter Message
Nice touch, Slick. [rdbrewer]

Victor Davis Hanson, PJM: Cliven Bundy and The Rural Way
"[T]his administration has a long record of not following the law — picking and choosing when and how to enforce immigration statutes, depending on the particular dynamics of the next election; picking and choosing which elements of Obamacare to enforce, again depending on perceived political advantage; and picking and choosing when to go after coal companies.... In other words, the Obama administration regularly breaks the law as it sees fit. " [rdbrewer]

The Telegraph: China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years
"The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that it by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America." [rdbrewer]
AoSHQ Podcast rss.png itunes_modern.png

This week's guest: Jonah Goldberg

Stream | MP3 Download | Ask The Blog | Archives
ThePantographPunch: A Dream Of A Fantasy: Looking For Lori Watt
"Lori’s total lack of inhibition and the earnest investment in what she does is both refreshing and confusing, for the simple fact that she does it so badly.... Lori doesn’t care, doesn’t back down, makes no apologies or explanations, struggles on with a self-belief born of earnest ambition and delusion. I love her. Adore her. I soak up her videos, her KoRn hoodie, her every word with cringing relish." A few seconds to savor. Bonus Lori Watt: Pinkdolly. How can you not love that? [rdbrewer]
Always Faithful I don't recall who linked this but I will never forget it
Video Dump [rdbrewer]:
Hungry Hamster
Indian PSA (NSFW)
Drunk Russian vs. Fence (stay with it)
Formula 1 Pit Stops 1950 & Today
80's Commercials

@StephenByrne86: The real reason @josswhedon signed with Disney. [rdbrewer]

Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker: Complexity and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule
Whether it's the violin, chess, or basketball, it takes roughly 10,000 hours to become a master. From last August. [rdbrewer]


Lori Watt's latest single
A cover of The Rose. [rdbrewer]

Mail Online: Is THIS America's newest top-secret spy plane? Clearest picture yet of mystery aircraft spotted flying over Kansas just weeks after being seen in Texas
"It appears to be the same aircraft as one that was snapped soaring over Texas last month." Not really. See for yourself. [rdbrewer]


John Fund: The United States of SWAT?
"The proliferation of paramilitary federal SWAT teams inevitably brings abuses that have nothing to do with either drugs or terrorism. Many of the raids they conduct are against harmless, often innocent, Americans who typically are accused of non-violent civil or administrative violations." [rdbrewer]
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