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November 26, 2014

Some Meh Movies That Are Decent Enough

—Ace

Hollywood doesn't really make good movies anymore, so here are some Meh ones that are decent wastes of your time.

So if you need stuff to watch this Thanksgiving holiday weekend:

Hansel & Gretl: Witch-Hunters. Just pretty much fun from the opening. Good "Troll" make up (or CGI). I honestly just flat-out enjoyed this movie.

Oh by the way: This movie is ridiculously violent. Ridiculously.

It doesn't just have one head being squashed/exploded by powerful force (a troll's fist, a horse's hoof). It has at least two and maybe three.


Non-Stop. Cranky conservatives may whine about the solution to the mystery, but I'd object back that It's just a movie and a movie has to do something different, right?

Well the solution is dumb and really makes no sense if you think about it, but that doesn't detract from the fact that it's fun, tense, involving thriller, and they don't really make thrillers anymore, so.

Another movie I just liked.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The concept looks awful, the trailers looked like unfunny CGI-overload nonsense, and it seems kind of shitty to use the "Walter Mitty" title to sell a movie that has almost nothing at all to do with Walter Mitty.

But it turns out the movie is reasonably good. Maybe you just have to be in the mood for it. It's one of those Follow Your Dream movies, but it's especially strident about it.

But I got into it.

On the "Walter Mitty" title -- It feels like a script was written that had nothing to do with Walter Mitty at all, except for the basic idea of a daydreamer hero, but the studio decided "Wow we'd have so much more MindSpace if we had the Walter Mitty title, so let's buy the title and slap it on this unrelated movie."

Now even though that's what I think happened here, I'd point out that the unrelated screenplay is still worth shooting a movie from, and if they had to buy the Walter Mitty title to get financing (based on all that additional "MindSpace"), well, who cares.

Understand going in that this movie has nothing to do with Walter Mitty, except for the title, and except for the hero's name. Not even the better dream sequences are used for the movie.

Still, Walter Mitty is unfilmable as a movie so what did you expect? (No character arc, no actual plot movement. It's just the same joke 4 or 5 times, and then "The End.")

And also, if they felt like they needed that Walter Mitty brand name to sell an unrelated, but still worthy, script, eh, who cares. This is Jon Gruber's America, after all. Such minor deceptions aren't worth getting upset about.

The movie can't really decide if it's your typical Zoolander crazy-silliness Ben Stiller movie or a more heartfelt Follow Your Dream adventure, but it still works, mostly.

Basically a travelogue movie with some settings I wasn't expecting and didn't realize would be fun to look at (Greenland, Iceland, and Afghanistan).

Guardians of the Galaxy. Professional enough, and determined to please you like a puppy. Like a puppy, it's kind of dumb and only has three modes (Eat, Poop, and Slobber), but it's okay.

Not really anything like "The modern-day Star Wars" or anything like that. It's just not serious enough to sell you on the idea that this is what Space looks like. Some nonsense is so cheesy that it seems more Flash Gordon (and I mean the 70s movie version) than Star Wars.

The characters are kind of broad and silly... like Muppets. So it's Muppets in Space, but more violent.

Nothing really wrong with it, and I'd definitely rent it. I just don't want anyone's expectation levels to be set anywhere close to high, though. It's just a dumb, silly special effects movie that doesn't offend. Okay, but don't expect something inspired.

Live. Die. Repeat: The Edge of Tomorrow: People are mentioning this Tom Cruise sci-fi movie favorably in the comments. I reviewed it a while back, also very favorably.

Posted by Ace at 04:44 PM Comments



The Only Progressive Guide to Thanksgiving Political Arguments You'll Need

—Ace

From Joe Limey.

In the great progressive spirit, here are a few tips on how to talk to -- and morally improve -- your family this Thanksgiving:

1. Your crazy uncle complains in passing that the construction on Redlands Avenue is limiting the flow of traffic to his hardware store, and wonders if the job could be completed more quickly.

This must not be allowed to stand. Ask your uncle if he's an anarchist and if he has heard of Somalia. If you missed Politics 101 at Oberlin, refer to the Fact Cards that you have printed out from Vox.com and explain patiently that the government is the one thing that we all belong to and that the worry that it is "too big" or "too centralized" or "too slow to achieve basic tasks" has a long association with neo-Confederate causes.

Meanwhile there's this:


Which called to mind this article on progressive bullshit I've been wanting to link for two weeks.

"Bullshit" is American English's assertion, maximally succinct and vigorous, that a contention is factually preposterous or logically absurd. According to philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt, however, the "essence of bullshit is not that it is false but that it is phony." His slender volume devoted to the subject, On Bullshit, invites us to think of a Fourth of July orator "who goes on bombastically about 'our great and blessed country, whose Founding Fathers under divine guidance created a new beginning for mankind.'" The speaker’s point is not "to deceive anyone concerning American history." Rather,
what he cares about is what people think of him. He wants them to think of him as a patriot, as someone who has deep thoughts and feelings about the origins and the mission of our country, who appreciates the importance of religion, who is sensitive to our history, whose pride in that history is combined with humility before God, and so on.

It's difficult to banish the glum suspicion that life in the 21st century, for all its economic and technological benefits, necessitates putting up with much more bullshit than our ancestors had to.

What I can't stand is the endless posturing -- it's not that Ezra Klein's statement that this is an "excellent" cover is false, per se. I don't really care one way or the other if it's "excellent."

Though it's not precisely original, if we're going to debate its purported excellence:


No, the problem is that the statement does not invite us to decide whether it is true or false. The truth or falsity of the statement itself is not the point.

The statement in fact is a hollowed-out shell inside which is smuggled the real statement:

That Ezra Klein is bien pensant given to Thinking Serious Thoughts About Race and Such.

That is what drives me crazy about modern discourse. So little of it is actually designed to advance a proposition. So much of it is designed to advance The Speaker.

Modern speech is insanely "performative." Modern speech is marked not by its focus on the statement itself but on the act of making the statement, and how that act (allegedly) credits the speaker.

This shit must be called out until it stops.

We live in a Narcissistic Age. This era's defining vice is Vanity.

And we cannot allow these narcissistic headcases to get away with disguising constant self-flattery as alleged "political" speech about ideas external to them.


Posted by Ace at 03:47 PM Comments



Second Take: Schumer's Merely Attempting a Trial Balloon Tactic of Distancing Democrats From Obamacare, While Continuing to Support and Defend It

—Ace

I thought the Schumer statement -- in which he criticized Obama for pushing Obamacare in 2010, instead of addressing the needs of the And The Middle Class -- was important.

But now I think it's just so much positioning. With Elizabeth Warren now endorsing his statement (!!!), it seems obvious to me that this does not represent a true schism in the Democrat Party, but rather a way to snooker the voters again, to Gruber them anew.

The public has turned against government "solutions," starting with its longheld opposition to Obamacare. And Obama is more personally unpopular than ever.

As John Ekdahl is always saying, at some point the 2016 elections will require Democrats to separate themselves from Obama, at least rhetorically, if not in reality.

Thus Charles Schumer's attempt at what he thinks is a cagey fillip -- he will not actually come out against Obamacare, but attempt to channel the frustration of the voters ("They spent all their time trying to pass this bill which only helps 5% of the population, instead of us, the bruised and battered And The Middle Class") without actually giving an inch on Obamacare.

They did the same thing with Clinton during Impeachment, of course. They would not vote for impeachment (just as they will not vote to repeal Obamacare or alleviate the punishing effects on the And The Middle Class) but they came up with a series of rhetorical posturings -- Clinton's behavior is "simply indefensible," for example -- intended to mimic the public's emotional response to the scandal without actually giving an inch on it in policy terms.

So now Charles Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren (!!!), are complaining that Obama spent too much time and capital and money addressing the concerns of the lower classes without sufficiently addressing the needs of the And The Middle Class.

But will they attempt to actually unburden the And The Middle Class by ending Obamacare's punishing wealth-redistributing taxes on the And The Middle Class?

Of course not.

But Schumer (and Warren, and Hillary too) hope that the And The Middle Class is enough of a cheap date to just accept some emotional grousing, rather than demanding specific action to alleviate their burdens.


Posted by Ace at 01:55 PM Comments

The Left's Unending Fascination With Scripts to Browbeat Relatives on Thanksgiving Strongly Resemble... Scripts for Religious Conversion

—Ace

Religious fervor on Thanksgiving?! How appropriate!

Think Progress has a guide on "how to argue with your Evangelical uncle" about marriage equality. Vox is advising you on Bill Cosby, Ferguson, and immigration (you're for it as much as possible, of course).

Last year, some of Michael Bloomberg's dollars trickled down to someone who gave you talking points on gun control. Chris Hayes is once again dedicating an hour of his MSNBC show to the cause.

Less combatively, Conor Friedersdorf advises you to adopt his brand of nodding empathy: "Before you focus on any point of disagreement, ask questions of your interlocutor to figure out why they think the way they do about the subject at hand."

These advice columns are becoming a genre unto themselves. The stock villain: crazy right-wing uncle, the jokes about stuffing. But I recognize them by what they unwittingly emulate: guides for religious evangelism. The gentle, righteous self-regard, the slightly orthogonal response guides, the implied urgency to cure your loved ones of their ignorance. Your raging uncle will know the truth, and the truth will set him free.

That's a problem. Our politics are taking on a religious shape. Increasingly we allow politics to form our moral identity and self-conception. We surround ourselves with an invisible community of the "elect" who share our convictions, and convince ourselves that even our closest and beloved relatives are not only wrong, but enemies of goodness itself. And so one of the best, least religious holidays in the calendar becomes a chance to deliver your uncle up as a sinner in the hands of an angry niece.

One thing that interests me about these Bluffers' Guides to Politics:

Supposedly progressives are super-informed and Love Science. Indeed, that's the main "political" argument they're actually arguing for.

So why is it so many of them seem to need these bluffer's guides to explain to them why they believe the things they believe?

It doesn't really make sense, does it? They're anxious because they're going to a Thanksgiving dinner where they won't have an Automatic Affirmation Clap Circle applauding their poses and posturings, but instead might be asked things like "Where are you getting that claim from?"

And this produces in them a terrible anxiety -- an anxiety disclosed by all these articles in their first paragraphs, which note the anxiety and fear before proposing a way to combat it.

But if they believe all these things so terribly fiercely, shouldn't they already sorta know why they believe them?

It's incredible, when you think about it -- they go through the whole year believing in their progressive catechisms zealously but only bother to ask Why do we believe this progressive religious nonsense again? one single day of the year, the one single day of the year where they fear they might be questioned about their religious beliefs.

Posted by Ace at 12:38 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Pissarro, "Sunset" (1872)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:50 AM Comments

Morning Thread (11-26-2014)

—Andy

Nice work by @GerryDales on sourcing these "spontaneous" protests.


As you'd expect, it's the same old group of anarchists, Marxists, etc. that are behind anti-war protests (expiration date, Jan. 20, 2009), WTO, Occupy, etc., etc. Mike Brown? Never heard of him.

Related:

John Kass - Ferguson a lesson lost on race
John Hinderaker - Trayvon and Mike

My thoughts on the protesters:

Continue reading


Posted by Andy at 06:41 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (11-25-2014)

—Maetenloch

Because I'm tired and lazy tonight.

A Look Back at the 1992 LA Riots

Someone on AR15.com collected these videos of the riots in progress.

A couple observations/notes:

  • Fashion-wise it was still the 80s in 1992.
  • Newscasters were even more woefully ignorant of guns then if that's possible.
  • It's good to have friends. And armed friends who show up are best of all.
  • The female reporter in video 3 is either very brave or very stupid or both.
  • There's a gunfight between Korean storeowners and gangbangers starting at about 1:25 in video 3
  • Riots are scary as shit (okay I knew this from being caught up in the LA riots but over the 22 years it's faded a bit)



Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:44 PM Comments

Media's New Theory: White Officials Deliberately Stoked Riots In Order to Distract from Wilson Verdict

—Ace

Erin Burnett just trotted this insane theory out on CNN, claiming that there was arguably something to it.

So now even the rioting is also due to White Devil Police Men.

There's just a blame-shifting excuse for everything, huh?

Somehow, there's always an excuse for rioting in Ferguson. Remember the militarization of the police? Back in August, it was allegedly provoking otherwise law-abiding people into acts of mayhem because they were so angered by the sight of military-style equipment. Then, the police backed off and businesses were ransacked anyway. At another point, the authorities supposedly provoked more unrest by releasing video of Michael Brown robbing a store. Now, it is the timing of the announcement that Officer Wilson won’t be charged that we’re told is responsible for all the property damage and arson. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post had a theory on Morning Joe this morning that the announcement was timed to maximize the rioting so as to distract from the non-indictment.

The same media which engaged in endless Conspiracy Theory Shaming with respect to birtherism is now actually pushing this hyperpartisan fantasia.


Posted by Ace at 07:13 PM Comments

New York Times Publishes Darren Wilson's Home Address

—Ace

Open warfare.

Posted by Ace at 05:25 PM Comments

Feds Paid $5 Million For Monthly Government-Sponsored Hipster Raves, Featuring Lots of Anti-Conservative Political Agitprop

—Ace

Ostensibly these Hipster Raves were for the purposes of discouraging an at-risk group (white hipsters) from smoking, because you know how much insecure young people who want to be seen as "cool" respond to government-sponsored anti-drug messaging.

But to get these white slackers to accept that not smoking was "cool," they had to throw in a lot of anti-conservative agitprop as the spoonful of sugar.

Oh by way the National Institutes of Health is spending this $5 million on Pabst Blue Ribbon for hipsters instead of ebola. You're welcome.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending nearly $5 million to get hipsters to quit smoking by starting “commune” dance parties in bars across California.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are using taxpayer dollars to bring anti-tobacco marketing into bars by selling posters and t-shirts, including those that deride the views of neoconservatives, saying the political philosophy is as bad as world hunger.

The $4,904,466 grant was awarded in 2011, and runs through 2016.

"In our prior research, we identified a high-risk subpopulation of young adults in San Diego, CA: the 'hipster' subculture, a group focused on the alternative music scene, local artists and designers, and eclectic self-expression," the grant explained. "We developed a yearlong pilot social branding intervention to decrease smoking among this group, using social events and social leaders to promote a strong nonsmoking lifestyle."

Pamela Ling, a professor at UCSF School of Medicine, is leading the project. Ling was the "medical student who got her way" in the 1994 season of MTV's "The Real World" before becoming a doctor.

That's perfect.

Now Ling wants to help UCSF's Center for Tobacco Control Research create a "smoke-free world" by appealing to hipsters' concerns about "social justice."

"Saying 'Smoking is bad for you' isn't relevant to them," Ling told the University. "But they do care about self-expression and social justice."

...

The group holds events, known as "Commune Wednesdays," every month at bars in San Diego, San Francisco, and Burlington, Vt., trying to appeal to hipsters through artwork, alternative bands, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

You can read about the political messaging at the link.

You may already be infuriated, but prepare to be even more infuriated by this rhetorical question:

College-educated "hipsters" are not at particularly high risk of becoming habit smokers, at least not compared to other groups.

Another group much more likely to become habit smokers are non- college educated blue-collar whites.

A group that tends to lean Republican in politics and traditionalist on social issues questions.

Now, given that blue-collar whites are more likely to become habit smokers than hipsters, how many millions do you suppose were spent to attract blue-collar whites to bars to buy them their beers of choice, to hire them the bands they favor, and to try to reach them with political messaging of an anti-progressive, pro-traditionalist bent?

I've got a guess and I'm pretty sure it's not a guess, it's an actual correct answer:

Zero fucking dollars.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 04:31 PM Comments

Your Leftist Media, Cheerleaders for Rioting

—Ace

Lisa Bloom: I find the word "charging" to be "racially-tinged" and "offensive."


Oh, by the way, you know what the real cause of the Ferguson Riots is? "White rage."

A good recap of the media's lunatic gibberings through all last night.


Posted by Ace at 03:56 PM Comments

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder: Did Governor Jay Nixon Refuse to Deploy the National Guard Because of Pressure from Obama and Holder?

—Ace

Speculation.

What isn't speculation is that the National Guard was at the town, but did not move in to restore order until this morning, after dozens of businesses had already been looted and/or burned to the ground.

"What the vast majority of Missourians are asking this morning is, 'We see the National Guard rolling in this morning, … where were they last night?' The law-abiding citizens, and businesses owners, and taxpayers of Ferguson and the St. Louis region have the right to ask this governor to answer some questions," Kinder charged in a Fox News interview....


"Why were they not in there at the first sign of an overturned police car, or a smashed police car window, with a show of force that would have stopped this? And here’s my question that the governor must answer: Is the reason that the National Guard was not in there because the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out? I cannot imagine any other reason," Kinder said.

Ferguson's mayor did request that the Guard be deployed -- and he was ignored.

Nice Deb makes a good point -- stop referring to violence and arson as "protests."

But that's their favorite trick, isn't it?

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 01:56 PM Comments

Charles Schumer: Passing Obamacare Instead of Dealing With the Recession Was a Mistake

—Ace

Oh.

This is surprising. Schumer is a safe senator from deep blue New York and doesn't have -- unless he's insane -- any delusions about one day being president.

He's not actually denouncing Obamacare but this is kind of close to that.

"After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them," Schumer said. "We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform."

The third-ranking Senate Democrat noted that just about 5 percent of registered voters in the United States lacked health insurance before the implementation of the law, arguing that to focus on a problem affecting such "a small percentage of the electoral made no political sense."

The larger problem, affecting most Americans, he said, was a poor economy resulting from the recession. "When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, 'The Democrats aren't paying enough attention to me,' " Schumer said.

The health care law should have come later, Schumer argued, after Democrats had passed legislation to help the middle class weather the recession. Had Democrats pushed economic legislation, he said, "the middle class would have been more receptive to the idea that President Obama wanted to help them" and, in turn, they would have been more receptive to the health care law.

Schumer said he told fellow Democrats in the lead-up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act that it was the wrong time to pass the law.

"People thought—and I understand this—lots of people thought this was the only time to do this, it's very important to do. And we should have done it. We just shouldn't have done it first," he said. "We were in the middle of a recession. People were hurting and saying, 'What about me? I'm losing my job. It's not health care that bothers me. What about me?' … About 85 percent of all Americans were fine with their health care in 2009, mainly because it was paid for by either the government or their employer, private sector. So they weren't clamoring. The average middle-class voter, they weren't opposed to doing health care when it started out, but it wasn't at the top of the agenda."

The Democrat Party can't "help" the middle class, because the middle class is where it gets all that money to redistribute from.

Via @comradearthur.

Posted by Ace at 01:12 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Van Gogh, "Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass with a Book" (1888)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:37 AM Comments

Morning Thread (11-25-2014)

—Andy

Looks like the media got what it wanted in Ferguson; arson, looting ... the works.

Pity the poor people who have to pick up the pieces after they move on.


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

Posted by Andy at 06:33 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (11-24-2014)

—Maetenloch

So I spent all weekend working and then entertaining business visitors from Japan and more of the same today. Which means all you non-Premium members get la suckage d'ONT.

Some tweets:

fergtweet1

Properties also consistent with the truth...

fergtweet2

And the left is already spreading its poison:

fergtweet3

Thomas Sowell: Black America's Problems Today Are Due to the Great Society Not Slavery

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said there were "phrases that serve as an excuse for not thinking." One of these phrases that substitute for thought today is one that depicts the current problems of blacks in America as "a legacy of slavery."

...Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the Civil Rights laws and "War on Poverty" programs of the 1960s, the cold fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960. This was before any of those programs began.

Over the next 20 years, the poverty rate among blacks fell another 18 percentage points, compared to the 40-point drop in the previous 20 years. This was the continuation of a previous economic trend, at a slower rate of progress, not the economic grand deliverance proclaimed by liberals and self-serving black "leaders."

Ending the Jim Crow laws was a landmark achievement. But, despite the great proliferation of black political and other "leaders" that resulted from the laws and policies of the 1960s, nothing comparable happened economically. And there were serious retrogressions socially.

Nearly a hundred years of the supposed "legacy of slavery" found most black children being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state found the great majority of black children being raised by a single parent.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:19 PM Comments

Verdict In: No Indictment for Daryl Wilson

—Ace

So I'm sure this is the last we'll hear of this.

A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation, an attorney close to the case said Monday night.

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family. The decision had been long awaited and followed rioting that resembled war-zone news footage in this predominantly black suburb of St. Louis.

"The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,'' Crump said after being informed of the decision by authorities. Prosecutors scheduled an news conference to announce the decision.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called for calm after calling up National Guard troops to stand by in case of unrest. Speaking before the decision was announced, he urged that "regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint.''

Super Awesome Update: Prevaricator In Chief Barack Obama scheduled to address the nation at 10 pm, assumedly with more lies.

Gunshots Heard; Cars Vandalized.

Posted by Ace at 09:34 PM Comments

MNF Thread

—Dave In Texas

So the Jets are playing the Bills in Motown. Because of this.

bills-stadium-snow-covered.jpg

It's not the MNF game but they had to find a place to play so they did and that's that.

Monday Night Football is Baltimore at New Orleans which has no snow problems today. So that's nice.

baltimore-ravens-cheerleaders 11 24 MNF.jpg

Those are nice too.

Posted by Dave In Texas at 08:27 PM Comments

Leaked: No Indictment in Michael Brown Shooting

—Ace

It's what we figured, but Gateway Pundit says they have a source in the prosecutor's office confirming it.

So now we'll have some wonderful, wonderful riots.

Posted by Ace at 07:51 PM Comments

Unlike the Media, Mollie Hemingway Bothered to Read the House Select Committee on Intelligence's Report on Benghazi, and Here's What It Says

—Ace

I have to read it myself one of these days.

Until then, here are MZ Hemingway's top twenty take-aways.

Here are points 15 and 16.

15. Did we mention that there was nothing good about the talking points?

Yeah, so, late in the report we learn that "the Administration's initial public narrative on the causes and motivations for the attacks were not fully accurate." You don’t say! Also that "The process and edits made to these talking points was flawed."

And for this, the GOP should be ashamed? Really? It’s almost like a less obsequious press might think something else might be amiss.

Much of the report wishy-washily explains that there is a fog in intel gathering that makes things difficult to assess and that this kind of sort of excuses all the horse manure that was shoveled by the administration during the campaign-season terrorist attack.

Now, earlier in the report we’re told that "[Ansar al Sharia] posted a video on YouTube on September 12, 2012, claiming participation in the attacks" and we know that the head of al Qaeda called for attacks on the U.S. in Libya the day before the attack. We know that the attack took place on September 11, what even the most casual observer might note is a significant date. We're told that the Defense Intelligence Agency said the attacks were pre-planned on September 12.

But you see, man, like a few weeks later the CIA totally thought it just happened to fall on September 11.

Let me be clear, as President Obama might say, if you're a reporter reading this and think this sounds even remotely plausible and you think that this section is anything other than a great explanation of how idiotic the CIA can be, you are an idiot.

Everything about this section is groan-inducing. Such as that when a cable came from Tripoli to the CIA on September 14 that was the "first indication that there may not have been a protest," according to deputy director Mike Morell, he wasn't sure if he'd read it. Nevermind that we later learn that folks in Libya had within hours assessed that there was a lack of protests that day. I just have a hard time believing that the deputy director wouldn't care if a Tripoli intelligence cable came around. Either way, by September 15, he'd gotten an email specifically saying there'd been no protest.

And when did Susan Rice go on television blaming a YouTube video for sparking a protest that somehow magically transformed into this super-effective double-location onslaught that took four American lives including an American Ambassador's? That would be September 16.

That was when she said the actions in Benghazi were a "direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated."

This report that supposedly makes Republicans look bad notes that Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote on September 14 that "one of the goals of Administration public statements should be 'To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.'"

Exactly the opposite, Ben.

Anyway, this report then claims, more or less completely implausibly, that Rice couldn’t have really known until afterwards that her assessments were incorrect. Um, OK. But maybe when you're, I don’t know, trying to "underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy" because you're focusing on campaigning more than truth-telling, you end up underscoring something that isn't true. I don’t care if we have some difficult-to-swallow bureaucratic BS explanation that avoids tough questions and instead pats Susan Rice on the head as if she couldn't be expected to do better. Or, rather, I don’t see why we let certain administrations get away with this type of explanatory defense while nailing other people to the wall for the smallest slight.

16. Wait, what's this about Mike Morell again?

So the same Morell who accidentally didn’t read a memo related to a horrific terror attack and forgot to tell anyone about the cables from Tripoli also was this guy:

"Finding 12: Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell made significant changes to the talking points"

Wait, what? Are you kidding me?

But, the report says, it's OK because, um, well, you see, he didn’t know Susan Rice or anyone else in the Administration would use talking points he made. And then the report says something about excellent beachfront property for sale cheap. No, actually it says he "made a large number of edits after a September 15 White House Deputies Committee meeting." Oh dear.

Earlier drafts of the talking points mentioned al Qaeda but by the time Morell was done with them, he didn’t even include "Islamist" in them. Because our CIA is full of people who do not commit intelligence failures but can’t figure out that an al Qaeda attack on September 11 might be related to Islamism.

By the way, the CIA's office of public affairs also stripped language about attacks and changed it to "demonstrations" and I am sure that had nothing whatsoever to do with it being an election year or their bosses allowing a major attack on the anniversary of September 11.

By the way, the report only examined failures by the intelligence agencies -- that is, the CIA -- in Benghazi. It did not examine the White House or State Department or Department of Defense.

Posted by Ace at 07:27 PM Comments

Let Them Eat Less: Designer/Aristocrat Declares That If Poor People Can't Afford Pricey Organic Food, They Should Just Eat Less

—Ace

They're almost openly campaigning for a second look at the guillotine.

Dame Vivienne Westwood, the fashion designer, has declared that people who can’t afford to buy organic food should "eat less" and stop getting fat. The millionaire designer made the comments as she delivered a petition to Downing Street protesting about genetically modified food.

When a BBC Radio 5 Live interviewer suggested that "not everybody can afford to eat organic food", Dame Vivienne replied: "Eat less!"

Told that many people in Britain are visiting food banks because they don’t have enough to put on their tables, so "to eat less isn’t an option", Dame Vivienne was dismissive.

"They don’t have any choice – this is the point, isn’t it," she said.

"You’ve got all these processed foods, which is the main reason people are getting fat. They’re not actually good for you - they don't give you strength, they give you weight.

"I eat vegetables and fruit. I don’t eat meat. I believe meat is bad for me so I don’t eat it. It’s also bad for the animals.

"If there was a movement to produce more organic food and less of the horrible food, then organic food would obviously be a good value price, wouldn’t it?"

Posted by Ace at 06:21 PM Comments

NY Giant Receiver Odell Beckham Makes Sick Catch

—Ace

...in losing effort. Of course.

Still, there's that catch.

Now, he was fouled on this play, and drew the flag. I celebrated that. I had no idea he caught the ball. I was happy with the flag.

I didn't imagine it was possible to catch the ball -- it was thrown out of reach, and the Cowbow DB is clearly pulling down on him.

It took me ten seconds to realize he'd f***ing caught the thing. And not even sloppily. No ball movement here. He just catches it.

Somehow.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 05:38 PM Comments

SNL Runs a Mildly Critical Sketch About Obama, and the Washington Post Rushes In to Fact-Check It

—Ace

The sketch itself is okay, but it is critical of Obama's lawlessness, which makes it absolutely remarkable for SNL.

The Washington Post has actually endeavored to "Fact Check" the sketch.

Newsbusters comments:

Demonstrating that serving as the Palace Guard for Dear Leader is a 24-7-365 enterprise, Zachary A. Goldfarb, policy editor at The Washington Post, somehow felt the need on Sunday morning to critique the Saturday Night Live opening skit which appeared the previous evening.

Twelve hours after the skit was first broadcast, Goldfarb, whose whose full archive going back to August indicates that he has not written a WaPo item for Sunday publication in the past four months, nitpicked a comedy skit for — oh the humanity! — failing to distinguish between an "Executive Order" and "executive action"....


The guess here is that the SNL skit -- and especially its three pushes [of "The Bill" down the Capitol Hill steps] -- really got under the White House's skin, perhaps even to the point where they felt like they had to lean on someone at the Post to play some defense on their behalf. Whether or not any communication actually occurred, it seems clear that the Post's apparently equally thin-skinned Goldfarb felt it necessary to get up on a Sunday morning to critique a fundamentally accurate ... (still having a hard time believing it) ... comedy skit.

Goldfarb's piece isn't particularly hacky. Oh, I think it's pretty ticky-tack in making a distinction between an "executive order" and an "executive action," but it doesn't zealously defend Obama from the charge of unconstitutional action the way that, say, Vox would.

So I wonder: Why publish this embarrassment at all?

All I can figure is that Tom Blumer's guess is right, and that the White House did indeed call them asking for a "Fact Check," so the Washington Post obliged.

If this scenario sounds familiar, your memory is not deceiving you: Back in 2010, Wolf Blitzer presumed to fact-check an SNL sketch that made the point that Obama had no real accomplishments to his name.

Why are only sketches critical of Obama subject to this ridiculous, partisan exercise of "fact" checking? Obviously neither the WaPo nor CNN has ever "fact" checked SNL's dozens of Republican-bashing sketches.

Why?

The exercise itself is partisan-- putting people on notice that there is one subject (Barack Hussein Obama) about which there can be no joking whatsoever.

Update: Holy F***ballz: Here's the hacktastic, zealous "fact" checking defense of Obama, courtesy of the Daily Beast.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 04:32 PM Comments

Ferguson Decision Coming Today, CNN Sources Say

—Ace

So we've got that going for us.

The Ferguson grand jurors had apparently intended to render their decision on Friday, but held back, deciding that they needed to think about it some more. They re-convened today to discuss the case again, and now say they're ready to render their opinion.

Posted by Ace at 02:45 PM Comments

Buzzfeed: How to Bury the News that the Iran Talks Failed In Three Easy Steps

—Ace

You just need to get that Big Bus' engines revving.

Posted by Ace at 02:00 PM Comments

Obama Attempts to Defend Imperial Tyranny By, Get This, Lying

—Ace

Four Pinnochios for the pathological liar's claim that Bush's executive amnesty shielded 1.5 million.

Posted by Ace at 01:16 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Albert Bierstadt, "Sacramento River Valley" (1872)

Posted by rdbrewer at 11:27 AM Comments

The Annual Recipe Exchange -- Texas Chili and Brandy Alexander Pie

—Gabriel Malor

It's time for the annual recipe swap with Patheos' Elizabeth Scalia and her readers! Last year she offered these amazing cream puffs and I did these bourbon-berries. Elizabeth noted that she preferred the cream puffs without chocolate sauce, and I'm starting to come around to that view. (Some more experimentation both with and without is needed, to be honest.)

This year Elizabeth sends Brandy Alexander Pie She says it will literally make you happy, and I believe her.

I thought I'd go a bit further afield than Thanksgiving Day proper. Specifically, what about the day before when you'd really rather not spend all day cooking for a meal other than the big show? I know, I know. A bunch of you slackers just order pizza. A better answer: the crock-pot. What could be better than sticking a bunch of yummy things in a pot for hours and walking away?

This is my sister-in-law's simple Texas chili. A feast for any number of people, easy to store and reheat later.

Sis-in-law's Texas Chili


2.5 lb. ground beef
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 yellow onions, diced
2 chili peppers, diced (remove the seeds)
2 carrots, small diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 cup water

Brown the beef in a skillet, breaking it up into small pieces, and drain. Put the beef and the rest of the fixings into the crock-pot and simmer over low heat. Stir every 20-30 minutes or so. Cook for three hours or so.

Easy, perfect, no beans. Eat it with shredded cheddar and sour cream, according to your tastes, over tortilla chips, Fritos, or corn bread.

Alright, more than half the fun of the recipe exchange is to see what the commenters here and at Elizabeth's place will offer. I still get comments about this pumpkin cheesecake dip I stole from commenter Angel Em several years ago, so tell us what ya'll are cooking. Make it good.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:05 AM Comments

BREAKING: Hagel Out As Secretary Of Defense

—DrewM.

Get thee under the bus!

We now know the answer to the age old question, "Is there anyone too incompetent for work for Barack Obama?"

Congratulations Chuck, it was clear from the start you were in over your head.

Posted by DrewM. at 09:08 AM Comments

Morning Thread (11-24-2014)

—Andy

Up and at 'em.


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Posted by Andy at 06:33 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread, 11-23-2014 -- Workin' Man Edition

—Damn Dirty RINO

Well, 'Rons n' 'Ettes . . . me again. Apparently there's an epidemic of Cob Flu going around. Seems Maet has developed some mysterious symptoms which cause him to carouse in much the same way that CDR_M has the for past couple of weekends. And I guess the options are growing pretty thin since I find myself charged with filling in for a second consecutive night that would have otherwise been spent in typical sluggardly fashion. But, since it's been raining all day and the ground was already fairly saturated, my chances of getting in a full day at work tomorrow are pretty slim. So, I should be able to catch up on my indolence then. The paycheck will suffer, but hey -- it's that time of year.

Speaking of which, as some of you may recall from one of my earlier ONT contributions, there's been a bit of a shakeup in my life over the past few months as I suddenly found myself in the midst of an unplanned career change. At the time, I'd gone from tending bar at a local watering hole (some dare call it a roadhouse) to working for a friend of mine who owns a couple of poultry farms. Since then, I've found employment working for a company that installs fiber optic lines. The chicken farming job was essentially a favor from my friend to keep me gainfully employed until something more permanent came up. So, despite some turbulence, through it all I remained a workin' man.

Continue reading


Posted by Damn Dirty RINO at 10:00 PM Comments

Food Thread: The Last of The Thanksgiving Blather [CBD]

—Open Blogger

[I have no idea what happened.....but the comments were the most brilliant ever!]

redrum turkey.jpg

Chez Dildo adheres to a strict schedule for Thanksgiving...roll in around 5:00pm or so, wander around until someone shoves a cocktail into your paws, and then wait around until the cook gets his shit together and serves dinner. Football will be watched, but only because baseball season is over.

Rumor has it that there are other ways to orchestrate the perfect Thanksgiving event. What does the Horde do, and what does it serve that isn't standard fare?

Continue reading


Posted by Open Blogger at 04:11 PM Comments

Gaming Thread 11/22/2014

—Gang of Gaming Morons!

Actually thought of doing a Christmas guide for gaming neckbeards but I said to hell with it (this might come next week depending on how boring Thanksgiving is). And everyone else has done a gaming list on any site you choose so eh.

I'm being lazy and taking a short writeup

Continue reading


Posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 03:11 PM Comments

Pre Thanksgiving Sunday Football Thread

—Dave In Texas

Y-Not has a panicky Thanksgiving thread below if you want to panic over Thanksgiving. If you want to panic over football this is the place.

Colts Nov 23.jpg

Posted by Dave In Texas at 01:00 PM Comments

Sunday Travel Thread: Over the River and Through the Woods [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.
-- Johnny Carson


Sitting here looking out the window watching snow fall... yep, it's November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

PROCEED TO PANIC!!!

All done now? Good.

Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays, second only to Christmas (although it's getting closer and closer as the hassle of putting together bundles of gifts and shipping them across country has become wearing). I like the simplicity of Thanksgiving: it's a big meal flanked by time off and lots of football. Hard to go wrong with that.

Well, except for the hassle of traveling.

First, a poll:

Continue reading


Posted by Open Blogger at 11:45 AM Comments

Sunday Morning Book Thread 11-23-2014: Politics As Usual [OregonMuse]

—Open Blogger


Theological Hall - Prague.jpg
Strahov Theological Hall - Prague, Czech Republic


Some Political Books

I could have sworn I had posted this 11 best political books of all time list in some eaflier book thread, but I couldn't find where, so I apologize if it's a repeat. Anyway, it's a mix of fiction and non-fiction, there's a few interesting entries here (All The King's Men, Master of the Senate) and one clunker (The Handmaid's Tale? Really?).

One of the books on the list is This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! - in America's Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich. It's an insider's "tell all" book and according to the Amazon blub, it lays bare

How political reporters are fetishized for their ability to get their names into the predawn e-mail sent out by the city’s most powerful and puzzled-over journalist. How a disgraced Hill aide can overcome ignominy and maybe emerge with a more potent "brand" than many elected members of Congress. And how an administration bent on "changing Washington" can be sucked into the ways of This Town with the same ease with which Tea Party insurgents can, once elected, settle into it like a warm bath.

This last bit is why I'm not very optimistic about the latest election results. Even if we did successfully elect a number of Our Guys and sent them to Washington to clean house, they'll just get corrupted like everyone else, and become part of the problem. I think that's basically what happened with the guys we elected in the Republican rout of 1994. They're soaking in warm bathwater.


Look Out, It's E-Fairness, the Burning Issue of the Age

Local, brick-and-mortar bookstores want online retailers to have to collect state and local sales taxes, just like they do, and are petitioning Congress to make it so:

The Marketplace Fairness Act was passed 69-27 by the Senate in May 2013, requiring "remote" retailers with out-of-state sales of at least $1 million to collect applicable state and local sales tax on all purchases. President Obama has said he would sign the bill into law; many House Republicans and most online retailers, but not Amazon, have fought the bill.

I think I can guess why Amazon isn't fighting this: it's big enough to absorb the regulatory burden the new law would impose on online booksellers, and might put a few of its smaller competitors at a disadvantage.

But Boehner and the GOP leadership have already given the royal razzberry to this proposed legislation:

John Boehner said Monday he would block any attempt to pass e-fairness legislation in the lame-duck session of Congress...[and] it's unlikely that such a bill would pass either chamber when the new Congress, with its Republican majorities, convenes in the new year. Presumed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against the Marketplace Fairness Act.

The "e-fairness" proposal does sound like "let's eat the rich" type of legislation so typical of progressive policy ideas. I think it's silly that somebody in New York would be forced to collect taxes for the state of California, or any other state.

Continue reading


Posted by Open Blogger at 09:20 AM Comments

Early Morning Thread 11/23/14: Something Borrowed, Something Blue edition [krakatoa]

—Open Blogger

Happy Sunday, gentle morons.

UPDATE: EMT now fortified with 50% more working links.

We'll get back to this:

Han Purple.jpg


Parents of Pro Hockey Defenseman Jack Johnson have borrowed their way into strong consideration for Worst Parents of the Year. Johnson was forced to file for bankruptcy after his loving folks borrowed 15 million dollars against his future earnings from "nonconventional" lenders. My folks were bad with money, but I like to think that if I'd hit on some real income, they'd have had better judgement than to go to a guy named Nicky "Kneecaps" Graziani for a payday loan.


Emperor Qin Shi Huang did it in two dimensions. Or at least his artists did. Han Purple (the color at the top of the post) has some really fascinating traits under 4 degrees Kelvin.

Hope the rest of your day is better than Jack's and warmer than a terracotta warrior in a science lab.

Posted by Open Blogger at 06:47 AM Comments



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Top Headlines

Jim Treacher: Obama: ‘I Just Took An Action To Change The Law’
He went off-teleprompter and told the truth after claiming his amnesty order was within the law. [rdbrewer]


Jon Gabriel: How To Talk to Your Progressive Niece about Obamacare This Thanksgiving [rdbrewer]


This is what happens when ex-Obama speechwriters take on Chuck Schumer
Break out the popcorn. Because no one touches Obama's wonderful legacy. [rdbrewer]


Schumer’s ObamaCare Mea Culpa
"Now that 28—soon probably 29—of the 60 Senate Democrats who voted for ObamaCare are out of office, one of the surviving believers is confessing a crisis of faith." Schumer is trying to cut their losses. Here's another way: give Senate Republicans enough votes to override a veto. [rdbrewer]

CBS DFW: Officials Confirm Another Quake Near Irving, TX Tuesday Afternoon [rdbrewer]

ESPN: RG3 benched [rdbrewer]

CNN: Justice Ginsburg has stent placed in heart
So it's not surgery-surgery. [rdbrewer]


Keven Williamson: Brand Unawareness
"Russell Brand is — let’s get this out of the way up front — a dope, a witless Hollywood poseur who having made himself a splendid fortune and having been cured of his various addictions now seeks new avenues of satisfaction. The progression is a common one among celebrities...." Via Monty. [rdbrewer]

Mediaite: Another CNN Anchor Fails At Celebrity Jeopardy
Cheech Marin whipped Anderson Cooper. Via @Benk84. [rdbrewer]


Milky Way's Monster Black Hole Ignores Its 'Snack,' and Debate Swirls
"The destruction of the gas cloud G2 by the Milky Way's supermassive black hole (which scientists call Sagittarius A*) was set to be one of the main events of the year for astronomy." [rdbrewer]
Video: Jurassic World trailer
Via @Benk84. [rdbrewer]

Video: Leonardo DiCaprio's best performance
Robbed at the Oscars. [rdbrewer]

Sarah A. Hoyt: Speaking Truth to Power
"And the reason they feel forced to keep up the pretense of being downtrodden and hard done by while basking in all the privilege and material rewards of elites everywhere is that they are a theocracy and the faith they used to climb to power is Marxism...." [rdbrewer]


Student Mugged, Says He Deserved It Because Of His ‘Privilege’
No, not The Onion. [rdbrewer]
Astronomy: Spooky alignment of quasars across billions of light-years
Weird. "[T]he rotation axes of the quasars tend to be parallel to the large-scale structures [like galaxy filaments] in which they find themselves." So not only did inflation magnify small-scale density fluctuations, it also magnified differences in motion? [rdbrewer]

"The Scaffolding of Our Universe is Being Slowly Swallowed by Dark Energy"
"[R]eserachers at the University of Portsmouth and Rome believe they have found a better description, including energy transfer between dark energy and dark matter." Eh, I'll see it when I believe it. [rdbrewer]


Why Ferguson?
"The basic idea of that drama was, a black teenager got shot by a white man and this was an injustice." [rdbrewer]


Schumer: Despite Midterms, ‘Public Knows in Its Gut’ That Big Government is Best
Yes, incompetents who can't be fired run things great. (two thumbs up, knowing wink) [rdbrewer]


Krauthammer on Hagel: Obama Can Tolerate Incompetence and Laziness, But Not Criticism
More from AEI. [rdbrewer]
This Robot Hates Ebola
And now an update from Al Sharpton: THIS ROBOT HATES EBOLA?

Newt Gingrich: House Benghazi Report Has Been ‘Co-Opted By The CIA’
That figures, really. Mike Rogers is a government lifer who thinks everything government does is Totally Awesome. But there is also an element of CYA. [rdbrewer]


Mollie Hemingway: 20 Ways Media Completely Misread Congress’ Weak-Sauce Benghazi Report [rdbrewer]

World Science U
Short physics answers with Brian Greene. Just click on the question. [rdbrewer]
The Telegraph: 'Beam' of static electricity raises man's hair outside Google offices in London
Protip: If your hair stands up, it might mean you're about to be hit by electrical arcing. So, avoid that. [rdbrewer]


Sean Trende: Does Obama's Order Set a Precedent for GOP Presidents?
"Once a president uses executive authority to implement a major, controversial policy that has been under debate in Congress for almost a decade, especially after his party suffered a substantial midterm rebuke, there is no going back." [rdbrewer]


Check out these other mocktastic #WapoFactChecks [rdbrewer]


Kevin Williamson: A Small Man in a Big Office
"I do not think I would shake hands with Barack Obama." [rdbrewer]

Heather MacDonald, City Journal: The Microaggression Farce
"The latest campus fad, which sees racism everywhere, will create a new generation of permanent victims." Here's a better idea, kids: own your feelings. The victimhood fad encourages people to handoff control and responsibility to others. [rdbrewer]


Douglas Schoen and Pat Caddell: Obama Is Damaging Hillary’s Chances
"President Obama ’s high-risk immigration gamble may have severe consequences for Washington, the country and the Democratic Party, most of all Hillary Clinton." "Narcissistic fugue" should be a term. #LastTwoYears [rdbrewer]


Mollie Hemingway: Saturday Night Live Finally Makes Fun Of Obama, Media Get His Back
"A very weird thing happened on Saturday Night Live this weekend. The opening sketch — you may want to sit down — but the opening sketch poked mild fun at President Barack Obama’s executive overreach." And the Washington Post published a rebuttal. No, really. Here's the video. [rdbrewer]
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Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
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