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Mark Steyn: #BringBackOurBalls

Mark Steyn writes:  It is hard not to have total contempt for a political culture that thinks the picture at right is a useful contribution to rescuing763 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadist savages in Nigeria. Yet some pajama boy at the White House evidently felt getting the First Lady to pose with this week’s Hashtag of Western Impotence would reflect well upon the Administration. The horrible thing is they may be right: Michelle showed she cared – on social media! – and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

Just as the last floppo hashtag, #WeStandWithUkraine, didn’t actually involve standing with Ukraine, so #BringBackOurGirls doesn’t require bringing back our girls. There are only a half-dozen special forces around the planet capable of doing that without getting most or all of the hostages killed: the British, the French, the Americans, Israelis, Germans, Aussies, maybe a couple of others. So, unless something of that nature is being lined up, those schoolgirls are headed into slavery, and the wretched pleading passivity of Mrs Obama’s hashtag is just a form of moral preening.

But then what isn’t? The blogger Daniel Payne wrote this week that “modern liberalism, at its core, is an ideology of talking, not doing“. He was musing on a press release for some or other “Day of Action” that is, as usual, a day of inaction:

Diverse grassroots groups are organizing and participating in events such as walks, rallies and concerts and calling on government to reduce climate pollution, transition off fossil fuels and commit to a clean energy future.

It’s that easy! You go to a concert and someone “calls on government” to do something, and the world gets fixed.

There’s something slightly weird about taking a hashtag – which on the Internet at least has a functional purpose – and getting a big black felt marker and writing it on a piece of cardboard and holding it up, as if somehow the comforting props of social media can be extended beyond the computer and out into the real world. Maybe the talismanic hashtag never required a computer in the first place. Maybe way back during the Don Pacifico showdown all Lord Palmerston had to do was tell the Greeks #BringBackOurJew.

As Mr Payne notes, these days progressive “action” just requires “calling on government” to act. But it’s sobering to reflect that the urge to call on someone else to do something is now so reflexive and ingrained that even “the government” – or in this case the wife of “the government” – is now calling on someone else to do something. Read the rest of this entry »

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McDonalds Hires 7,000 Touch-Screen Cashiers

Would you like some microchips with that burger? McDonald’s Europe strikes another blow against human interaction by installing 7,000 touch-screen computers to take your order and money.

mcds

McDonald’s shows off a touch-screen kiosk installed in France in 2009. McDonald’s Europe

“Welcome to McDonald’s . My name is HAL 9000. May I take your order?”

 writes: McDonalds recently went on a hiring binge in the U.S., adding 62,000 employees to its roster. The hiring picture doesn’t look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties.

The move is designed to boost efficiency and make ordering more convenient for customers. In an interview with the Financial Times, McDonald’s Europe President Steve Easterbrook notes that the new system will also open up a goldmine of data. McDonald’s could potentially track every Big Mac, McNugget, and large shake you order. A calorie account tally at the end of the year could be a real shocker. Read the rest of this entry »


Edward Jay Epstein: Was Snowden’s Heist a Foreign Espionage Operation?

Mini-Snowden-Me

Those who know the files he stole think he was working for a foreign power, perhaps Russia, where he now lives.

For the Wall Street Journal, Edward Jay Epstein writes:

Edward Snowden‘s massive misappropriations of classified documents from the inner sanctum of U.S. intelligence is mainly presented by the media as a whistleblowing story.

In this narrative—designed by Mr. Snowden himself—he is portrayed as a disgruntled contractor for the National Security Agency, acting alone, who heroically exposed the evils of government surveillance beginning in 2013.

The other way of looking at it—based on the number and nature of documents Mr. Snowden took, and the dates when they were taken—is that...(read more)

(may be behind paywall) WSJ.com


Vintage Movie Poster: ‘An Evil Masterpiece of Macabre Love’ 1961 ‘The Innocents’ with Deborah Kerr

the-innocents

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director: Jack Clayton

Writers: Henry James (novel), John Mortimer (additional scenes & dialogue), 2 more credits »

Stars: Deborah KerrPeter WyngardeMegs Jenkins |See full cast and crew »

criterioncast – Internet Move Database


Geller: ‘It’s Issa Who Should be Taken to the Woodshed, Not Donnelly’

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speaks to an Associated Press reporter in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010. Issa who has assumed the role of President Barack Obama's chief antagonist in Congress will become head of the House's main investigating committee and gain even more stature as an administration critic who has to be reckoned with if his Republican party takes power in next month's elections.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speaks to an Associated Press reporter in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Darrell Issa Shows Ignorance of Islam

Pamela Geller writes: California State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who is running for governor, recently pointed out that his rival Neel Kashkari “supported the United States submitting to the Islamic, Shariah banking code in 2008 when he ran TARP.”

The charge was true, but that didn’t stop the influential Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair, from furiously denouncing not Kashkari, but Donnelly – illustrating again what’s wrong with the right.51-vUc1zSRL._SL110_

Geller‘s book: The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America is available at Amazon.com

Issa raged: “There is no place in any public discussion for this type of hateful and ignorant garbage. As far as I’m concerned, this type of stupidity disqualifies Donnelly from being fit to hold any office, anywhere. Donnelly is no longer a viable option for California voters… There is no place in the Republican Party or in this race for someone like Tim Donnelly.”

“Why should the American taxpayer legitimize and institutionalize the Sharia? “

Donnelly duly apologized. But he shouldn’t have. He was right. Did Darryll Issa even look into the charge? Or did he knee-jerk smear Donnelly? And who died and made Issa king of the Republican Party? Who is this uninformed loudmouth to say who is or isn’t welcomed into the Republican Party? Like Brody said in Jaws, we need a bigger boat. If every time someone touches the third rail – jihad and sharia – they get burned and turned on, then the Republicans are going the way of the Whigs. Read the rest of this entry »


Honeymoon Murder Suspect Dewani Not Looking Forward to His Appearance in Western Cape South African High Court

honeymoon-shrien-dewani

Extradited British millionaire businessman Shrien Dewani is due in court in South Africa Monday on charges of ordering his Swedish wife’s murder during their 2010 honeymoon in Cape Town.

honeymoon-dAfter losing a three-year extradition fight in Britain, Dewani, 34, was remanded in custody at a psychiatric hospital when he arrived in South Africa last month.

“Dewani has been accused of orchestrating the murder of his wife. He allegedly ordered local men to carry out a hit on his wife and make it look like a fatal carjacking incident.”

He will appear at the Western Cape high court for a pre-trial hearing, at which the judge will assess the readiness of the prosecution and defence teams to start the trial.

“A substantial amount of money was paid for the hit.”

Dewani, who returned to Britain shortly after his wife’s murder, had fought his extradition, claiming he had mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress. He has been undergoing tests at the Valkenberg hospital in Cape Town to see if he is fit to stand trial. If he is not found fit to face court within 18 months, he will be returned to Britain under the terms of his extradition.

 In this Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 file photo, Shrien Dewani, the British man accused of having his wife murdered during their honeymoon in South Africa, arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London. Shrien Dewani has spent years fighting extradition over the death of his 28-year-old bride Anni. She was found shot dead in an abandoned taxi in Cape Town's Gugulethu township in November 2010. Lawyers for the 34-year-old businessman say he suffers from post-traumatic stress and depression and is unfit to stand trial. But last month Britain’s High Court rejected his grounds for appeal. He is expected to be put on a flight to Cape Town Monday, and South African officials say he will appear in court there Tuesday. The dead woman’s brother, Anish Hindocha, said the extradition brought them “one step closer” to justice.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

In this 2011 photo, Shrien Dewani, the British man accused of having his wife murdered during their honeymoon in South Africa, arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court in London. Shrien Dewani has spent years fighting extradition over the death of his 28-year-old bride Anni. She was found shot dead in an abandoned taxi in Cape Town’s Gugulethu township in November 2010. Lawyers for the 34-year-old businessman say he suffers from post-traumatic stress and depression and is unfit to stand trial. But last month Britain’s High Court rejected his grounds for appeal. He is expected to be put on a flight to Cape Town Monday, and South African officials say he will appear in court there Tuesday. The dead woman’s brother, Anish Hindocha, said the extradition brought them “one step closer” to justice. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

On his arrival in South Africa Dewani was formally charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating justice by the country’s elite crime-fighting unit, the Hawks. Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-Chinese Anger Fuel Street Protests in Vietnam: A Test for Authoritarian Rule

Vietnam China Anger

The two Asian nations have a history of conflict going back 1,000 years, and the streets of Vietnam’s cities are named after heroes in those fights. Yet the two countries share a Communist ideology and close economic ties, making the China-Vietnam relationship a highly sensitive topic. 

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese anger toward China is running at its highest level in years after Beijing deployed an oil rig in disputed waters. That’s posing a tricky question for Vietnam’s leaders: To what extent should they allow public protests that could morph into those against their own authoritarian rule?

“Facing the danger of Chinese aggression appropriating the sacred East Sea, the source of livelihood of the Vietnamese over generations, we are determined not to compromise.”

– From a statement widely circulated on Facebook and dissident blogs calling for protests on Sunday morning in Hanoi outside the Chinese Embassy and a Chinese cultural center in Ho Chi Minh City.

At one level, the ruling Communist Party would like to harness the anger on the street to amplify its own indignation against China and garner international sympathy as naval ships from both countries engage in a tense standoff near the rig off the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

“We cannot continue to compromise and be vile and sinful to our heroic ancestors and feel ashamed before our future generations.”

But Vietnam’s government instinctively distrusts public gatherings of any sort, much less ones that risk posing a threat to public order. And they also know that members of the country’s dissident movement are firmly embedded inside the anti-China one, and have used the issue to mobilize support in the past. Read the rest of this entry »


Dancing Naked Man, High on Embalming Fluid, Draws Crowd in Houston

NakedManDancingYes

“Everybody is videoing it, but nobody stops to make sure he was okay.”

– Carla Meyers, cousin

For KHOU in HoustonDrew Karedes reports:  

It was a bizarre and disturbing spectacle that drew a crowd of up to 30 people at a busy intersection in northwest Houston. Spectators pulled out their cell phones and began recording when they saw a naked man dancing in the median.

“He was doing the Beyonce, the surf board, twerking, the Nae Nae. Every dance that’s out there right now, he was doing. I didn’t know what was next.”

– Chad Arceneaux, witness

The man was spotted at the intersection of West Gulf Bank Road and Antoine Drive around 12:30 p.m. Neighbors said he’s been known to attract attention at a nearby complex, but they never expected this.

“…he’s been using embalming fluid to get high.”

– Carla Meyers

Read the rest of this entry »


The West’s Individualism and the East’s Collectivism Traced to Neolithic Farming


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