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Cover Story: Barry Blitt’s Governor Christie “Playing in Traffic” : The New Yorker

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Cover Story: Barry Blitt’s “Playing in Traffic” : The New Yorker

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Jimmy Kimmel Petition: White House Responds to China Protest

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 reports:  The White House on Friday responded to a petition calling for an apology afterABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” featured a joke in October about killing Chinese people to avoid paying down U.S. debt.

The Obama administration responded to the petition after it received more than 105,000 signatures on the We the People site maintained by the White House.

The White House noted that ABC and Kimmel apologized for the joke, featured in a segment in which Kimmel is querying children about how the U.S. should payback China. The segment provoked protests among Chinese American activists.

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[VIDEO] Hong Kong Media Legend Run Run Shaw Dies at 106

Hong Kong  (CNN) — Sophie Brown  reports:   Sir Run Run Shaw, the media tycoon who helped bring Chinese martial arts films to an international audience, died at his home in Hong Kong on Tuesday at the age of 106, the television station he founded said on Tuesday.

runrunshaw070114eTelevision Broadcasts Limited (TVB) said in a statement that the centenarian would be sadly missed:

“Although we knew this day will come, no words can adequately express our sorrow and lessen our sense of a profound loss,” it said.

With his elder brother, Runme, Shaw co-founded one of the world’s largest film studios, Shaw Brothers.

The company has produced around 1,000 movies since 1958, and helped launch the careers of star actors and directors from across Asia.

At its peak, in the 1960s and 1970s, the studios were making more than 40 films a year, according to a biography by film history writers Zhan Youpeng and Lan Chao.

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Books: Shostakovich, Leningrad, and the greatest story ever played

Brian Moynahan’s Leningrad: Siege and Symphony brings together the story of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony and that of the siege of Leningrad to inspiring, heartbreaking effect
A Soviet soldier buys a ticket for the performance of the Seventh Symphony in Leningrad in August 1942

A Soviet soldier buys a ticket for the performance of the Seventh Symphony in Leningrad in August 1942

  writes:  The horrors of the Leningrad siege — the 900 Days of Harrison Salisbury’s classic — have been pretty well picked over by historians; and meanwhile the story of
Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, the improbable circumstances of its composition and first Leningrad performance in August 1942, is well known from the extensive, and still growing, literature on the composer.

But Brian Moynahan’s book is the first to my knowledge — in English at least — to interweave these narratives to any significantly detailed extent. Moynahan is not a musician, and this is not really a book about music. It’s about an event which symbolises and personalises a history that, en gros, is virtually beyond our comprehension — those of us who live peaceful, well-fed, well-warmed, secure lives in a free society unmenaced by tanks on the one hand or secret police on the other.

The technique, if not the scale, is Tolstoyan. Moynahan’s narrative frame — his Borodino — is the German invasion itself, the first part of the siege, the atrocious Russian military failures leading up to the nightmare of the Volkhov pocket, and the barely credible stupidities of the NKVD, who routinely, under orders from Stalin and Beria, shot or imprisoned their own best officers and large numbers of other mostly loyal citizens, at a time when military expertise was in desperately short supply and loyalty under severe threat.

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Millennial Communists

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To the young and idealistic, this time is always different.

Jonah Goldberg  writes:  ‘In America,” Oscar Wilde quipped, “the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.” And they often do it in the pages of Rolling Stone.

Last week, the magazine posted a mini-manifesto titled “Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For.” After confirming that it wasn’t a parody, conservative critics launched a brutal assault on its author, Jesse A. Myerson.

Myerson’s essay captures nearly everything the unconverted despise about left-wing youth culture, starting with the assumption that being authentically young requires being theatrically left-wing.

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Hey Washington Post, Edward Snowden is Greenwald’s bitch, got it?

From...where else but the Daily Caller? Look at renegade journalist Glenn Greenwald getting all territorial about his NSA leaker Edward Snowden today. It’s as if he’s saying to The Washington Post, ‘BACK OFF BITCH, HE’S MINE.’

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I can’t really blame him. Back in the summer of 2001 when Chandra Levy went missing amid an affair with slimeball, blow-dried Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.) that involved oil massages in his Adams Morgan love palace, it was my story at The Hill. As in MY STORY. Any reporter or intern who even breathed in the direction of Levy and Condit got glances filled with cold daggers in their skulls and a firm declaration that it was my beat and not to be touched. Looking back on that, that was a little ridiculous and I don’t even know how I got away with that attitude. But live and learn, and share. There’s plenty of room for multiple stories on a topic.

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But not Snowden. Mess with the facts on Snowden and you might as well rip out Greenwald’s liver at this point.

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New ‘Smart Rifle’ Makes Any Shooter a Pro

How about this fresh report from the : A start-up gun company unveiled a highly accurate “smart rifle” at the Consumer Electronic Show this week.

TrackingPoint presented at the show its new 500 Series AR Smart Rifle, which is just one of the company’s line of “Precision Guided Fire Arms.”

CNBC reports:

This technology turns even a neophyte into a marksman, at least within a 500-yard range. The user simply “tags” the target, and the gun and ammo do the rest, all for a mere $9,950—the starting price for the new series.

In fact, the system is so accurate that a user will have up to five times the accuracy of an experienced shooter, said Oren Schauble, the company’s marketing director.

The gun can track a target moving at up to 10 mph and allows for rapid engagement, meaning a person can shoot multiple targets quickly.

According to TrackingPoint, the company’s unique rifles are meant to “dramatically enhance the hunting and shooting sports experience while delivering a powerful tactical advantage to military and law enforcement organizations.”

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China surpasses US as world’s largest trading nation

Originally posted on China Daily Mail:

China has overtaken the US in annual trade in goods, according to official figures. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP

China has overtaken the US in annual trade in goods, according to official figures. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP

China became the world’s largest trading nation in 2013, overtaking the US in what Beijing described as “a landmark milestone” for the country.

China’s annual trade in goods passed the $4tn (£2.4tn) mark for the first time last year according to official data, after exports from the world’s second largest economy rose 7.9% to $2.21tn and imports rose 7.3% to $1.95tn.

As a result total trade rose 7.6% over the year to $4.16tn. The US is yet to publish its 2013 trade figures, but with trade totalling $3.5tn in the first 11 months of the year, it is unlikely to beat China.

The shift in the trading pecking order reflected China’s rising global dominance, despite a slowdown in economic growth last year.

Zheng Yuesheng, a spokesman for China’s customs administration, said: “It is…

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CRACK: House Democrats break ranks with the White House on ObamaCare vote

Speaker+Pelosi+Swears+Members+111th+Congress+1ub7AYCflDAlPete Kasperowicz  reports:  Dozens of House Democrats broke ranks with President Obama on Friday to support legislation that would require people to be notified of security breaches under ObamaCare.

The House passed the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, H.R. 3811, in a 291-122 vote. Sixty-seven Democrats voted for the bill, ignoring arguments from party leaders that the bill was a “messaging” vote meant to discourage people from signing up for insurance.

The one-sentence bill says that no later than two business days after any security breach on an ObamaCare site is discovered, “the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall provide notice of such breach to each individual.” Republicans said that under current law, the government is not required to notify people if their information is put at risk.

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Ford: ‘We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law’ (Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car)

Jim Edwards  reports:  Ford’s Global VP/Marketing and Sales, Jim Farley, said something both sinister and obvious during a panel discussion about data privacy today at CES, the big electronics trade show in Las Vegas.

Jim Farley of Ford

Bad PR: Creepy Weasel Statist Big-Brother comments from Jim Farley of Ford

Because of the GPS units installed in Ford vehicles, Ford knows when many of its drivers are speeding, and where they are while they’re doing it.

Farley was trying to describe how much data Ford has on its customers, and illustrate the fact that the company uses very little of it in order to avoid raising privacy concerns: “We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing. By the way, we don’t supply that data to anyone,” he told attendees.

If this guy doesn’t freak you out, you probably shouldn’t be driving a car

Farley has since retracted his statements.

Rather, he said, he imagined a day when the data might be used anonymously and in aggregate to help other marketers with traffic related problems. Suppose a stadium is holding an event; knowing how much traffic is making its way toward the arena might help the venue change its parking lot resources accordingly, he said.

Jim Farley, at right, on a panel with Facebook exec Carolyn Everson at CES today.

Jim Farley, at right, on a panel with Facebook exec Carolyn Everson at CES today.

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Reality Check: Oklahoma Bill would Ease school policies on Imaginary, Toy Guns

amd-plastic-gun-jpgOKLAHOMA CITY –  Schoolchildren in Oklahoma could not be punished for chewing their breakfast pastries into the shape of a gun under a bill introduced this week by a Republican legislator.

Rep. Sally Kern said Wednesday her measure dubbed the Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act was in response to school districts having policies that are too strict or inflexible.

Kern cited a recent Maryland case that gained national media attention where a boy was suspended after his teacher accused him of chewing his Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.

“Real intent, real threats and real weapons should always be dealt with immediately. We need to stop criminalizing children’s imagination and childhood play,” Kern, Republican from Oklahoma City told News9.com.

“If there’s no real intent, there’s no real threat, no real weapon, no real harm is occurring or going to meaXVkDlXCR5C1zxMMHA1pAoccur, why in the world are we in a sense abusing our children like this.”

Under Kern’s bill, students couldn’t be punished for possessing small toy weapons or using writing utensils, fingers or their hands to simulate a weapon. Students also couldn’t be punished for drawing pictures of weapons or wearing clothes that “support or advance Second Amendment rights or organizations.”

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News9.com reported that Kern’s proposal was met with immediate opposition from the Oklahoma Education Association.

“The proposed legislation removes local control from teachers, counselors, administrators and local school boards. Educators are degreed professionals, trained and experienced in dealing with children,” Linda Hampton, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, told the station.

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STRIKING BACK: ‘Compassionate Conservatives’ vs. Tea Party Insurgents

Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, called for "a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned." (Photo: Thinkstock)

Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, called for “a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” (Photo: Thinkstock)

Philip Klein  writes:  When the Tea Party movement emerged to challenge President Obama in 2009, it also posed a counterweight to the “compassionate conservative” wing of the Republican Party, which was defined by the expansionist policies of President George W. Bush.

After years of being marginalized, compassionate conservatives – emboldened by the overreach of Tea Party conservatives during last fall’s government shutdown fight – are attempting to reassert control over the party.

In the winter 2014 issue of National Affairs, Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner – two former speechwriters and advisers to Bush – propose “A Conservative Vision of Government,” in which they advance many of the arguments that were used 15 years ago to sideline small-government conservatives and lay the groundwork for the Bush-era spending binge.

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[VIDEO] WHERE’S THE BEEF? Legendary 1984 Wendy’s Ad Launched 30 Years Ago

This is the classic Wendy’s commercial that started their Where’s The Beef advertising campaign that began in 1984. It features Clara Peller reciting her classic line.

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BONUS BEEF:

Bob Beckel was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign. During that campaign he became known as the man who effectively wrapped the Wendy’s slogan “Where’s the beef?” around Gary Hart, Mondale’s opponent for the Democratic nomination.

 

From Fox News:

It’s hard to believe that 30 years ago this month, Wendy’s first aired its iconic “Where’s the beef?” ad.

The commercial, which first debuted on the small screen on Jan. 10, 1984, featured three white-haired women examining a hamburger. As they rave about the large and fluffy hamburger bun, one woman, Clara Peller, addresses the obviously small hamburger patty paired with the bun. 

[MORE VIDEOS AFTER THE JUMP]

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The Hammer: How to Fight Academic Bigotry

TheHammerCharles Krauthammer  writes:  For decades, the American Studies Association labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It has now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.

Given that Israel has a profoundly democratic political system, the freest press in the Middle East, a fiercely independent judiciary and astonishing religious and racial diversity within its universities, including affirmative action for Arab students, the charge is rather strange.

Made more so when you consider the state of human rights in Israel’s neighborhood. As we speak, Syria’s government is dropping “barrel bombs” filled with nails, shrapnel and other instruments of terror on its own cities. Where is the ASA boycott of Syria?

And of Iran, which hangs political, religious and even sexual dissidents and has no academic freedom at all? Or Egypt, where Christians are being openly persecutedOr Turkey, Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, massively repressive China and Russia?

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Handshakes are GERM Bombs: Embrace the Fist Bump!

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LA Times’ Rene Lynch reports:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 80% — 80%! — of all infections are transmitted by hand.

“Handshaking is gross”

That very well might explain why you are sick —- or recovering from being sick. Same goes for your co-workers. Your kids. Your S.O. And so on.

Experts say frequent that hand washing goes a long way toward curbing the spread of “influenza-attributable illness” in adults, which costs the nation more than $83.3 billion each year in lost productivity and medical bills.

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Friday News Dump

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BenK – Ace of Spades HQ

Thanks to Gabe, JohnE, Doreen, Zakn and others for a few of those links.

Follow BenK on twitter and feel free to tweet links between 10-11pm on weekdays.

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[VIDEO] MSNBC: December Jobs Report Is ‘Awful,’ ‘Very Bad,’ and ‘Ugly’

 reports: MSNBC admitted that the December jobs report was dismal Friday.

“That’s a horrific number”

CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera announced the newly released report number. Only 74,000 jobs were created in December, a number that fell significantly short of the 200,000 anticipated created jobs.

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough commented “That’s a horrific number” and said that the newly added jobs number is the lowest seen in years.

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Hot Sauce Update: Huy Fong Foods to start making Sriracha in Texas?

A state representative from Texas has invited Huy Fong Foods, makers of a popular Sriracha sauce, to move its operations to the state. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Jenn Harris writes:  Could there be a Sriracha boom in Texas? Sriracha BBQ does sound like a great idea.

Texas state Rep. Jason Villalba says he has asked Huy Fong Foods, the makers of the Sriracha hot sauce with the rooster on the label and the green cap, to move operations to his state.

Late last year, Huy Fong Foods was ordered to partially shut down after the city of Irwindale filed suit and claimed the plant’s chile odors were a public nuisance. Villalba is hoping the company would be interested in moving, and has sent owner David Tran a letter with an official invitation.

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[VIDEO] New Camera-Equipped Pocket Drones Make Spying Easier Than Ever

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Giuseppe Macri  writes:  The Drone User Group Network unveiled the latest — and smallest — in drone technology at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show Wednesday night, the Pocket Drone, which surpassed its Kickstarter funding goal by more than $20,000 overnight.

[Watch the Pocket Drone in action -YouTube]

Pocket Drone is a small multi-copter drone designed to carry high-quality cameras and shoot aerial footage, and can collapse into a transportable size smaller than a seven-inch tablet.

After debuting at CES Wednesday night, the project achieved its Kickstarter funding goal of $30,000 and was sitting at almost $60,000 as of Thursday afternoon, with 58 days of fundraising left to go.

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The White Ghetto

One of my favorite NRO writers, Kevin D. Williamson, has a thoughtful, lengthy item this week:

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In Appalachia the country is beautiful and the society is broken

Owsley County, Ky. – Kevin D. Williamson  writes:  There are lots of diversions in the Big White Ghetto, the vast moribund matrix of Wonder Bread–hued Appalachian towns and villages stretching from northern Mississippi to southern New York, a slowly dissipating nebula of poverty and misery with its heart in eastern Kentucky, the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish working class that picked up where African slave labor left off, mining and cropping and sawing the raw materials for a modern American economy that would soon run out of profitable uses for the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants. Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.

If the people here weren’t 98.5 percent white, we’d call it a reservation.

Driving through these hills and hollows, you aren’t in the Appalachia of Elmore Leonard’s Justified or squatting with Lyndon Johnson on Tom Fletcher’s front porch in Martin County, a scene famously photographed by Walter Bennett of Time, the image that launched the so-called War on Poverty. The music isn’t “Shady Grove,” it’s Kanye West. There is still coal mining — which, at $25 an hour or more, provides one of the more desirable occupations outside of government work — but the jobs are moving west, and Harlan County, like many coal-country communities, has lost nearly half of its population over the past 30 years.

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