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The Vampire as Messiah in ‘Dracula Untold’

Originally posted on TIME:

In a cave teeming with bats and littered with crushed skulls, a skeletal demon appraises the young stalwart who stands before him. “Most men reek of fear,” says the Master Vampire (Charles Dance). “In you I smell hope.” Vlad (Luke Evans), the King, top fighter and undisputed hunk of Transylvania, does have a desperate hope: that he can defeat the invading Turks of the Ottoman Empire. So the Master Vampire (Charles Dance) offers to bestow all the infernal powers of his species on Vlad. And, in a kind of infomercial twist on Faust, he’ll get a free three-day trial. The small print: If, in that time, Vlad surrenders to the insatiable lust for human blood—the vampire’s most delicious addiction—he is doomed to become a monarch of the eternal undead. No refunds.

Dracula Untold means not only to upend the charnel image of Bram Stoker’s vampire but also to give…

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The Communist Party Looks Backward

xi-propaganda-mashup

Dazed and Confucian

Russell Leigh Moses writes: Nearly two years into his tenure as China’s leader, President Xi Jinping has yet to expound on a clear notion of what the Communist Party should stand for as a whole or what direction the country should take. In the absence of a BN-ES741_kongzi_G_20140926075714forward-thinking vision, Xi has instead often gazed backwards, into the periods of Chinese history the party once shunned.

That China’s president is often more comfortable talking about the country’s past than its future was evident this week when he delivered a speech at a meeting of the International Confucian Association commemorating the 2,565th anniversary of Confucius’s birth – the first time, according to Chinese Central Television that a Chinese president has addressed an international meeting on the philosopher.

The speech (in Chinese) was praised by people who were there as erudite and eloquent. Extolling Confucius and his importance, Xi said that “to understand today’s China, today’s Chinese people, we must understand Chinese culture and blood, and nourish the Chinese people’s grasp of its own cultural soil.”Chinese leader Xi Jinping

“Xi seems caught between an abiding respect for the Chinese classics and the need to make sure that China modernizes. That’s created a conundrum that he seems far from fully resolving.”

Many have taken notice of the Communist party’s interest in Confucius – a scholar excoriated by previous generations of communists for advocating a social system that promoted inequality – in recent years. Although that revival seemed to be starting before Xi took over, it has accelerated under his watch, with official media repeatedly portraying the leader as being steeped in classical Chinese literature.

There’s no question the glorification of China’s past has helped the party win public support, adding emotional heft to the “China Dream” of national rejuvenation. The question is how much an obstacle it’s going to be for Xi’s efforts to lead the party.

Xi’s approach is different from his immediate predecessors, who provided ideological templates with slogans designed to summarize what the Communist Party stood for and where it planned to take China. Read the rest of this entry »


The New Campus Sex Puritans

neo-puritans

The neo-puritans want to bureaucratize your sex life, and criminalize incorrect behavior. Will the progressive left have any better luck regulating sexual behaviour than the puritanical right did? 

2014-wente-headMargaret Wente writes: Sixty years ago, sexual behaviour among the young caused deep alarm among the puritanical religious right. Today, it causes deep alarm among the puritanical progressive left. Like their forebears, they are doing their best to restrict and regulate it.

This weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that makes universities redefine consensual sex. From now on, students must effectively obtain the “affirmative consent” of their partners, which must be “ongoing” every step of the way.

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“Sexual violence is anything that makes someone feel unsafe; it could be catcalls, peer pressure to act a certain way in a situation, verbal harassment and unwanted touching. Many of these things occur daily without anyone giving a second thought to them.”

– Jami Coughler, program co-ordinator of the sexual violence support centre at Ontario’s Brock University

Those accused of violating the consent rule will be judged on the puritan-girlpreponderance of the evidence. Perpetrators face suspension or expulsion, and universities face heavy penalties for failure to enforce.

“…sexual violence includes such offences as ‘criticizing the partner sexually’ and ‘withholding sex and affection’ – things that in my day were known as ‘being in a bad relationship.'”

The new measure is designed to stem a tidal wave of rape on campus that, in fact, does not exist. (Violent crime, including sexual assault, has been in decline for 20 years.) Even so, universities across North America have set up vast new administrative apparatuses to deal with the crisis. Many of them have also expanded the meaning of “sexual violence” to include anything that makes you feel bad. Read the rest of this entry »


Only in Hong Kong: Doing Homework While Protesting

Bonus tweet – then came the violins…


Camille Paglia: The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil

Originally posted on TIME:

The disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham two weeks ago is the latest in a long series of girls-gone-missing cases that often end tragically. A 32-year-old, 270-pound former football player who fled to Texas has been returned to Virginia and charged with “abduction with intent to defile.” At this date, Hannah’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown.

Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.

Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an…

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Detective Tales: ‘Rim of Danger’

rim-of-danger


Free Speech My Ass: The Berkeley Charade

Jack Weinberg atop car by Steven Marcus

Sol Stern: The Unfree Speech Movement

How did this Orwellian inversion occur? It happened in part because the Free Speech Movement’s fight for free speech was always a charade. 

“I realized years later that this moment may have been the beginning of the 1960s radicals’ perversion of ordinary political language, like the spelling “Amerika” or seeing hope and progress in Third World dictatorships.”

Sol Stern writes: This fall the University of California at Berkeley is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a student-led protest against campus restrictions on political activities that made headlines and inspired imitators around the country. I played a small part in the Free Speech Movement, and some of those returning for the reunion were once my friends, but I won’t be joining them.

Mario-Savio

“‘Tenured radicals,’ in New Criterion editor Roger Kimball’s phrase, now dominate most professional organizations in the humanities and social studies.”

Though the movement promised greater intellectual and political freedom on campus, the result has been the opposite. The great irony is that while Berkeley now honors the memory of the Free Speech Movement, it exercises more thought control over students than the hated institution that we rose up against half a century ago.

AYAAN - FEB28 - Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali talks about her autobiography. tb (Photo by Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images) By: Tony Bock Collection: Toronto Star

“Unlike our old liberal professors, who dealt respectfully with the ideas advanced by my generation of New Left students, today’s radical professors insist on ideological conformity and don’t take kindly to dissent by conservative students.”

We early-1960s radicals believed ourselves anointed as a new “tell it like it is” generation. We promised to transcend the “smelly old orthodoxies” (in George Orwell’s phrase) of Cold War liberalism and class-based, authoritarian leftism.

condi

Leading students into the university administration building for the first mass protest, Mario Savio, the Free Speech Movement’s brilliant leader from Queens, New York, famously said: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. . . . . And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

The Berkeley "machine" now promotes Free Speech Movement kitsch.

The Berkeley “machine” now promotes Free Speech Movement kitsch.

“Visits by speakers who might not toe the liberal line—recently including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Islamism critic Aayan Hirsi Ali —spark protests and letter-writing campaigns by students in tandem with their professors until the speaker withdraws or the invitation is canceled.”

The Berkeley “machine” now promotes Free Speech Movement kitsch. The steps in front of Sproul Hall, the central administration building where more than 700 students were arrested on Dec. 2, 1964, have been renamed the Mario Savio Steps. One of the campus dining halls is called the Free Speech Movement Café, its walls covered with photographs and mementos of the glorious semester of struggle. The university requires freshmen to read an admiring biography of Savio, who died in 1996, written by New York University professor and Berkeley graduate Robert Cohen.

FSMAnita

“by contrast, one of the honored speakers at the Free Speech Movement anniversary rally on Sproul Plaza will be Bettina Aptheker, who is now a feminist-studies professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.”

Yet intellectual diversity is hardly embraced. Every undergraduate undergoes a form of indoctrination with a required course on the “theoretical or analytical issues relevant to understanding race, culture, and ethnicity in American society,” administered by the university’s Division of Equity and Inclusion. Read the rest of this entry »


Queens Teacher Accused of Sex with Students Being Treated for Psychiatric Disorder

Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News

Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News

Joy Morsi, 39, who allegedly had sex with two teenage boys who attended Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, missed a court appearance because she was being tested for psychiatric disorder, her attorney said. She is due back in court Oct. 6.

The Queens gym teacher accused of bedding two 16-year-old students is having her head tested, it was revealed Monday.

teacher-sleeps-student-1

“My client has been hospitalized” 

Joy Morsi, 39, was a no-show at a routine court appearance because she’s being treated for an unspecified “psychiatric disorder,” her lawyer Paul Molina told the judge.

JB NICHOLAS/NEW YORK DAIly newsStudents across the street from Grover Cleveland High School allegedly watch a video of Morsi, performing oral sex on a 16 year-old student.

Students across the street from Grover Cleveland High School allegedly watch a video of Morsi, performing oral sex on a 16 year-old student.   JB Nicholas/New York Daily News

She allegedly hooked up with a student in June, days after a relationship with another teen collapsed when she became jealous of him inviting a girl to the prom, authorities have said.joy-morsi-photos-3

[Also see - Wanna Wrassle? Queens Gym Teacher Joy Morsi Raped 16-Year-Old Wrestler in School, Second Student Comes Forward]

[More - Facing Rape Charge, Lusty Gym Teacher Accused of ‘Doing the Secret Handshake’ with Second Male Student]

The former teacher at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood is facing multiple counts of statutory rape and criminal sexual act for extracurricular activities with boys under the age of 17. Read the rest of this entry »


You’ve Been Served: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Mails First Amendment Warning to More Than 300 Colleges

constitution-day-mailing-feat

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 17, 2014—In a national certified mailing sent today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) warns the leaders of more than 300 of our nation’s largest and most prestigious public colleges and universities that they risk First Amendment lawsuits by continuing to maintain speech codes that violate student and faculty rights. The letters are being mailed from the main post office near Independence Hall in Philadelphia today to mark the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

“FIRE prefers to secure students’ and faculty members’ free speech rights by working cooperatively with colleges and universities. However, FIRE will not hesitate to turn to the courts when necessary.”

58 percent of our nation’s public colleges and universities restrict student and faculty speech with blatantly unconstitutional policies, and 38 percent more enforce policies that are too easily abused to silence campus speech,” said Will Creeley, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy. “In July, FIRE launched our Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project by announcing four lawsuits against institutions that have violated student and faculty First Amendment rights. Now we’re putting public colleges and universities across the country on notice—and inviting them to work with FIRE to fix flawed policies before they’re challenged in court.”

“Throughout our 15 years defending student and faculty rights, FIRE has consistently coordinated successful First Amendment challenges against unconstitutional speech codes.”

FIRE has posted online a sample letter to a public university with a speech code earning a “red light,” FIRE’s worst rating. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Ayaan Hirsi Ali Speaks at Yale

Womens-rights activist and Islamic critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at Yale University earlier this week, at the invitation of the university’s William F. Buckley Jr. Program for an event titled “Clash of Civilizations: Islam and the West.” Ryan Lovelace covers the event for NRO

 


‘RAPE CULTURE': New Jersey High School Teacher Kalee Warnick Indicted for Sexual Misconduct with 15-Year-Old Male Student

kalee-warnick

Judgement Not Exactly State-of-the-Art Judgement, Kalee Warnick Charged With Aggravated Sexual Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and Sexual Assault.

shedidn't

Another Female High School Teacher Gone Bad: When We Send Kids to Public Schools for ‘Education’ Sometimes it’s Slightly More ‘Hands-On’ Than Parents Realize.

A grand jury indicted 24-year-old Kalee Warnick on three charges stemming from an investigation alleging that she entered an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old boy starting in January 2013. Warnick was the victim’s freshman English teacher at Wall High School. Read the rest of this entry »


Lux et Veritas at Yale: Free Speech?

Hirsi

From NRThe Editors: When, this spring, Brandeis University reneged on its commencement invitation to human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it revealed the cravenness that characterizes many of America’s leading institutions of higher education. The decision of Yale’s William F. Buckley Jr. Program to invite Hirsi Ali to New Haven as part of its speaker series has exposed the same quality in logo-1many of that school’s students.

“Even the most enthusiastic Ivy League shill should know that spending $55K a year to have one’s presuppositions obsequiously endorsed is a waste.”

In an open letter sent to Buckley Program student leaders, members of 35 campus groups say they feel “highly disrespected” by the September 15 lecture “Clash of Civilizations: Islam and the West.” The letter, drafted by the Muslim Students Association, lays out their complaints.

William F. Buckley

time_cover“But in our age of studious political correctness, where the inmates write the asylum’s curriculum, these students are happy to insulate themselves against any opinions from beyond the Old Campus Quad.”

They are concerned that “Ms. Hirsi Ali is being invited to speak as an authority on Islam despite the fact that she does not hold the credentials to do so.” They accuse Hirsi Ali of “hate speech” and express outrage that she should “have such a platform in our home.” “We cannot overlook,” they write, “how marginalizing her presence will be to the Muslim community and how uncomfortable it will be for the community’s allies.”

Their remedy, of course, is censorship. Read the rest of this entry »


The Quixotic Decline of Al Gore

gore-fail


5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die

Originally posted on TIME:

Much of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here are five of the most popular myths that should be rejected by all who are genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women:

MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.

FACTS: This injustice confection is routinely quoted by advocacy groups, the World Bank, Oxfam and the United Nations. It is sheer fabrication. More than 15 years ago, Sussex University experts on gender and development Sally Baden and Anne Marie Goetz, repudiated

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China’s Museum Boom


Illustrata Publica Virtus: Millions and Millions of Public Domain Images Being Put Online

publica-mincemeat

From Techdirt‘s Mike Masnick:

Here’s some nice news. Kalev Leetaru has been liberating a ton of public domain images from books and putting them all on Flickr. He’s been going through Internet Archive scans of old, public domain books, isolating the images, and turning them into individual images. Because, while the books and images are all public domain, very few of the images have been separated from the books and released in a digital format.

1875-independence-commemoration

To achieve his goal, Mr Leetaru wrote his own software to work around the way the books had originally been digitised. 

The Internet Archive had used an optical character recognition (OCR) program to analyse each of its 600 million scanned pages in order to convert the image of each word into searchable text. 

As part of the process, the software recognised which parts of a page were pictures in order to discard them.  Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Boy-Crazy Former Teacher’s Student Sex Error Meets Correctional System: Meredith Powell Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail

Former Lincoln High School teacher Meredith Claire Powell tears up as she hears her sentence in Pierce County Superior Court on Friday, August 29, 2014. LUI KIT WONG Tacoma News Tribune Staff photographer

Former Lincoln High School teacher Meredith Claire Powell tears up as she hears her sentence in Pierce County Superior Court on Friday, August 29, 2014. LUI KIT WONG Tacoma News Tribune Staff photographer

After hearing that Powell will spend only six months in jail, several cursed, and one family member stormed out of the courtroom.

“I wish I could take back what happened to the students that I failed. Sorry doesn’t take away anything that happened, but I hope they can move forward with as little impact as possible.”Powell-plea

– Meredith Powell

Stacia Glenn reports: A former math teacher who had sex with two students at Tacoma’s Lincoln High School cried Friday after a judge sentenced her to six months in jail.

“Ms. Powell repeatedly talked about letting her students down. The reality is she committed child rape.”

– Shannon McMinimee, attorney for Tacoma Public Schools

Meredith Powell, 25, told the court she prays every day for the two teenage boys and is heartbroken that they and their families are suffering.

[Powell pleaded guilty last month to two counts of third-degree child rape and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, all felonies.]

“I feel like words can’t even express how sorry I am,” Powell said. “I wish I could take back what happened to the students that I failed. Sorry doesn’t take away anything that happened, but I hope they can move forward with as little impact as possible.”

She said she’s been attending weekly counseling and now faces problems that fueled her behavior, including being molested in her youth.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson said he believes Powell is remorseful, which is why he suspended all but six months of a 5-year sentence and ordered her into a three-year sex offender program open to first-time offenders.

Powell must register as a sex offender and can have no contact with children without adult supervision, with the exception of her younger sister. Read the rest of this entry »


The Welfare State’s 110 Million

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How long can a shrinking number of taxpayers support a growing number of beneficiaries? 

For NROMichael Tanner writes: One hundred ten million! That’s how many Americans now live in households that receive some form of means-tested welfare benefit from the federal government. According to a report from the Census Bureau released last week, that’s the highest absolute number inzombiehand American history, and it represents 35.4 percent of the American population.

[Check out Michael Tanner's book "Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservativism Brought Down the Republican Revolution"]

Think about it — more than one out of every three Americans live in households that are now on welfare. Looked at another way, America’s welfare state now has nearly three times the population of the largest actual state.

“According to calculations by Harvard’s Greg Mankiw, based on data from the Office of Management and Budget, roughly 60 percent of Americans receive more in government benefits than they pay in federal taxes.”

Because many of these households include more than one person, the number of individual households is smaller, but still a record – roughly 33.5 million, more than a quarter of the country’s households. Worse, 10.5 million households receive benefits from three or more separate programs.

HEWWashingtonD.C

1943, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D.C

 “A Tax Foundation study suggests that as many as 70 percent of Americans are net recipients of government largesse. Those numbers will only grow worse…”

While liberals would undoubtedly like to blame this on the bad economy, the welfare rolls have actually grown by nearly 4 million households since the end of the recession. Welfare is rising even as unemployment declines. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: College Eliminates All Violence On Earth by Renaming its Student Paper

College Newspaper Can’t Be Called ‘The Bullet’ Anymore Because It’s Too Dangerous

newspaper-no-bullet

“The editorial board felt that the paper’s name, which alludes to ammunition for an artillery weapon, propagated violence and did not honor our school’s history in a sensitive manner.”

NRO‘s Katherine Timpf:

A Virginia university has decided to stop calling its newspaper “The Bullet” over concerns that the name was so insensitive and inappropriate that it could even make people violent.

The University of Mary Washington’s 96-year-old newspaper will now be called The Blue and Gray Press. Read the rest of this entry »


High School High: Teacher Found In Classroom Intoxicated, Without Pants

drunk-teacher-no-pants

“They didn’t know who she was, she was apparently new and was supposed to start yesterday.”

For CBS HoustonBenjamin Fearnow reports: A newly-hired teacher was found intoxicated and not wearing any pants inside an Oklahoma high school classroom on her first day of work, according to Wagoner police.

[More Teacher Bad Behavior - VIDEO - Libido Update: Boy-Crazy Teacher Meredith Powell...]

[More - Teacher Busted for Sex with Student and Sending Nude Pics...]

Police arrested Lorie Hill after two Wagoner High School teachers found her intoxicated and without pants in an empty classroom she was claiming tovodka-tall be her own, KOKI-TV reports. Recently hired by Wagoner Public Schools, Hill was reporting for her first day on the job as all teachers were also returning for their first day back in school from summer break.

“When our officers interviewed her she did admit to having had some vodka yesterday morning before she came to school.”

– Police Chief Bob Haley

Wagoner Police say she admitted to drinking and authorities found an empty cup in her vehicle that contained an odor of vodka, but there was not enough evidence to prove that she commuted to work under the influence. There were no credible witnesses at her home in Claremore to prove a DUI charge, so Hill was only arrested for public intoxication.

“I don’t know, as an adult, I just don’t know how you can be a professional teacher and teaching young people, and then show up drunk.”

– Parent of Wagoner High school student

“When our officers interviewed her she did admit to having had some vodka yesterday morning before she came to school,” said Haley.

[Related - Meredith Powell in Custody of Her Mother: Boy-Crazy...]

[More - Sacré Bleu! Topless Feminist Stabs Wax Putin in France...]

On Monday, police officers found her in the principal’s office, where the school staff had been detaining Hill since finding her without pants inside the classroom. Read the rest of this entry »


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