Archive for Culture

Getting Testy

Obama calls criticism of Syrian policy “horse shit”.

That’s Presidential. That’s Harvard-speak for “I disagree with that perspective. My perspective is the correct one.”

Hillary Clinton and congressmen alike have called on Obama to arm Syria’s rebels. But the president fumed at lawmakers in a private meeting for suggesting he should’ve done more.
President Obama got angry at lawmakers who suggested in a private meeting that he should have armed the Syrian rebels, calling the criticism “horseshit.”

The argument that America should have done more in Syria, made for years by foreign policy leaders in both parties and several members of Obama’s senior national security team, was brought back to the fore this past weekend. Obama and Hillary Clinton gave dueling interviews in which they publicly split on whether the security and humanitarian catastrophe in Syria could have been avoided if the United States had played a larger role. Obama’s outburst on July 31, one week prior, reveals the criticism was already getting to him, even before the White House tried to deflect Clinton’s remarks as pre-presidential political posturing.

Hmm. Next time your kid lies about something, just say: “That’s horse shit, Johnny!” (if the kid’s name is Johnny, naturally). And if your boss is aggravating, say: “Cut the horse shit, dude.” I think that we all need to practice using “horse shit” to its best advantage.

- Aggie

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Darwin Award

Man shoots self while posing for Selfie.

A young Mexican man has died after accidentally shooting himself in the head while posing for a “selfie” with a loaded gun.

Oscar Otero Aguilar, who worked in a pet shop, is said to have been drinking with friends in Medero, in the north of the capital, Mexico City, when the accident happened.
A follower of the “selfie” craze – in which people pose for photographs they take of themselves – Otero Aguilar frequently posted pictures of himself on social media sites.

Aggie, why did you post this? Because BTL and I want our readers to be well-informed.

- Aggie

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Tartaned and Feathered

It’s almost too lame to be outrageous:

Dozens of world-renowned artists have called on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to cancel the participation of a show staged by the Jerusalem-based Incubator Theater, due to the Israeli operation in Gaza.

The production, “The City,” is a film noir-style hip-hop opera. It was invited to perform at the Underbelly venue in the Scottish capital from July 30 till August 25.

The petition was signed by 50 leading arts figures, including national poet Liz Lochhead, writer Alasdair Gray, playwright David Greig and theater directors Ben Harrison, Scottish media reported over the weekend.

“We the undersigned … write to you to protest against your programming of a show entitled ‘The City,’ by the Israeli company Incubator Theater, during the forthcoming Edinburgh Festival Fringe,” reads the letter, which was organized by theater critic and writer Mark Brown.

“The current, brutal assault by Israel upon the people of Gaza, which is an appalling collective punishment, underlines the seriousness of your error in cooperating with a company which is funded by the Ministry of Culture of the State of Israel.”

Cancel it for being a “film noir-style hip-hop opera”, by all means. But for being Jewish?

And to describe the effort to end Arab terror from Gaza as a “brutal assault” and a “collective punishment” is a stretch not even Roger Waters and Alice Walker could limber themselves up to make. Not even a sniff of the three murdered Jewish teens or the hundreds of missiles fired?

“The State of Israel uses the international ventures of its artists to attempt to lend itself a sense of cultural legitimacy and to distract attention from the brutality of its illegal occupation.

How sneaky of them! So like the Jews, don’t you think? But what “illegal occupation” do they speak of? Israel left Gaza nine years ago, and persistent shelling since is how they’ve been repaid.

It’s almost unfair to let these dimwits speak for themselves. I’d much rather quote the Israelis:

Incubator Theater’s founder and director, Arik Eshet, said in response: “We have nothing to be ashamed of. We are Israelis, and whether we like it or not, it puts us in the position of ambassadors. But treating Israeli artists as government agents is ridiculous.

“Israel is a censorship-free democratic state, and one cannot say that the Israeli theater and art represent the government. This is nonsense which at best stems from ignorance. I have invited the letter’s initiator to engage in a dialogue, but they are not interested because they are convinced they hold the absolute truth.

“This letter was signed by artists and intellectuals who claim to sanctify human rights, but what does that mean when, in practice, they won’t give us the opportunity to fulfill the right to freedom of expression? It’s outrageous and infuriating. Artistic work should be a place for exchanging opinions, but is seems that they don’t believe in that.

“We are proud of who we are and what we do. It’s their right to boycott us, but they are missing a wonderful show.”

You have nothing to be ashamed of because your nation is defending itself from an existential threat to the Jewish people. The “artists and intellectuals” who condemn Israel for that inherently agree with Hamas’ annihilist aims.

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Fun Book

Hey guys, I’m out of here for a couple of weeks, but wanted to alert people looking for a silly summer read to The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters. Great fun. And a metaphor for the Obama years if ever there was one.

- Aggie

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Democrats Among Us

I couldn’t get past the first few sentences.

Democratic Florida Rep. Joe Garcia — fresh off being caught eating his own earwax on camera — was caught red-handed (or is it yellow-fingered?) in another gaffe this week, claiming that low crime rates in border cities with lots of federal immigration workers is proof that “Communism works.”

To find out how it works, go to the link.

- Aggie

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The Left Continues To March Leftward

This would be a dog-bites-man story if it weren’t so Orwellian

In the U.S., the politics of the left versus the right rolls on with the predictability of traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. It’s a lot of honking. Until now. All of a sudden, the left has hit ramming speed across a broad swath of American life—in the universities, in politics and in government. People fingered as out of line with the far left’s increasingly bizarre claims are being hit and hit hard.

Commencement-speaker bans are obligatory. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice withdrew as Rutgers’s speaker after two months of protests over Iraq, the left’s long-sought replacement for the Vietnam War. Brandeis terminated its invitation to Somali writer Hirsi Ali, whose criticisms of radical Islam violated the school’s “core values.”

Azusa Pacific University “postponed” an April speech by political scientist Charles Murray to avoid “hurting our faculty and students of color.” Come again? It will “hurt” them? Oh yes. In a recent New Republic essay, Jennie Jarvie described the rise of “trigger warnings” that professors are expected to post with their courses to avoid “traumatizing” students.

Oberlin College earlier this year proposed that its teachers “be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.” The co-chair of Oberlin’s Sexual Offense Policy Task Force said last month that this part of the guide is now under revision.

I think it’s fair to say something has snapped.

Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich was driven out as CEO for donating money to support California’s Prop. 8. An online protest tried to kill Condi Rice’s appointment to the Dropbox board of directors over Internet surveillance. Incredibly, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston didn’t cave.

Earlier this year, faculty and students held a meeting at Vassar College to discuss a particularly bitter internal battle over the school’s boycott-Israel movement. Before the meeting, an English professor announced the dialogue “would not be guided by cardboard notions of civility.”

This gets worse and worse. Go to the link and read about the Harvard undergrad who published an article in The Crimson suggesting that we drop academic freedom in favor of social justice. And that we stop all research that doesn’t comply with her idea of social justice. And then read about the agreement that the Obama administration… never mind – I’ll post it:

It’s obvious that the far left has decided there are no longer constraints on what it can do to anyone who disagrees with it. How did this happen? Who let the dogs out?

The answer is not university presidents. The answer is that the Obama administration let the dogs out.

The trigger event was an agreement signed last May between the federal government and the University of Montana to resolve a Title IX dispute over a sexual-assault case.

Every college administrator in the U.S. knows about this agreement. Indeed, there are three separate, detailed “Montana” documents that were signed jointly—and this is unusual—by the civil-rights divisions of the Justice and Education Departments. Remarked DoJ’s Joceyln Samuels, “The government is stronger when we speak with one voice.”

That’s real muscle. But read the agreement. It is Orwellian.

The agreement orders the school to retain an “Equity Consultant” (yes, there is such a thing) to advise it indefinitely on compliance. The school must, with the equity consultant, conduct “annual climate surveys.” It will submit the results “to the United States.”

The agreement describes compliance in mind-numbing detail, but in fact the actual definitional world it creates is vague. It says: “The term ‘sexual harassment’ means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.” But there are also definitions for sexual assault and gender-based harassment. All of this detailed writ is called “guidance.” As in missile.

No constitutional lawyer could read this agreement and not see in it the mind of the Queen of Hearts: “Sentence first, verdict afterwards!” Indeed, the U.S. Education Department felt obliged to assert that the agreement is “entirely consistent with the First Amendment.”

First Amendment? It’s more like a fatwa. The Obama administration has issued a federal hunting license to deputize fanatics at any university in America. They will define who gets accused, and on what basis.

The White House enabled these forces again last week, releasing an Education Department list of 55 colleges that are “under investigation” for possible Title IX violations. Not formally cited but “under investigation.” The list includes such notorious Animal Houses as Catholic University, Swarthmore, Knox College, Carnegie Mellon and Harvard Law School. In truth, every school in America is effectively on the list.

And there’s more at the link. The really unfortunate thing for all of us that just want to be left alone is that there probably is no country left on earth where that can happen. If Texas secedes from the Union, I’ll join them. If they’ll have me…

- Aggie

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Amusing, True.

- Aggie

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This Is Fun

- Aggie

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Let’s Talk About 50 Years Of Welfare

George Will points out the tragedy of liberal policies

itics of Rep. Paul Ryan’s remarks about cultural factors in the persistence of poverty are simultaneously shrill and boring. Their predictable minuet of synthetic indignation demonstrates how little liberals have learned about poverty or changed their rhetorical repertoire in the last 49 years.

Ryan spoke of a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work,” adding: “There’s a real culture problem here.” This brought down upon Ryan the usual acid rain of accusations — racism, blaming the victims, etc. He had sauntered into the minefield that a more experienced Daniel Patrick Moynihan — a liberal scholar who knew the taboos of his tribe — had tiptoed into five years before Ryan was born.

Moynihan wrote this

A year from now, there surely will be conferences marking the 50th anniversary of what is now known as the Moynihan Report, a.k.a. “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” In March 1965, Moynihan, then 37 and assistant secretary of labor, wrote that “the center of the tangle of pathology” in inner cities — this was five months before the Watts riots — was the fact that 23.6 percent of black children were born to single women, compared to just 3.07 percent of white children. He was accused of racism, blaming the victims, etc.

Forty-nine years later, 41 percent of all American children are born out of wedlock; almost half of all first births are to unmarried women, as are 54 percent and 72 percent of all Hispanic and black births, respectively. Is there anyone not blinkered by ideology or invincibly ignorant of social science who disagrees with this:

The family is the primary transmitter of social capital — the values and character traits that enable people to seize opportunities. Family structure is a primary predictor of an individual’s life chances, and family disintegration is the principal cause of the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
In the 1960s, as the civil-rights movement dismantled barriers to opportunity, there began a social regression driven by the explosive growth of the number of children in single-parent families. This meant a continually renewed cohort of adolescent males from homes without fathers; this produced turbulent neighborhoods and schools where the task of maintaining discipline eclipsed that of instruction.

In the mid-1960s, Moynihan noted something ominous that came to be called “Moynihan’s scissors.” Two lines on a graph crossed, replicating a scissors’ blades. The descending line depicted the decline in the minority — then overwhelmingly black — male unemployment rate. The ascending line depicted the simultaneous rise of new welfare cases.

Hmm, let’s see if we can find Moynihan’s scissors:

3moynihanscissors

Believe it or not, that image comes from PBS. Times have truly changed.

Will’s point is that it isn’t racism – and certainly not race – that creates the dependency class, but rather a culture where this is accepted. I agree. He is also very down on single parent homes. Although I raised kids in a marriage, happily, I sure know a lot of young adults who grew up in a single parent household and did just fine. I believe that it is easier to raise kids in a two-parent environment, but I think that the collapse we’re seeing in cities like Detroit is more complex than the absence of a father in the home. I get the point that boys need male role models, but in communities where men work and behave reasonably, whether they reside with their kids or not, you don’t see that spike in criminal behavior and drug dependence. Maybe I’m just splitting hairs?

- Aggie

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¿Quien es Mas Macho?

I wrote recently about conservatives looking beyond politics to the culture of the country for impact and change. I cited Glenn Beck’s recent comments, as well as Mark Steyn’s.

Rush Limbaugh, too, has recently published two children’s books on American history to correct the corrosive effect of liberalism on young skulls full of mush.

Keep writing, Rush.

Untitled

In a very competitive field, Seth Meyers is making a strong case that he is the most liberal host in the late night game.

Like a little girl having Justin Bieber over for a tea party, Meyers slobbered over MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow during her appearance on his “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Wednesday morning.

“You’re like basically my dream woman,” the NBC host gushed at one point.

Doesn’t a “dream woman” have to be, you know, a woman?

Isn’t that Pajama Boy (aka Ethan Krupp)?

Of course, the next time I watch Seth Myers will be the first. I’ll get right to it—right after I watch every Seth Rogen film and every Family Guy (Seth MacFarlane) episode.

PS: And purchased a Seth Aaron Henderson design.

PPS: And reset every Seth Thomas clock.

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Culture Wars Again

When I read Glenn Beck said this:

“I said when I left Fox that this half of my career is going to be shaped more by Walt Disney than anything else,” he says.

His interest in Disney is symbolic of the shift in his attention and efforts toward culture and away from politics. He had a realization: “Culture is the lead. That’s the dog. The news is the tail.”

He pulls out a piece of early publicity on Disneyland, points to a paragraph, and reads aloud. “Disneyland will be based upon and dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America and it will be uniquely equipped to dramatize these dreams and facts and send them forth as a source of courage and inspiration to all the world.” Beck, known to burst into tears at a moment’s notice, looks like he might do so right now. “That’s what we’re gonna do,” he declares. “That’s how I intend on impacting culture. To do that.”

And then Mark Steyn wrote this:

You can’t have conservative government in a liberal culture, and that’s the position the Republican party is in. After the last election, I said that the billion dollars spent by the Romney campaign on robocalls and TV ads and whatnot had been entirely wasted, and the Electoral College breakdown would have been pretty much the same if they’d just tossed the dough into the Potomac and let it float out to sea. But imagine the use all that money and time could have been put to out there in the wider world. Liberals expend tremendous effort changing the culture. Conservatives expend tremendous effort changing elected officials every other November — and then are surprised that it doesn’t make much difference. Culture trumps politics — which is why, once the question’s been settled culturally, conservatives are reduced to playing catch-up, twisting themselves into pretzels to explain (including in the pages of this magazine) why gay marriage is really conservative after all, or why 30 million unskilled immigrants with a majority of births out of wedlock are “natural allies” of the Republican party.

I am compelled to pause and think.

I don’t necessarily buy into everything Steyn says—I think gay marriage can be conservative, for example, in that two adults of the same sex committing to each other before God and man, often to raise children, fits the conservative model of the family more than a single woman who tries to go it alone (or aborts her unborn child). Conservatism can change with the times, and the times are significantly less hostile to gay people, and even gay marriage, than just a few years ago.

But I do buy the larger part. How can the Right win elections (except as a reaction to failures on the Left—see 2010 and 2014, I hope) when its vision of a healthy society is so at odds with what popular culture is selling? Cutting the budget may be fiscally prudent (necessary, even), but what about school breakfasts? We no longer expect parents in some districts to give breakfast to their kids (lunch was lost long ago), so are they supposed to go to school hungry? What about unemployment insurance? Even liberal economists (even Paul Krugman!) acknowledge that paying people not to work discourages them from working. But do you want them to starve? Black women may be slaughtering their unborn children at genocidal rates (in the case of “Dr.” Keith Gosnell, literal slaughtering), but do you expect them to have babies they can’t care for?

The culture weighs the pros and cons and makes its decisions. We live in a culture that prefers dead black babies to ones born to unfit mothers; that would rather not insist people work even when they can; that would rather schools play mommy and daddy, rather than, you know, mommy and daddy. Like a parallel universe, it’s hard to picture the world any different.

Yet this is at odds with one of Rush’s observations: that Obama remains more popular than any of his policies. He preaches “immigration reform” (amnesty) when few people care, and most of those who do oppose it. He wants to elevate “climate change” from the last place finish it ranks in polls of national concerns. He won’t get off the pot on the Keystone pipeline, when most people see the benefit. And he force-fed us ObamaCare. At least on some political issues, Obama, not conservatives, is at odds with the culture. Once Obama is gone, things may look more balanced (if it’s not too late).

I am more drawn to the Tea Party end of the Republican Party than its mainstream—give me more Ted Cruz, less John Boehner. Not because I believe everything Cruz believes, but because he believes in something. Whatever the Left believes in is diseased and corrupt. That has to made manifest to a nation of “low information voters”.

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It Happened In Oregon, But It Could Have Happened In Many Other Places

All the ingredients of a horror movie: teenagers, box cutter, crow bar, swastika…

Three Portland, Oregon, teens are accused of luring a classmate into a shed, hitting him in the head with a crowbar, shooting him with a BB gun — and then using a box cutter to carve a swastika into his forehead.
“There is no understanding what they did,” Kelli Murrain, the victim’s mother, told CNN affiliate KPTV. “Roll it around in your head and you just go, ‘Oh my God.’ For the grace of God I could have lost my youngest son.”
The incident took place February 10, police say.
On Wednesday, authorities charged the teens with kidnapping, robbery, assault and menacing.
The suspects — Jenna Montgomery, 15, Blue Christian Kalmbach, 15, and Jess Taylor, 17 — have been charged as adults and were being held on nearly $3 million bail each.
A 14-year-old, also accused of taking part, will be tried as a juvenile.
According to court documents, Montgomery told police detectives that she was the “bait” to lure the 16-year-old victim, Dustyn Murrain, to the shed where the alleged assault took place.
The teens were after the victim’s skateboard and cash, according to a probable cause affidavit.
All of them are students at David Douglas High School.

If you want to see the perpetrators, go to the link.

I have to say, Portland is an odd place. They are foodies there – some of the best food you’ll ever taste. Great coffee. Very, very pretty. But Moonbatty? Oh Lord, Yes! The most incompetent computer-dooters in the world, evidently. And strange violence too. Still, the title of this post is true. It could have happened in other places, I suppose.

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