This Ted Cruz ad is so epic, it almost looks like he’s announcing he’s running for presidentPosted March 29, 2014 at 11:16 am by Becket Adams
A video uploaded this week to the Ted Cruz For Senate YouTube account has already garnered more than 18,000 views and has at least a few people wondering whether the junior senator is feeling out his 2016 prospects.
“I’d never seen something like this from Cruz before,” Allahpundit of Hotair writes. “At first blush, I thought maybe it was his way of stealing a little thunder from Rand Paul’s overt presidential maneuvering lately. Here’s Cruz reminding conservatives that Rand won’t be the only game in town next year.”
“But after looking through his campaign YouTube account, I realize I’m wrong. Cruz has released at least two ads similar to this one since being elected to the Senate,” he adds.”
Now, it could be that Cruz is just giving his supporters something to share on social media. Something to boost their spirits.
However, as Allahpundit notes, other senators who have generated some 2016 buzz, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), haven’t updated their YouTube accounts with simalirly epic and dramatic videos.
So take from that what you will:
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Watching a Two-Legged Boxer Run On the Beach for the First Time Will Make Your DayPosted March 29, 2014 at 11:15 am by Oliver Darcy
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Video: Tenacious dog goes absolutely nuts facing off against stray leafPosted March 28, 2014 at 6:55 pm by Jason Howerton
(H/T: Laughing Squid)
George Will says these are the three most important things to happen in baseball since WWIIPosted March 28, 2014 at 11:08 am by Benjamin Weingarten
George Will is out with a new book just in time for Opening Day (at least on American soil) that covers the trials and tribulations of Will’s beloved Chicago Cubs and more importantly the home that has defined them for the last century, Wrigley Field titled “A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred.”
But the book is about much more than that. Other topics amply covered include Americana, history, philosophy, culture, faith, poetry, politics, entrepreneurship and beer, not necessarily in that order. It is about baseball in all its forms (usually poor ones when speaking of the Cubs), and its widespread influence which goes well beyond the baseball diamond.
As a sneak peek, here’s a short excerpt from the book in which George Will tells us the three crucial events to happen in baseball since the end of World War II:
“The three most important things that have happened in baseball since the Second World War were Jackie Robinson taking the field in Brooklyn in 1947, free agency arriving in 1975, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards opening in 1992. This last was an act of heroic nostalgia but, then, baseball fans are disposed to live with cricks in their necks from looking backwards. Which is why Major League Baseball owes a debt to a willowy woman from Mississippi. To those who said, “You can’t turn back the clock,” Janet Marie Smith responded, “Well, we’ll just see about that.”
Jackie Robinson of course courageously broke the color barrier in baseball, paving the way for greats such as Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, under the visionary leadership of perhaps baseball’s original Billy Beane (he of “Moneyball“), the beloved Branch Rickey.
Will describes Robinson’s first game at Wrigley Field in 1947, which brought a semblance of peace to a city in Chicago which had been marked by racial tension since the early 20th century. In front of a record crowd, Will notes that half of it were African Americans, “probably the largest concentration of African Americans in the history of the North Side [of Chicago] up to that point. No unpleasant incidents were reported.”
Title: A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred
Author: George Will
Further, showing a sign of the times and what attending a baseball game was actually like in the mid-20th century, not to mention the almost religious reverence for Robinson, contrasted with continued underlying racial tension:
“A Cub official told the paper [the Chicago Defender, published by and for African Americans] that this was “the most orderly large crowd in the history of Wrigley Field. We were pleased to note that the Negro fans behaved better than our average Sunday fans for which we thank the Defender for its part in this…” On the day of Robinson’s first visit to Wrigley Field, [Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Columnist Mike] Royko remembered seeing something that was, indeed, common when the Dodgers visited a city that year: African American fans came to the game dressed as though for church: “white shirts, ties, gleaming shoes, and straw hats…” He remembered that when Robinson, who was batting second, approached the plate in the first inning, there was “long, rolling applause” but that when he stepped into the batter’s box, ‘it was as if someone had flicked a switch. The place went silent.’”
This has to be one of the worst ‘Jeopardy’ blunders in the show’s historyPosted March 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm by Jason Howerton
In case you missed it on TV, one of the worst answers likely in the history of “Jeopardy” occurred on Wednesday night.
The question: “100+ assists in an NHL season has been accomplished only 13 times, 11 times by this player.”
This contestant’s answer will make you chuckle:
That college degree hanging on your wall is as worthless as a piece of toilet paperPosted March 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm by Stu Burguiere
We learned in the last post that getting an A is as easy as getting Paris Hilton into bed.
With kids spending 19 hours a day on Twitter, it’s highly suspicious to see GPA’s skyrocket. And business leaders are becoming more skeptical of potential employees’ inflated grades.
When business leaders were asked if college students are prepared for the workforce, only a third of them said yes. And only 11% strongly agreed.
We’re putting our kids into six figure debt for 11% of businesses?
Whenever I talk about college, people say you don’t understand, no one will hire you if you don’t have a degree!
That’s true, in one quarter of American businesses. And yes, if you want to be a neurosurgeon, you should probably have a piece of paper that says neurosurgeon on it. But six figure debt and the freshman 15 only gets you an advantage at one quarter of American businesses?
This is the type of scam that makes Bernie Madoff shudder with jealously.
Oh and by the way, a huge chunk of your tax dollars are going to pay for it.
How is the Obama Administration dealing with this? They’re trying to create more incentives to inflate grades by offering more cash to colleges that graduate students on Pell Grants.
Pretty soon this is going to be Zimbabwe. Their inflation got so bad that everyone in the entire country was a trillionaire but no one had any real money.
We’re becoming a country where everyone is on the honor roll but nobody knows what they hell they’re doing.
Did you happen to catch the eerie 1945 Leftist playbook that Glenn Beck was recently quoting from?Posted March 27, 2014 at 10:31 am by Benjamin Weingarten
During Glenn Beck’s rousing weekend speech at the Summer Retreat for the David Horowitz Freedom Center, when discussing the fact that Americans do not know their own history, he pulled out a book with a shockingly prescient message.
“The President when he went to run for his second term…put out a video and it was on and then it was off. And it went away quickly because when I saw the title I said, “Oh I know that title.” And it was pulled within the first day.”
What was the title of the video, and why might it have been pulled?
The video was titled “The Road We’ve Traveled.” And if that sounds familiar, it should. In 2012 Glenn Beck exposed the Obama documentary as being titled and themed quite similarly to a book written by Stuart Chase — who coined the phrase “New Deal” — in 1945 titled “The Road We Are Traveling. 1914-1942.” The book lays bare the entire progressive agenda, which continues its march forward today.
At the time, TheBlaze noted:
“For Beck, “the road we are traveling” is not only the embodiment of the Obama administration and every goal it is realizing, but is ‘yet another knife in the back of anyone who doesn’t know [the history]… and a wink to anyone who does.’”
During the speech while paraphrasing a particularly eerie passage from the book, Beck stated:
“We can’t go back. We can’t go back on what we have started on the road we’re traveling…soon we will have something I would like to call “X.” It’s the first intelligent attempt to understand what we are doing…a “managerial revolution.” So in other words, nobody’s actually going to be running the country. We’ll just have a bunch of…middle managers. The EPA will be running [the country]…he says it’s too late to turn back [this is in 1945]…we’re moving from free enterprise to “X.” Now he didn’t want to call it anything else. Before they were calling it “fascism.” They were calling it “socialism.” They were calling it “communism.” But because these words were all discredited he called it “System X.”
And what is “System X?” Here’s what Chase says, a list that Glenn quoted from [link ours]:
- A strong, centralized government.
- An executive arm growing at the expense of the legislative and judicial arms. In some countries, power is consolidated in a dictator, issuing decrees.
- The control of banking, credit and security exchanges by the government.
- The underwriting of employment by the government, either through armaments or public works.
- The underwriting of social security by the government–old-age pensions, mothers’ pensions, unemployment insurance, and the like.
- The underwriting of food, housing and medical care, by the government. The United States is already experimenting with providing these essentials. Other nations are far along the road.
- The use of the deficit spending technique to finance these underwritings. The annually balanced budget has lost its old-time sanctity.
- The abandonment of gold in favor of managed currencies.
- The control of foreign trade by the government, with increasing emphasis on bilateral agreements and barter deals.
- The control of natural resources, with increasing emphasis on self-sufficiency.
- The control of energy resources–hydroelectric power, coal, petroleum, natural gas.
- The control of transportation–railway, highway, airway, waterway.
- The control of agricultural production.
- The control of labor organizations, often to the point of prohibiting strikes.
- The enlistment of young men and women to youth corps devoted to health, discipline, community service and ideologies consistent with those of the authorities. The CCC camps have just inaugurated military drill.
- Heavy taxation, with special emphasis on the estates and incomes of the rich.
- Not much “taking over” of property or industries in the old socialistic sense. The formula appears to be control without ownership. It is interesting to recall that the same formula is used by the management of great corporations in depriving stockholders of power.
- The state control of communications and propaganda.
After reciting from the list, Glenn summarized his point: “It’s clear to see what we’re doing, if you are a communist with patience [as Beck defined progressives]…They’ve said it.”
For those who have read Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ 1848 title “The Communist Manifesto,” the principles Stuart Chase outlined almost should seem familiar, as they dovetail nicely with Marx and Engels’ 10 planks of Communism.
Be sure to watch Glenn’s entire compelling speech below.
Do your own homework: For The Record’s research for ‘The Purge’Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:19 pm by Tom Orr
A detailed look at “The Purge” and its true cost by TheBlaze contributor Patrick Poole.
“Has the Obama administration left the nation vulnerable to terrorism?” by TheBlaze correspondent Sara Carter.
Patrick Poole is on Twitter: @pspoole
Andrew McCarthy is on Twitter:
Rep. Louie Gohmert is on Twitter:
Judicial Watch is on Twitter: @JudicialWatch
Egypt’s government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in December 2013.
You can read more from Sebastian Gorka at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
You can read more from Stephen Coughlin at the Center for Security Policy.
The clip shown from one of Coughlin’s briefings came from a presentation at the Freedom Defense Initiative.
The “Words that Work and Words that Don’t” memo shown in the episode.
The Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training document shown in the episode.
You can watch Rep. Louie Gohmert’s entire floor speech on political correctness and terrorism on C-SPAN. His speech begins 6:25:00 into that clip.
The graphic with the number of times certain terms appeared in various government reports is from one of Stephen Coughlin’s presentations: Disappearing CT Language
One of the presentations that was purged: Doctrinal_Basis_For Jihad
The purged presentation “So What Can We Do?”
Some of the Wired Magazine stories shown during the episode:
- “FBI ‘Islam 101′ Guide Depicted Muslims as 7th-Century Simpletons“
- “FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims Are ‘Violent, Radical’“
- “FBI Trainer Says Forget ‘Irrelevant’ al-Qaida, Target Islam“
- “New Evidence of Anti-Islam Bias Underscores Deep Challenges for FBI’s Reform Pledge“
The transcript of Ackerman’s September 14, 2011 appearance on “Maddow.”
The October 2011 letter to John Brennan sent by Muslim groups, demanding action on the training materials.
The list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial. CAIR appears on page 5, ISNA appears on page 8.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s “An Explanatory Memorandum” document uncovered during a 1991 raid in Virginia. Page 32 lists ISNA as one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s North American front groups. This raid and document are explained in detail in the 2012 documentary “The Project.”
The Eric Holder testimony shown during the episode came from a November 8, 2011 Justice Department Oversight hearing. The answer shown during the episode starts at 2:14:30.
The ISNA press release on their February 2012 meeting with then-FBI Director Robert Mueller is no longer available on the ISNA website. You can view an archived version here: ISNA meets Mueller
The details on the numbers and specifics of documents removed during the purge come from a Judicial Watch report. The numbers of documents removed are on the page labeled 8 at the bottom. The page referring to the “Subject Matter Experts” is labeled 5 at the bottom.
The interaction between Rep. Louie Gohmert and then-FBI Director Robert Mueller about the “Subject Matter Experts” came during a May 9, 2012 House Judiciary Committee hearing on FBI Oversight. Rep. Gohmert’s questioning starts at 53:00 and then again at 1:19:35.
The full transcript of the House Judiciary Committee meeting with the senior FBI official: 032312 FBI HJC transcript. The section highlighted in the episode is on page 5.
The complaint that “the overall tenor of the presentation is too informal in the current context” is on page 265.
The complaint about linking al-Qaeda to the 1998 Khobar Towers and 1993 World Trade Center bombing is on page 231.
The complaint that “the overall tenor of the presentation is problematic” is on page 145.
The complaint that “the entire item should be removed from the FBI’s available training material corpus” is on page 23.
The press release from ISNA showing Imam Mohammed Magid with President Obama at a White House Iftar dinner is no longer available on the ISNA website. It is still archived online. You can also see a screenshot of the top of the article here: ISNA Joins White House Iftar and a screenshot of the entire article here: ISNA Joins White House Iftar – Full
The press release showing U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis with ISNA National Director Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed has also been removed from the ISNA website. It was originally available at http://www.isna.net/articles/news/isna-joins-us-sec-of-labor-to-raise-awareness-about-issues-affecting-working-people.aspx.
The press release “Nat’l Security Adviser Stresses Muslims as Part of ‘American Family’” is no longer available on the ISNA website. A release on that meeting from another group, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, is still online. A screenshot of that article is saved here: Nat’l Security Adviser Stresses Muslims as Part of ‘American Family’ During Speech at ADAMS Center
The full Judicial Watch report including the purged materials obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. That page includes links to many of the documents shown in this episode.
The For The Record episode about the Boston Marathon bombing was titled “System Failure” and is available on-demand.
The interaction between Rep. Louie Gohmert and then-FBI Director Robert Mueller about the Islamic Society of Boston mosque came during a June 13, 2013 House Judiciary Committee hearing on FBI Oversight. Rep. Gohmert’s questioning starts at 2:03:00.
The articles of incorporation for the Islamic Society of Boston, including Abdulrahman Alamoudi’s name that Rep. Gohmert was holding up: ISB Articles of Organization
A Department of Justice press release on Alamoudi’s 2004 sentencing on terror-related charges.
Andrew McCarthy’s book “Willful Blindness.”
President Obama’s video greeting for ISNA’s 50th Anniversary celebration.
President Obama meeting with a Muslim Brotherhood lobbyist at the White House in January 2014.
“The FBI’s Guiding Principles” document.
Live Blog: ‘For The Record’ and ‘Real News Investigates’Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm by Steve Krakauer
While you watch “For the Record” and “Real News Investigates” on TheBlaze.com/TV, join the conversation here with producers and TheBlaze talent: we’ll have behind-the-scenes pictures and details, related links, polls and much more. The shows, and live blog, begins at 8 p.m. ET.
Jimmy Kimmel asks adorable little kids to list as many ‘naughty words’ as they knowPosted March 26, 2014 at 1:05 pm by Oliver Darcy
Inspired by a YouTube video of a kid listing all of the bad words he knows, Jimmy Kimmel sent a camera out to Hollywood Blvd and asked a bunch of kids if they know any naughty words. Just watch below for the results:
(H/T: Viral Viral Videos)
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A detailed look at ‘the purge’ of U.S. counter-terrorism training by the Obama administrationPosted March 26, 2014 at 11:51 am by Patrick Poole
Tonight’s episode of For The Record investigates a series of policies established by the Obama Administration during 2011-2012 that effectively neutered FBI counter-terrorism training and blinded our nation’s intelligence agencies to the threat from Islamic terrorism.
In what some experts have termed a hostile “political warfare campaign” driven by an alliance between the administration, Islamic organizations and cooperating media figures, analysts and subject matter experts were blacklisted, and books and training materials were purged from official counter-terrorism training programs government-wide.
This “purge” has contributed to clues being missed by the FBI in major terrorism cases, including last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon recounted this past September in an episode of For The Record:
One of the first indicators of these efforts was the cancellation of an anti-terrorism conference scheduled for August 10-12, 2011 hosted by the CIA’s Threat Management Unit.
As reported by veteran Pentagon reporter Bill Gertz at the Washington Times, the conference was cancelled at the demand of Islamic groups who objected to presentations that were to be conducted by former Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence analyst and international law expert Stephen Coughlin (who is featured in tonight’s episode) and Steve Emerson of The Investigative Project on Terrorism. An email sent to conference registrants explained that the Department of Homeland Security would be formulating new guidelines for vetting speakers and screening presentation content.
The cancellation of the CIA terrorism conference was followed in September 2011 by a series of articles by far-Left blogger Spencer Ackerman at WIRED Magazine that claimed counter-terrorism trainers and materials used by the FBI were promoting “Islamophobia.” One of Ackerman’s targets was books in the library at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, that he deemed offensive. It should be noted that as a general rule banning books in government-funded libraries is considered rank censorship.
While a number of claims made by Ackerman in his series of articles were later found to be manifestly false, inside U.S. government agencies individuals targeted by Ackerman’s articles were prohibited from speaking publicly in defense of themselves and their work and “The Purge” continued apace.
This book being compared to Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ could be the Left’s key weapon on inequality and taxation for years to comePosted March 26, 2014 at 9:00 am by Benjamin Weingarten
In a New York Times op-ed published on Sunday titled “Wealth Over Work,” Paul Krugman warns that we are heading towards “oligarchy” as the ultra-wealthy such as the Koch brothers and Walmart heirs exhibit greater and greater sway over politics in the United States; Krugman uses as evidence for his argument a new book out that he claims “will be the most important economics book of the year — maybe the decade.”
The book, written by leftist French economist, and according to Krugman “arguably the world’s leading expert on income and wealth inequality,” Thomas Piketty, is titled “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” a Marx-inspired title that has gone viral in the progressive intellectual sphere. How does Piketty argue that the world should counter the move towards oligarchy caused by capitalism? A progressive annual global wealth tax — i.e. a tax on assets one already owns — and up to an 80% income tax rate on the highest earners.
Piketty’s magnum opus, which we are currently slogging through (it is 700 pages), is premised on the argument that capitalism naturally leads to dangerous and destabilizing income inequality, with the rich increasingly getting richer and more powerful, as according to Piketty they earn a higher rate of return on their capital or wealth than the rate of growth of the economy for extended periods of time. Stated differently, those who control great wealth in a free economy will become increasingly wealthier through returns on their wealth (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.) relative to total annual income, as economic growth slows and the rate of return on wealth outpaces the growth of the total economy.
The end result is a socially unjust, immoral, “undemocratic” and likely disastrous outcome. According to Piketty the only reason this has not occurred already following the Industrial Revolution is due to disruptive technological developments and the shocks of World Wars I and II, which served to redistribute and/or destroy wealth.
As Krugman puts it, Piketty’s book documents
“…the growing concentration of income in the hands of a small economic elite. He also makes a powerful case that we’re on the way back to “patrimonial capitalism,” in which the commanding heights of the economy are dominated not just by wealth, but also by inherited wealth, in which birth matters more than effort and talent.”
These so-called divergent effects that concentrate wealth, swamp the convergent aspect of the diffusion of knowledge and skills facilitated by capitalism.
Title: Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Author: Thomas Piketty
In order to correct for the inequality and lack of social justice that free-market capitalism produces in Piketty’s eyes, he advocates as mentioned that governments should institute a progressive annual tax on capital or wealth, in addition to imposing an income tax of 80% on those with incomes above $500,000 or $1 million per year, among other reforms.
In addition to Krugman’s praise, the book has received favorable coverage in Al Jazeera, Book Forum, Demos, The Economist, Huffington Post, the New Yorker, Washington Monthly, The Week and perhaps most representatively in numerous posts over at the liberal Center for American Progress’ newly created Washington Center for Equitable Growth, which cites Piketty and fellow income inequality economist Emmanuel Saez’s work in its mission statement. This heavy coverage indicates that Piketty’s book, compared in multiple places to Marx’s “Das Kapital” in both importance and nature, but bolstered with two-hundred years of statistical data (however flawed such data may be) is highly valued in progressive circles.
Couple these early indications among the progressive intellectual class with the fact that Piketty is considered as American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis notes, arguably one of the two “…most important public intellectuals in the world today,” it stands to reason that this book will be used to justify progressive policies and generate and bolster anti-capitalist academic papers and other influential literature for months and years to come.
In a midterm election year, and at a time in which income inequality and class warfare rhetoric is ever-present, it is vital to study the thrust of what’s being put forth, material that may contain the key arguments to the left’s agenda on income inequality, taxation and economics more broadly for days, months and years to come.
As such, below we provide the 10 most highlighted passages in the book, which give a sense as to its key themes, and what readers collectively interpret to be its most crucial arguments. It bears noting for your reference that the most-highlighted passage was marked 153 times, while the least of the most-highlighted passages was marked 48 times.
Most Popular Passages from Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”
1. When the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems quite likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based.
2. When the rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy (as it did through much of history until the nineteenth century and as is likely to be the case again in the twenty-first century), then it logically follows that inherited wealth grows faster than output and income.
3. Like his predecessors, Marx totally neglected the possibility of durable technological progress and steadily increasing productivity, which is a force that can to some extent serve as a counterweight to the process of accumulation and concentration of private capital.
4. The sharp reduction in income inequality that we observe in almost all the rich countries between 1914 and 1945 was due above all to the world wars and the violent economic and political shocks they entailed (especially for people with large fortunes). It had little to do with the tranquil process of intersectoral mobility described by Kuznets.
5. Knowledge and skill diffusion is the key to overall productivity growth as well as the reduction of inequality both within and between countries.
6. The second conclusion, which is the heart of the book, is that the dynamics of wealth distribution reveal powerful mechanisms pushing alternately toward convergence and divergence. Furthermore, there is no natural, spontaneous process to prevent destabilizing, inegalitarian forces from prevailing permanently.
7. To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation, at the expense of historical research and collaboration with the other social sciences.
8. Over a long period of time, the main force in favor of greater equality has been the diffusion of knowledge and skills.
9. The history of the distribution of wealth has always been deeply political, and it cannot be reduced to purely economic mechanisms. In particular, the reduction of inequality that took place in most developed countries between 1910 and 1950 was above all a consequence of war and of policies adopted to cope with the shocks of war. Similarly, the resurgence of inequality after 1980 is due largely to the political shifts of the past several decades, especially in regard to taxation and finance.
10. It has been the demographic growth of the New World that has ensured that inherited wealth has always played a smaller role in the United States than in Europe.
This ad mocking ads is actually a brilliant pitchPosted March 26, 2014 at 8:33 am by Jonathon M. Seidl
Stock footage company Dissolve is out with an hilarious ad mocking…ads.
The company created a video using only stock footage available on its site, and used self-deprecating humor to take a shot at all those commercials we’ve seen over the years that use skyscrapers, time lapse, and lots of diversity.
Take a look (MILD CONTENT WARNING FOR LANGUAGE):
Video of tiny dog protecting his food bowl from bigger dog is pretty much the bestPosted March 25, 2014 at 8:54 pm by Jason Howerton
(H/T: Daily Picks and Flicks)
Watch Self-Proclaimed College Basketball Fans Struggle to Name a Single College Basketball PlayerPosted March 25, 2014 at 5:28 pm by Oliver Darcy
In the spirit of March Madness, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel took to the streets of Los Angeles to ask self-proclaimed college a simple question: “Can you name a college basketball player?”
It turns out, the question wasn’t as simple as Kimmel thought.
Watch the hilarious results below:
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An excerpt from the alarming new book ‘Iran’s Final Solution for Israel’Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm by Benjamin Weingarten
Andrew Bostom, a Professor at Brown University Medical School, Islamic scholar and author of books including among others “Sharia Versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism” and “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History,” has a chilling new book out titled “Iran’s Final Solution for Israel: The Legacy of Jihad and Shi’ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran.”
In the book, Bostom argues that commentators and policymakers on both the left and right fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the Iranian regime; this leads America and the West more broadly to pursue policies aimed at neutralizing Iran’s nuclear ambitions that are completely ineffective.
Rather, if we understand the true goals, objectives and strategies based on Iranian history, Islamic law and the words and deeds of current actors as well as views among the Iranian citizenry itself, Bostom argues, we will come to completely different conclusions as to Iran’s true nature (and ultimately how to deal with her).
Progressive commentator Kohn makes a surprising statement about Fox News and conservativesPosted March 25, 2014 at 10:02 am by Benjamin Weingarten
Sally Kohn is a liberal former community organizer who drew the ire of Fox News viewers in recent years as a contributing progressive panelist.
Despite her political stripes however, Kohn recently contributed an essay to the collection titled “The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women,” compiled by TheLi.st, an exclusive excerpt of which was provided to TheBlaze, expressing great appreciation for her former colleagues at Fox and acknowledging the kindness of conservatives more broadly that is often neglected by fellow liberals.
On Fox News, Kohn states:
“…other liberals, always ask me what it was like to be “in the lion’s den” at Fox News. I could tell them what they probably expect to hear—that everyone has fangs and is very mean. But it’s not true…The people I debated on air, whether Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, or you name it? The folks behind the scenes, whether the head of the network or the producers and camera operators? They couldn’t be more lovely. For me, who certainly walked into the building the first time with a lot of unconfessed stereotypes about conservatives, it was a stark realization about how we put each other into political boxes of “otherness” that have nothing to do with reality. Sean Hannity and I have almost nothing in common politically, but fortunately our politics are only a fraction of who we are as people. And as people, as human beings, we have a ton in common. That’s not to say our political differences aren’t important. I’m a political pundit. Trust me, I think those political differences are incredibly profound and vital. It’s just not the sum total of what defines us.”
Kohn also noted that routinely when traveling outside of New York City, where Fox News is more popular, she is constantly met with folks who begrudge her for her politics but commend her as a person:
“The interactions usually follow the same pattern, with folks saying to me something along the lines of, “I don’t agree with everything you say, but I enjoy watching you. You seem nice.” My all-time favorite variation on this theme was a woman who stopped me in the middle of a rainstorm at Disney World (while I was encased in a plastic rain poncho) and said, ‘You make me want to pull my hair out a lot of the time, but, ya know, sometimes you make good points. And you’re fun.’”
Kohn made these points in context of an argument about “emotional correctness” — a concept that is essential to political persuasion and thus success — in that likability or style in the political realm (whether Nixon vs. Kennedy or Romney vs. Obama) often trump competence and substance:
“Emotional correctness is how we say what we say—the tone and feeling we convey, the respect and empathy we show others not necessarily with our words even, but our style. After all, people won’t hear anything we’re saying if they don’t listen to us first. And we get people to listen to us by being emotionally correct.
Emotional correctness is how we show each other that we care, on a human level, regardless of whether we agree or disagree on political, or any other, terms.”
Note — Benjamin Weingarten discusses this post with TheBlaze Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker:
Target data breach could become cyber thriller movie: Will you watch it?Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm by Elizabeth Kreft
Moviegoers could get to watch one of the nation’s largest credit card scams unfold on the big screen.
Sony Pictures Entertainment wants to turn the Target data breach debacle into a cyber thriller and highlight the investigative savvy of the security reporter who first broke the story, Brian Krebs.
According to the Liberty Voice:
“(Sony has purchased the movie rights of the New York Times article about Krebs. The article, Reporting From the Web’s Underbelly, was penned by Nicole Perlroth and describes how Kreb’s blog about cyber crime has caused criminals to hack him frequently, sent packages of excrement and drugs to his home and accused him of murder.”
The former Washington Post reporter, who quit his job at the paper to focus solely on cyber security issues, keeps a 12-guage shotgun at his side because he has received so many threats. That is definitely enough real-life drama to fuel the Hollywood writers.
“Some gumshoe I am,” Krebs wrote on his site KrebsonSecurity. “This took me by complete surprise.”
On the upside for the millions of unsuspecting Target-scam victims; I’m sure they’ll need plenty of extras to play the trusting customers just trying to buy Christmas presents without having personal information stolen. It only seems fair if you were a victim of the fraud scam Sony should give you first right of refusal for those roles.
It seems the movie may focus a little more on Krebs and his reporting than Target itself though; Sony decided to purchase Krebs’ “life rights” for the narrative and no doubt some of the scenes will include the action described in Perlroth’s article about the cyber blogger:
“In the last year, Eastern European cybercriminals have stolen Brian Krebs’s identity a half dozen times, brought down his website, included his name and some unpleasant epithets in their malware code, sent fecal matter and heroin to his doorstep, and called a SWAT team to his home just as his mother was arriving for dinner.”
Krebs even taught himself how to read Russian so he would have a leg up on tracking and deciphering some of the rampant criminal activity the cyber realm. But nerds are the new heroes, didn’t you know?
I have a feeling the movie will be a cross between “Sneakers” and “Swordfish” — weighted down with too many ridiculous embellishments to really appreciated what went down. Perhaps the film could give closure to those who were affected by the data breach, or maybe it will be salt in the would. Either way, we want to know: would you go see this movie?
(H/T: The Liberty Voice)
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter
What’s the real academic fraud being perpetuated against students everywhere?Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm by Stu Burguiere
I never went to college so I missed out on all the keg parties and, apparently, a surplus of good grades.
Contrary to the concept of school as you knew it growing up, A’s are pretty easy to come by these days. In fact the only thing you have to work really hard to get are D’s and F’s. In college today, an A is over four times as common as a D or an F combined.
It’s a drastic change from the 15% of students who received A’s in 1960.
The pool is a little higher today. Ok, it’s a lot higher. If you look at this chart you’ll see that 43% of all letter grades given today are A’s.
And this sort of makes sense if you think about it. No one wants to pay $40,000 a year to hear that they’re dumb.
College is one of the rare businesses in which you pay them and at the end of the experience they tell you how well they did. If you’re a parent and you send your kids to school and they get A’s you feel good about the purchase. But if your kids get F’s you feel like they wasted your money.
And amazingly these institutions of higher learning, that do little other than indoctrinate kids against the evils of capitalism, sure do understand incentives.
It may be hard to get into an Ivy League school, but according to Walter Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University, that’s where the hardship ends.
According to his research, our 1.1 trillion dollars in college debt is sure buying some awesome grades at some high brand schools.
Take Brown University for instance. Two-thirds of all letter grades given at Brown University are A’s.
At Harvard, fifty percent of all grades were either A or A-. And 91 percent of seniors graduated with honors.
I’ve got news for you if 91 percent of people are graduating with honors, it’s not honors.
Eighty percent of the grades given at the University of Illinois are A’s and B’s.
At Columbia University, fifty percent of students are on the Dean’s list. I’ve got news for ya if 50% of students are on the Deans list, it’s not the Deans list. It’s just a list of half of the school.
And how about Stanford? Only 6 percent of student grades at Stanford were a C or below.
Or let’s take the case of the University of Michigan, the average GPA was 2.57 in 1950. Let’s watch it go up up up up to 3.27 today.
As you look at the average GPA skyrocket, ask yourself this question. Do you think our kids getting smarter by this much?
I’m going to guess no—but they totally should get an A for Effort!
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Prof. Glenn Reynolds reviews an intriguing thriller that leads to a devastating questionPosted March 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm by Benjamin Weingarten
In USA Today, Professor Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) uses a thriller titled “Lightning Fall: A Novel of Disaster” by Bill Quick as a vehicle to ask a question that should give us all pause: “We have so far avoided the kind of terrorist-inspired disasters that Quick has striking the West Coast and New Orleans. But what do we do about the slow-motion disaster that’s ongoing in Washington, D.C., today?”
According to Reynolds’ review, “Lightning Fall” covers a nightmare scenario in which three terrorist attacks are attempted (two of which succeed), with disastrous consequences nationwide, including an electromagnetic pulse weapon (EMP) detonated over the West Coast (related clip below), a nuclear weapon smuggled into the Port of New Orleans which causes shipping lanes along the Mississippi River to be shut down and most interestingly in Washington, D.C., where a weapon fails to go off.
“even as tens of millions of Americans die, most of the action is about political positioning, and most of the government’s foreign affairs behavior is astonishingly naive. Both, alas, seem all too believable today…American diplomats (in a thinly disguised Hillary Clinton administration) seem unable to grasp that other nations might be happy to see the United States destroyed or drastically weakened. Though the book was written months ago, their shocked and ineffectual response seems entirely credible in light of the similarly shocked and ineffectual response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s incursions in Ukraine. The world is not much like the Model U.N., and our adversaries are, in fact, on the other side. Russians, Chinese, Iranians, North Koreans: All would have more freedom of action if the U.S. were weak, and they know it. That our leaders have trouble understanding this as a goal is, alas, not fiction.”
Reynolds concludes his piece with a very sobering assertion:
“…even without such overt disasters, Washington continues to run up debts future generations won’t be able to pay, to pass bills that no one has read, and to engage in policy experimentation whose consequences will be borne not by the experimenters, but by the experimented-upon. The results are likely to be poor.”
This leads him to his aforementioned rhetorical flourish on what he characterizes as the “slow-motion disaster” in Washington, D.C. occurring in real-life today.
One can only pray that Quick’s disastrous fictional scenario remains just that: fiction.
Bombshell: Book claims Pakistani gov’t harbored terrorists including bin Laden — and the U.S. knew and ignored itPosted March 24, 2014 at 10:00 am by Benjamin Weingarten
In a New York Times Magazine article adopted from a soon-to-be-released book “The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014,” author Carlotta Gall reveals that the Pakistani government harbored terrorists including explicitly protecting Osama bin Laden, while putting on a facade of cooperation with the U.S. in its counterterrorism operations. When the U.S. government uncovered information about the Pakistanis’ aiding and abetting of terrorists, it failed to address it “for fear of setting off a greater confrontation with a powerful Muslim nation.”
Gall states [emphasis ours]:
“The Pakistani government, under President Pervez Musharraf and his intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was maintaining and protecting the Taliban, both to control the many groups of militants now lodged in the country and to use them as a proxy force to gain leverage over and eventually dominate Afghanistan. The dynamic has played out in ways that can be hard to grasp from the outside, but the strategy that has evolved in Pakistan has been to make a show of cooperation with the American fight against terrorism while covertly abetting and even coordinating Taliban, Kashmiri and foreign Qaeda-linked militants. The linchpin in this two-pronged and at times apparently oppositional strategy is the ISI. It’s through that agency that Pakistan’s true relationship to militant extremism can be discerned — a fact that the United States was slow to appreciate, and later refused to face directly, for fear of setting off a greater confrontation with a powerful Muslim nation.“
During her investigation on the goings-on in Pakistan, Gall got word that the Pakistani government might have known of Osama bin Laden’s location, information that when brought to U.S. government officials was effectively denied, leaving Gall stonewalled:
“Soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. “He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,” the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so. Pasha had been an energetic opponent of the Taliban and an open and cooperative counterpart for the Americans at the ISI. “Pasha was always their blue-eyed boy,” the official said. But in the weeks and months after the raid, Pasha and the ISI press office strenuously denied that they had any knowledge of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad.
Colleagues at The Times began questioning officials in Washington about which high-ranking officials in Pakistan might also have been aware of Bin Laden’s whereabouts, but everyone suddenly clammed up. It was as if a decision had been made to contain the damage to the relationship between the two governments. “There’s no smoking gun,” officials in the Obama administration began to say.”
Anecdotally, Gall began to collect evidence that Pakistan was aiding and abetting bin Laden:
“Bin Laden did not rely only on correspondence. He occasionally traveled to meet aides and fellow militants, one Pakistani security official told me. “Osama was moving around,” he said, adding that he heard so from jihadi sources. “You cannot run a movement without contact with people.” Bin Laden traveled in plain sight, his convoys always knowingly waved through any security checkpoints.”
After more than two years of investigation, Gall finally found the stunning evidence to buttress her thesis:
“In trying to prove that the ISI knew of Bin Laden’s whereabouts and protected him, I struggled for more than two years to piece together something other than circumstantial evidence and suppositions from sources with no direct knowledge. Only one man, a former ISI chief and retired general, Ziauddin Butt, told me that he thought Musharraf had arranged to hide Bin Laden in Abbottabad. But he had no proof and, under pressure, claimed in the Pakistani press that he’d been misunderstood. Finally, on a winter evening in 2012, I got the confirmation I was looking for. According to one inside source, the ISI actually ran a special desk assigned to handle Bin Laden. It was operated independently, led by an officer who made his own decisions and did not report to a superior. He handled only one person: Bin Laden. I was sitting at an outdoor cafe when I learned this, and I remember gasping, though quietly so as not to draw attention. (Two former senior American officials later told me that the information was consistent with their own conclusions.) This was what Afghans knew, and Taliban fighters had told me, but finally someone on the inside was admitting it. The desk was wholly deniable by virtually everyone at the ISI — such is how supersecret intelligence units operate — but the top military bosses knew about it, I was told.”
One Pakistani legislator with whom Gall spoke argued that the blind eye of the U.S. government towards Pakistan continues, leading to the continued growth of anti-Western terrorist groups throughout the Middle East:
“The United States was neither speaking out against Pakistan nor changing its policy toward a government that was exporting terrorism, the legislator lamented. ‘How many people have to die before they get it? They are standing by a military that protects, aids and abets people who are going against the U.S. and Western mission in Afghanistan, in Syria, everywhere.’”
In a related story of interest, Mediaite reported that Gall’s entire article, which was printed in the International New York Times, was completely censored in its Pakistani edition.
What the front page of the New York Times looks like in Pakistan today pic.twitter.com/EBwUzb3RRz
— Aleem Maqbool (@AleemMaqbool) March 22, 2014
See a little girl’s adorable reaction when her dad tries to trick her into promising she’ll never have a boyfriendPosted March 23, 2014 at 11:29 am by Oliver Darcy
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter
Is he the voice behind AOL’s famous ‘You’ve Got Mail’ greeting?Posted March 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm by Oliver Darcy
Ever wonder who the man behind AOL’s famous voice is? A YouTuber says he tracked him down.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter
These dogs are very confused after magician performs trick to vanish their treatPosted March 22, 2014 at 8:33 am by Oliver Darcy
Do dogs react to magic? Watch as magician & mentalist Jose Ahonen vanished some dog treats under their noses.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter
The special bond between a baby and protective Great Dane will melt your heartPosted March 21, 2014 at 6:53 pm by Jason Howerton
(H/T: Daily Mail)
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