John Fund: Comrades for Net Neutrality

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The powers behind the FCC’s muscling of the Internet

John FundJohn_Fund_via_National_Review writes: Today’s vote by a bitterly divided Federal Communications Commission that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility is the culmination of a decade-long battle by the Left. Using money from George Soros and liberal foundations that totaled at least $196 million, radical activists finally succeeded in ramming through “net neutrality,” or the idea that all data should be transmitted equally over the Internet. The final push involved unprecedented political pressure exerted by the Obama White House on FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, head of an ostensibly independent regulatory body.

“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”

– Robert McChesney, at the website SocialistProject in 2009

“Net neutrality’s goal is to empower the federal government to ration and apportion Internet bandwidth as it sees fit, and to thereby control the Internet’s content,” says Phil Kerpen, an anti-net-neutrality activist from the group American Commitment.

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“Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.”

– Robert McChesney, in an interview with the Marxist magazine Monthly Review

The courts have previously ruled the FCC’s efforts to impose “net neutrality” out of bounds, so the battle isn’t over. But for now, the FCC has granted itself enormous power to micromanage the largely unrestrained Internet.

[read the full text of John Fund‘s article here, at National Review]

Back in the 1990s, the Clinton administration teamed up with Internet pioneers to promote a hands-off approach to the new industry and keep it free from discriminatory taxation. Many still prefer that policy. Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab and the charity One Laptop Per Child, says that net neutrality “doesn’t make sense” because “the truth is, not all bits [of data] are created equal.”

“To cast things in neo-Marxist terms that they could appreciate, they want to take control of the information means of production.”

– Adam Therier of the blog TechLiberation

Will Marshall, head of the Progressive Policy Institute (which was once a favorite think tank of Clinton Democrats), issued a statement that net neutrality “endorses a backward-looking policy that would apply the brakes to the most dynamic sector of America’s economy.”

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But such voices have been drowned out by left-wing activists who want to manage the Internet to achieve their political objectives. The most influential of these congregate around the deceptively named Free Press, a liberal lobby co-founded in 2002 by Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor.

“In essence, what McChesney and his followers want is an Unfree Press — a media world that promotes their values.”

His goals have always been clear. “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.” Earlier in 2000, he told the Marxist magazine Monthly Review: “Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.” When I interviewed him in 2010, he admitted he is a socialist and said he was “hesitant to say I’m not a Marxist.”

“Back in the 1990s, the Clinton administration teamed up with Internet pioneers to promote a hands-off approach to the new industry and keep it free from discriminatory taxation. Many still prefer that policy.”

In essence, what McChesney and his followers want is an Unfree Press — a media world that promotes their values. “To cast things in neo-Marxist terms that they could appreciate, they want to take control of the information means of production,” says Adam Therier of the blog TechLiberation.

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Certainly McChesney seems blind to the dangers of media control on the left. In 2007, he co-authored a remarkable survey of the media under Hugo Chávez’s already clearly thuggish regime in Venezuela: “Aggressive, unqualified political dissent is alive and well in the Venezuelan mainstream media, in a manner few other democratic nations have ever known, including our own.” Read the rest of this entry »


‘BIG ASS DEAL’ New York Post Front Page for Thursday February 26, 2015

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Two Found Dead in Possible Murder-Suicide in Beverly Hills

Originally posted on KTLA:

Police in Beverly Hills were investigating a possible murder-suicide on Wednesday night after a man and woman were found dead of apparent gunshot wounds.

Officers received a call around 4:24 p.m. from a residence in the 300 block of S. Elm Drive, according to Lt. Lincoln Hoshino with the Beverly Hills Police Department.

When they arrived, officers discovered the bodies of a man and a woman, Hoshino said.

Both victims had been shot.

No other information had been released.

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Lobster Boats Frozen in New England Harbor

"I just had a hot bath, I'm feeling much better. Who do you have to blow to get a cup of coffee around here?"

“Who do you have to blow to get a hot cup of coffee around here?”

FRIENDSHIP, Maine – The bitter cold weather is taking a toll on New England’s lobster industry which is losing a significant amount of money this winter.

Frozen waters in Maine have left lobstermen stuck on the mainland again this week.

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The boats are sitting frozen and stuck and ice is preventing many lobstermen from leaving the harbor. Read the rest of this entry »


With No Public Vote, Inglewood City Council Votes Unanimously to Approve a Plan for an 80-Thousand Seat NFL Stadium at Hollywood Park

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — The Inglewood City Council on Tuesday night approved plans to build a proposed NFL stadium in the Los Angeles area that includes St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke as a partner.

With a 5-0 vote, the council approved the $2 billion plan at a meeting Tuesday night.

The vote fast-tracks construction by allowing the city to avoid a public vote and long environmental review, and clears a path for a return of the NFL to the area for the first time in more than 20 years.

The project now depends on the partnership seeking to build a stadium on the site of the former Hollywood Park horse track and on the NFL, which has emphasized that any decision to return to the LA-area ultimately lies with the league.


State Department Official Dan Rosen Arrested, Suspected of Soliciting Sex from Minor

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Christine Mai-Duc reports: A senior State Department official who oversees counter-terrorism programs has been arrested on suspicion of of soliciting sex from a minor, authorities in Virginia said late Tuesday.Official_photo_of_Jen_Psaki

“We are aware that a State Department employee has been arrested and charges have been issued…His security clearance will be suspended, and he will be put on administrative leave while this proceeds to its end through any judicial process.”

– State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki

Daniel Rosen was arrested at his home in Washington, D.C., just after noon and is being held in the city’s jail on suspicion of use of a communications device to solicit a juvenile, said Lucy Caldwell, spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Police Department.

According to Caldwell, Rosen’s arrest was the result of an online exchange between him and detectives in her agency’s Child Exploitation Unit.

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He is expected to be extradited to the Fairfax County jail soon.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Rosen, 44, is the director of counter-terrorism programs and policy for the State Department. Police said they have notified the State Department of his arrest.

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“We are aware that a State Department employee has been arrested and charges have been issued,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. Psaki declined to name the employee or the charges, citing privacy reasons. Read the rest of this entry »


Facebook Messenger adds iOS 8 extension, WordPress gains WYSIWYG editor & image features

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

Facebook is out with a useful update to its Messenger app for iPhone and iPad today adding an action extension for sharing content from other apps on iOS 8. This adds the ability to have deep Facebook Messenger integration with other apps including Safari and Photos just like Apple’s own Messages app.

Once enabled, you can do things like share images and videos from the Photos app or links from Safari directly to your contacts on Facebook Messenger without having to jump back and forth between apps. Facebook Messenger version 22.0 is rolling out now on the App Store.

WordPress’s mobile blogging app for iPhone and iPad also received a new update bringing the experience closer to that on the desktop … 

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Democrats Run Away from Obamacare Penalty They Imposed

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Democrats don’t like to call the Obamacare penalty a penalty; its official name is the Shared Responsibility Payment. But the fact is, the lawmakers’ intent in levying the fines was to make it so painful for the average American to ignore Obamacare that he or she will ultimately knuckle under and do as instructed.

Byron Yorkyork writes: The Democrats who wrote and passed the Affordable Care Act were sure of two things: The law had to include a mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance, and it had to have an enforcement mechanism to make the mandate work. Enforcement has always been at the heart of Obamacare.

Now, though, enforcement time has come, and some Democrats are shying away from the coercive measures they themselves wrote into law.

China Currency

“Enforcement Has Always Been at the Heart of Obamacare”

The Internal Revenue Service is the enforcement arm of Obamacare, and with tax forms due April 15, Americans who did not purchase coverage and who have not received one of the many exemptions already offered by the administration are discovering they will have to pay a substantial fine. For a household with, say, no kids and two earners making $35,000 a piece, the fine will be $500, paid at tax time.

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“And there’s very little chance the individual mandate’s approval numbers will improve, now that millions of Americans are getting a taste of what it really means.”

That’s already a fact. What is particularly worrisome to Democrats now is that, as those taxpayers discover the penalty they owe, they will already be racking up a new, higher penalty for 2015. This year, the fine for not obeying Obamacare’s edict is $325 per adult, or two percent of income above the filing threshold, whichever is higher. So that couple making $35,000 a year each will have to pay $1,000.

There’s another problem. The administration’s enrollment period just ended on February 15. So if people haven’t signed up for Obamacare already, they’ll be stuck paying the higher penalty for 2015.

China Currency

“The individual mandate has always been extremely unpopular. In December 2014, just a couple of months ago, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 64 percent of those surveyed don’t like the mandate. The level of disapproval has been pretty consistent since the law was passed.”

By the way, Democrats don’t like to call the Obamacare penalty a penalty; its official name is the Shared Responsibility Payment. But the fact is, the lawmakers’ intent in levying the fines was to make it so painful for the average American to ignore Obamacare that he or she will ultimately knuckle under and do as instructed.

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Except that it’s easier to inflict theoretical pain than actual pain. Read the rest of this entry »


‘ALL ABOUT THE MONEY': New York Post Front Page for Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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LAPD Officers Won’t Be Charged in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Vet in Televised Corvette Pursuit

The Butcher:

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Originally posted on KTLA:

Prosecutors have declined to file criminal charges against three Los Angeles police officers who shot and killed an unarmed man at the end of a televised pursuit in 2013.

Police surrounded a silver Corvette in downtown Los Angeles after a lengthy pursuit. The driver was fatally shot when he exited the vehicle on Dec. 13, 2013. (Credit: KTLA) Police surrounded a silver Corvette in downtown Los Angeles after a lengthy pursuit. The driver was fatally shot when he exited the vehicle on Dec. 13, 2013. (Credit: KTLA)

A Jan. 29 letter from Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, released Monday, states there was “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that Officers Armando Corral, Leonardo Ortiz and Michael Ayala “did not act in self-defense and in the defense of others” when they fatally shot Brian Beaird, a 51-year-old National Guard veteran.

Beaird led police on a dangerous pursuit across southeast L.A. County and downtown L.A. the night of Dec. 13, 2013, weaving his Corvette in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed.

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The pursuit ended…

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Woman Who Bailed from High-speed Pursuit: Detained!


Thousands of Squat Lobsters Wash Ashore in Newport Beach

The Butcher:

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"I celebrate this new wave of arthropods to our shores."

“I celebrate this new wave of arthropods to our shores.”

 

Originally posted on KTLA:

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Much of Newport Beach was covered in crustaceans Monday morning after thousands of squat lobsters washed ashore.

Viewers sent in photos and videos of the unusual sight, but according to Julianne E. Steers of the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, the crab-like creatures end up on shore like this about every six years or so.

The squat lobsters usually end up onshore during an El Nino event or when water temperatures get warm, according to Steers.

Although they are often mistaken for crabs, Steers says the squat lobsters are “in a line all their own” and have a “little bit of a tail.”

Chip Yost reports from Dana Point for the KTLA 5 News at 1 on Feb. 23, 2015. 

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Read Stephen Hawking’s Sweet Note to Eddie Redmayne After His Oscar Win

Originally posted on TIME:

Stephen Hawking, who joined Facebook just a few months ago, used the social media site to write a brief but touching note to Eddie Redmayne, who won the Best Actor Oscar Sunday night. In The Theory of Everything, Redmayne portrayed the world-renowned physicist and his struggle with ALS.

Shortly after the Academy Awards ceremony, Hawking shared the following post, saying he was “very proud” of the actor:

In his acceptance speech, Redmayne said, “I’m fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man. This Oscar belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS.”

Read next: Stephen Hawking Wants to Be a Bond Villain

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Listen to the most important stories of the day.

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All about the ‘ignorant white haters': Michael Moore rides to Sean Penn’s defense

Originally posted on Twitchy:

Ah, but you see, in Michael Moore’s world, it does.

As Twitchy reported, last night, Sean Penn took some serious heat from progs for making a “green card” joke about Best Director Alejandro González Iñárritu. This afternoon, Penn’s knight in shining armor — and fellow America-bashing tool — Michael Moore took it upon himself to Sean-splain:

Those xenophobic palefaces ruin everything! Thanks, as always, Michael, for elevating the discourse.

***

Related:

What was the most amusing part of Sean Penn’s Oscars green card ‘joke’ kerfuffle? THIS

Twitchy coverage of Michael Moore

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Americans Should Drink More Coffee

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Not only can people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might even want to consider drinking a bit more

Roberto A. Ferdman reports: When the nation’s top nutrition panel released its latest dietary recommendations on Thursday, the group did something it had never done before: weigh in on whether people should be drinking coffee. What it had to say is pretty surprising.

“I don’t want to get into implying coffee cures cancer — nobody thinks that. But there is no evidence for increased risk, if anything, the other way around.”

– Tom Brenna, a member of the committee and a nutritionist at Cornell University

Not only can people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might even want to consider drinking a bit more.

Ryan Ludwig, of Counter Culture Coffee, prepares a coffee cupping, or tasting, at the company's training center in lower Manhattan. Leslie Josephs/The Wall Street Journal

Ryan Ludwig, of Counter Culture Coffee, prepares a coffee cupping, or tasting, at the company’s training center in lower Manhattan. Photo credit: Leslie Josephs

“We saw that coffee has a lot of health benefits. Specifically when you’re drinking more than a couple cups per day.”

– Miriam Nelson, a professor at Tufts University

The panel cited minimal health risks associated with drinking between three and five cups per day. It also said that consuming as many as five cups of coffee each day (400 mg) is tied to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

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“We saw that coffee has a lot of health benefits,” said Miriam Nelson, a professor at Tufts University and one of the committee’s members. “Specifically when you’re drinking more than a couple cups per day.”

“The decision, which broke the committee’s more than 40 years of silence on coffee, was driven by heightened interest in the caffeinated beverage as well as a growing anxiety about potential health risks associated with it.”

That’s great news if you’re already drinking between three and five cups each day, which Nelson and the rest of the panel consider a “moderate” level of consumption. But you know what? You probably aren’t, Giant Coffee Cupbecause people in this country actually tend to consume a lot less than that.

“It remains to be seen whether the Department of Health and Human Services or the Agriculture Department will take the committee’s recommendations for coffee intake to heart and include them in the official dietary guidelines update…”

On average, Americans only drink about one cup of coffee per day, according to data collected by the United States Department of Agriculture. Even when Americans drank the most coffee they ever have, back in 1946, they still only drank two cups a day on average. Read the rest of this entry »


Comcast Accused of Paying Off Al Sharpton in $20 Billion Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

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Tina Nguyen reports: Today, Comcast and Time Warner Cable were served with a lawsuit from a group of African-American media owners seeking $20 billion — yes, “billion,” with a “b” — for discriminatory practices, and alleges that Al Sharpton and his organizations received big money to look the other way.

“The money includes $3.8 million to Sharpton and his National Action Network. The money, it’s charged, was meant to pay Sharpton to endorse the NBCU deal and divert attention away from discrimination.”

The suit, filed by the National Association of African-American Owned Media (NAAAOM) and obtained by the The Hollywood Reporter, claims that despite touting itself as a diverse company, Comcast and sharpton-tallTWC only carries one channel owned by a black media owner and refuses to carry any others. Furthermore, the diversity Comcast presents — including the hiring of minority personalities such as
Sharpton, and including a “memorandum of understanding” they signed with the NAACP and Sharpton’s National Urban League — is “a sham, undertaken to whitewash Comcast’s discriminatory business practices.”

The lawsuit specifically targets Comcast’s practices: so far, they argue, only one channel in Comcast’s lineup, The Africa Channel, is owned by a black person (and that person facilitated Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal, “thus creating a serious conflict of interest”). And speaking of that purchase, the suit alleges that Comcast paid off Sharpton, an employee of MSNBC, to support that acquisition — specifically, to say that Comcast was an awesomely diverse company:

The lawsuit goes on to say that Comcast made large cash “donations” to obtain support for its acquisition. The money includes $3.8 million to Sharpton and his National Action Network. The money, it’s charged, was meant to pay Sharpton to endorse the NBCU deal and divert attention away from discrimination. As for Sharpton’s MSNBC gig, the complaint says, “Despite the notoriously low ratings that Sharpton’s show generates, Comcast has allowed Sharpton to maintain his hosting position for more than three years in exchange for Sharpton’s continued public support for Comcast on issues of diversity.”

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In a statement to THR, Comcast said it was “disappointing that [NAAAOM] have decided to file a frivolous lawsuit” and that they planned to defend themselves. Read the rest of this entry »


White House that Promised Transparency Refuses to Cooperate with IRS Probe

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Stephen Dinan reports: The White House told Congress last week it refused to dig into its computers for emails that could shed light on what kinds of private taxpayer information the IRS shares with President Obama’s top aides, assuring Congress that the IRS will address the issue — eventually.O-SMDGE-CONDENSED

The tax agency has already said it doesn’t have the capability to dig out the emails in question, but the White House’s chief counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, insisted in a letter last week to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan that the IRS would try again once it finishes with the tea party-targeting scandal.

“It is my understanding that in May 2014, Commissioner Koskinen responded to this request by indicating that the IRS would be able to address new topics such as these following its completion of document productions already in progress,” Mr. Eggleston wrote in a Feb. 17 letter. “To the extent that the committee continues to have an oversight interest in this matter, I encourage you to continue working with the IRS to address those questions.”

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“The IRS has been under fire for years over several scandals, including its targeting of tea party groups for politically motivated scrutiny and its illegal release of private taxpayer information…”

But IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s letter last year didn’t say that. Instead Mr. Koskinen said the IRS was logistically incapable of performing the search because it would have required combing through 90,000 email accounts.

The White House’s stiff-arm comes even though it performed a similar kind of email search in the past after the IRS lost thousands of emails of former division chief Lois G. Lerner, a key figure in the tea party targeting.

Mr. Ryan is trying to figure out whether the laws that govern taxpayer information security are working, which is part of his committee’s jurisdiction.SMDG-TV2

“The White House’s stiff-arm comes even though it performed a similar kind of email search in the past after the IRS lost thousands of emails of former division chief Lois G. Lerner, a key figure in the tea party targeting.”

The IRS has been under fire for years over several scandals, including its targeting of tea party groups for politically motivated scrutiny and its illegal release of private taxpayer information concerning the National Organization for Marriage. The IRS insisted the disclosure was accidental and not politically motivated, but it did pay a settlement to the organization.

Some outside pressure groups argue the IRS’s improper behavior goes further, and includes disclosing private taxpayer information to the White House. The groups point to comments by a top White House economic adviser who in 2010 said Koch Industries, the company run by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, paid no corporate income taxes. Read the rest of this entry »


New York Post Front Page, Feb 23, 2015

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WSJ Mon, Feb 23, 2015: Birdman, Security Funding, Jihadists and the Eccentric Club

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Dark Horse Contender: 6 Reasons American Sniper Could Upset to Win Best Picture

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Three days from now, the Academy Awards will give its top prize to one of eight nominees, with Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood and Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Birdman currently leading the pack as favorites to take home Best Picture. But there’s a Not-So-Little Engine That Might in this illustrious group, a dark horse that could sneak across the finish line in first before the night is done, decimating scores of pundit predictions in the process. Clint Eastwood’s Chris Kyle biopic American Sniper remains a long shot to pull it off, and yet as Sunday approaches, there are many reasons to believe that the Iraq War drama has a chance at pulling off a stunning upset. We’re not saying it willwin, but given the reasons below, it now definitely has a shot at Oscar’s most coveted statuette.

1. It’s the Popular Choice

At $309 million strong just in the U.S., American Sniper is already the second-highest-grossing R-rated film in movie history,and its $16.4 million haul last weekend means that it isn’t ready to slow down just yet—and, in fact, it may benefit from a post-Oscar telecast boost. Primed to be one of 2014’s most lucrative films, it exists in a different stratosphere than the rest of the Best Picture nominees, and its A+ CinemaScore rating means that audiences actively love it. While the Oscars rarely award films simply because they’ve made boatloads of cash, American Sniper is the one contender that boasts both a resounding critical and commercial endorsement. It’s the people’s choice.

2. The Indie Split

Further helping American Sniper’s odds is the fact that, while it stands as the natural mainstream choice for Oscar voters, its two main competitors both occupy a quirky-arty-indie space. Consequently, Boyhood and Birdman (and even, to a lesser extent, The Grand Budapest Hotel) may find themselves directly battling each other for votes, rather than American Sniper. If those two smaller-scale efforts split the “indie” vote just enough, it may allow American Sniper to surpass them both in the final tally.

3. Old Hollywood Eastwood

As usual, much has been made this awards season about the demographics of the Academy, which is heavily skewed toward older, white members. That may also wind up aiding American Sniper, considering the film’s pedigree as the latest work from 84-year-old Clint Eastwood. One of Hollywood’s old guards, Eastwood has a living-legend aura about him that could very well prove endearing to Academy voters disinclined to bet on younger auteurs with long careers still in front of them. True, Eastwood has already helmed two Best Pictures (1992’s Unforgiven, 2004’s Million Dollar Baby), but it’s not a crazy stretch to imagine some voters trying to further augment his legacy with a third winner. Read the rest of this entry »


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