Posted: October 16, 2017 Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere | Tags: comedy, Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood, Mia Farrow, Parody, Rehab, Rehabilitation, Ronan Farrow, satire, scandal, Sex Counseling, Sexual abuse, Show Business
Posted: October 16, 2017 Filed under: Cinema, Crime & Corruption, Entertainment, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: "The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran from Getting Nukes?, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Asia Argento, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood, Hookers, Mira Sorvino, Prostitution, Rosanna Arquette, Rose McGowan, scandal, Sexual abuse, Sexual Misconduct
A collective jaw dropped this week as Asia Argento, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette and a host of other women joined Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan in speaking publicly about being harassed, mauled and even allegedly raped by Hollywood’s heavyweight gorilla, Harvey Weinstein.
Media outlets ironically wrung their hands and asked in big, bold block letters: How could this have gone on for so long? If everyone knew, why didn’t anyone say anything? And the inevitable: What can be done?
To answer these questions, let’s look beyond the Harvey-shaped elephant in the room. Behind the touted veneer of creative genius and imagination, the Hollywood studio system (an umbrella term that now encompasses movie studios, television networks, news organizations, tech companies and new media) was built on top of the cushions of the casting couch. And, as we’ve seen several times this year, that couch was never retired.
I witnessed a lot at Page Six — only a fraction of which ever hit the paper (for a multitude of reasons). But I will share one incident in May 2004 that has always summed up for me how this industry really feels about women.
[Read the full story here, at the New York Post]
I had gone to dinner with a friend who was in town for the upfronts (the big annual congregation where television network executives fly in from Los Angeles and present their upcoming slates of new shows). He worked at United Talent Agency and was psyched when I scored us an 8 p.m. reservation at the hottest place in town, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market, unfortunately, next to a table of three drunk and loud television executives, one of whom I knew headed up a cable network.
“I need a hooker while I’m in town,” one man quasi-yelled.
“Dude — the top-shelf whores go for $1,000 an hour, $5,000 a night,” the cable exec bragged to his friends.
“That’s all? All night?”
“All night — whatever you want — and these are working actresses.”
“No way — who are we talking about?”
The executive, in between ordering more bottles of Patron silver, proceeded to bray out the names of women who were indeed working actresses as well as models — including one woman who was cast in a show on his network. He was her boss.
“How do you think she got the job?” the executive joked, as the others high-fived him.
That incident always ate at me — it was the crystallization of just how lousy it is out there for women trying to either get a job, do their job or advance in one of the most powerful industries in America. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 13, 2017 Filed under: Education, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Administrative State, Columbia University Law School, FCC, Philip Hamburger, SCOTUS
Professor of Law at Columbia University Law School Philip Hamburger discusses the rise of the administrative state and what, if anything, can be done to reduce its power.
“The administrative state is the leading threat to civil liberties of our era,” says Philip Hamburger, the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and author of the recent books, Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (2015) and The Administrative Threat (2017).
“We have a system of government in which our laws are made by the folks that we elect, and these laws are enforced by judges and juries in the courts, but we have within that an administrative state, a state that acts really by mere command and not through law.” Hamburger argues that by reducing the role of elected officials to set policy, the administrative state, which has grown rapidly since World War II, disempowers blacks, women, and other minorities who have only recently gained full voting rights and political power.
[Order Philip Hamburger’s influential book Is Administrative Law Unlawful? from Amazon.com
Before he left the Trump administration, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon famously vowed to “deconstruct” the administrative state—the collection of bureaucrats, agencies, and unelected rule-making bodies who decrees and diktats govern more and more of our lives. And many of the president’s picks at places such as the FCC, the FDA, the EPA, and the Department of Education seem to be doing just that: cutting regulations and policies that come not directly from Congress but from administrators who decide, say, that the FCC has the ability to regulate the internet as a public utility, and that so-called net neutrality is a good idea. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 13, 2017 Filed under: Foreign Policy, Global, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, Science & Technology, War Room | Tags: Communism, Cuba, George Washington University, Havana, Marxism, Raúl Castro, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Navy, weapons
WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they’re colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect.
The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana in a series of unnerving incidents later deemed to be deliberate attacks. The recording, released Thursday by the AP, is the first disseminated publicly of the many taken in Cuba of mysterious sounds that led investigators initially to suspect a sonic weapon.
The recordings themselves are not believed to be dangerous to those who listen. Sound experts and physicians say they know of no sound that can cause physical damage when played for short durations at normal levels through standard equipment like a cellphone or computer.
What device produced the original sound remains unknown. Americans affected in Havana reported the sounds hit them at extreme volumes.
Whether there’s a direct relationship between the sound and the physical damage suffered by the victims is also unclear. The U.S. says that in general the attacks caused hearing, cognitive, visual, balance, sleep and other problems.
The recordings from Havana have been sent for analysis to the U.S. Navy, which has advanced capabilities for analyzing acoustic signals, and to the intelligence services, the AP has learned. But the recordings have not significantly advanced U.S. knowledge about what is harming diplomats.
The Navy did not respond to requests for comment on the recording. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert wouldn’t comment on the tape’s authenticity.
Cuba has denied involvement or knowledge of the attacks. The U.S. hasn’t blamed anyone and says it still doesn’t know what or who is responsible. But the government has faulted President Raul Castro’s government for failing to protect American personnel, and Nauert said Thursday that Cuba “may have more information than we are aware of right now.”
[Read the full story here, at apnews.com]
“We believe that the Cuban government could stop the attacks on our diplomats,” said White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Not all Americans injured in Cuba heard sounds. Of those who did, it’s not clear they heard precisely the same thing.
Yet the AP has reviewed several recordings from Havana taken under different circumstances, and all have variations of the same high-pitched sound. Individuals who have heard the noise in Havana confirm the recordings are generally consistent with what they heard.
“That’s the sound,” one of them said.
The recording being released by the AP has been digitally enhanced to increase volume and reduce background noise, but has not been otherwise altered.
The sound seemed to manifest in pulses of varying lengths — seven seconds, 12 seconds, two seconds — with some sustained periods of several minutes or more. Then there would be silence for a second, or 13 seconds, or four seconds, before the sound abruptly started again. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 12, 2017 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Entertainment, Law & Justice, Mediasphere | Tags: Adjusted Gross Income, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski
The FBI has opened an investigation into disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has learned – on orders from Trump’s DoJ.
- The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned on Wednesday
- Three women, including Actress Asia Argento and Lucia Evans, have come forward and claimed the producer forced himself on them sexually
- The DOJ’s order is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with President Trump’s defeated rival Hillary Clinton
- Weinstein donated heavily to Clinton and although she said she was shocked and dismayed by his actions, she hasn’t returned any of his contributions
- The 65-year-old is said to be planning to depart for Europe in order to receive professional treatment and go to sex therapy in wake of the scandal
- His hasty international departure sparks fears of a Roman Polanski-style situation, where he dodges prosecution in the U.S
- Polanski has managed to avoid US officials since he plead guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old in 1978
Ryan Parry reports: The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned.
DailyMail.com understands the move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump‘s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which instructed the bureau to investigate the mounting allegations leveled at the movie mogul.
While it is unknown whether the DOJ order came directly from Sessions, the move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with Trump foe Hillary Clinton.
The move by the DOJ came amid rumors that Weinstein plans to head to Europe for sex rehab – leading to fears of a Roman Polanski-style situation where he dodges prosecution in the U.S.
The FBI can both look at whether he has committed any federal crimes in the U.S. and prepare extradition proceedings if he remains in Europe.
The FBI has opened an investigation into disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned
Among the allegations against Weinstein, which the FBI is expected to examine, is that he forced Lucia Evans, a student who wanted to be an actress, to perform oral sex on him in New York in 2004.
New York State has no statute of limitations on rape and criminal sexual acts – its legal term for forced oral or anal intercourse.
The move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.
Hollywood powerhouse Weinstein has traveled the globe promoting his movies and the belief is that he could have committed sex crimes in several countries.
So far five accusers have given accounts of attacks in France, while allegations of attacks in London have also surfaced – any of which could lead to charges there.
The FBI has field offices in both countries and could assist prosecutors there with their cases.
A spokesperson for the FBI in New York said: ‘We do not confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 11, 2017 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere | Tags: Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, harassment, Harvey Weinstein, Parody, Rape, Rehab, Rehabilitation, Roman Polanski, satire, Sex, Sex Therapy, Sexual Health, Show Business
Posted: October 8, 2017 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Global | Tags: Ballistic missile submarine, Kim Wall, Submarine
Swedish journalist Kim Wall, 30, disappeared during the night of 10 August.
A Danish inventor is accused of murdering and mutilating the body of the Swedish journalist.
She was last seen embarking on a trip off the Copenhagen coast in a homemade submarine built by Danish inventor Peter Madsen.
Her mutilated torso was found by a passing cyclist on 21 August. Her head, legs and clothing were found in weighted-down bags by police divers on 6 October.
Mr Madsen has said she died after being accidently hit on the head by the submarine’s heavy hatch, and has denied charges of murder and mutilating a corpse.
The unfolding details of Mr Madsen’s case are being closely followed in Scandinavia.
What do we know about Kim Wall’s disappearance?
A respected freelance journalist, Ms Wall was researching a feature about Peter Madsen, an inventor who built his private 40-tonne submarine, UC3 Nautilus, through crowdfunding in 2008.
She had previously reported from North Korea, the South Pacific, Uganda and Haiti, writing for the New York Times, Guardian, Vice and the South China Morning Post.
She met Mr Madsen at around 19:00 local time on Thursday 10 August at Refshaleoen, a harbour area in Copenhagen, and she boarded the Nautilus. The last picture of the pair in the sub’s conning tower was taken at 20:30 by a man on a cruise ship, a short time before sunset.
Ms Wall did not return and was reported missing by her boyfriend at 02:30 on Friday.
The sub was not equipped with satellite tracking so after the alarm was raised in the early hours of Friday, rescue services searched for the vessel for hours.
It was not until 10:30 on 11 August that the first sighting of the vessel was confirmed from a lighthouse in the Oresund, a strait between Sweden and Denmark.
A merchant ship later reported coming within 30m (98ft) of the unlit sub to the north-west of the Oresund bridge at about midnight on 10 August. Police say at that point, the submarine crossed the channel from Denmark towards Sweden in the southern part of the Oresund.
Contact with Mr Madsen was finally established. But half an hour after the first reported sighting, the submarine sank and Mr Madsen was taken to safety by rescue services.
After analysing the wreck, Copenhagen police said on 14 August that “the sinking of the submarine was allegedly a consequence of a deliberate act”.
What happened to Kim Wall?
What happened to the Swedish journalist on the submarine is unclear and it was 13 days before she was confirmed dead.
According to Mr Madsen’s account, Ms Wall died after a 70kg (154 lb) hatch fell on her head and he “buried” her at sea somewhere in Koge Bay, about 50km (30 miles) south of Copenhagen.
But a number of macabre facts have since emerged. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 8, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Mediasphere | Tags: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Acting, Jon Hamm, Mad Men, New Yorker Festival, Television
Sonia Saraiya writes: Navigating success after years as a working actor was a difficult part of the “Mad Men” experience for star Jon Hamm.
The actor reflected on the landmark 2007-2015 series and his performance as Don Draper in a wide-ranging Q&A Saturday night held as part of the New Yorker Festival.
Hamm told New Yorker articles editor Susan Morrison that the AMC drama was a transformational experience, personally and professionally.
“To have that kind of omnibus experience is once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky,” he said during the session held at SIR Stage37. “Navigating the success, what the show became. that was the trickiest part,” Hamm added.
Now that the series has ended, Hamm told Morrison, he’s looking to branch out.
“The fun of being an actor is getting to different things” after playing Don Draper for seven seasons. “It wasn’t that I wanted to react against and play the opposite, but I definitely wanted to do different things,” he said.
Morrison asked Hamm about his comedy chops, showing clips from “Bridesmaids,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “30 Rock.” A self-described comedy geek, Hamm credited his creative journey from losing his mother at the age of 10 and eventually finding a nurturing environment in his “wildly progressive” St. Louis high school, John Burroughs School.
[Read the full story here, at Variety]
“We didn’t have cable TV,” he said. “You had to like, read books and listen to albums and cassette tapes.” Hamm cited Spy magazine, Monty Python, and comedians including Bob Newhart, George Carlin, and Richard Pryor as inspirations. He even liked Cheech and Chong, adding ruefully, “My grandmother did not like that one. It literally had a car-sized joint on it.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 8, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere, Science & Technology, U.S. News | Tags: Futurism, journalism, news, technology
New technologies have disrupted news media over the past 20 years — but one report says that’s just the beginning.
Washington (AFP) – If you think technology has shaken up the news media — just wait, you haven’t seen anything yet.
The next wave of disruption is likely to be even more profound, according to a study presented Saturday to the Online News Association annual meeting in Washington.
News organizations which have struggled in the past two decades as readers moved online and to mobile devices will soon need to adapt to artificial intelligence, augmented reality and automated journalism and find ways to connect beyond the smartphone, the report said.
“Voice interface” will be one of the big challenges for media organizations, said the report by Amy Webb, a New York University Stern School of Business faculty member and Founder of the Future Today Institute.
The institute estimates that 50 percent of interactions that consumers have with computers will be using their voices by 2023.
“Once we are speaking to our machines about the news, what does the business model for journalism look like?” the report said.
“News organizations are ceding this future ecosystem to outside corporations. They will lose the ability to provide anything but content.”
Webb writes that most news organizations have done little experimentation with chat apps and voice skills on Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, the likes of which may be key parts of the future news ecosystem.
Because of this, she argues that artificial intelligence or AI is posing “an existential threat to the future of journalism.”
“Journalism itself is not actively participating in building the AI ecosystem,” she wrote.
One big problem facing media organizations is that new technologies impacting the future of news such as AI are out of their control, and instead is in the hands of tech firms like Google, Amazon, Tencent, Baidu, IBM, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, according to Webb.
“News organizations are customers, not significant contributors,” the report said. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 6, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Entertainment, History, Mediasphere | Tags: Hugh Hefner, Playboy
Hugh Hefner Died Of Cardiac Arrest
A death certificate obtained by TMZ shows that Playboy creator Hugh Hefner died of cardiac arrest, with other conditions contributing to his death.
Hefner passed away last Wednesday at the age of 91.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, he was battling Septicemia, an inflammation of body tissues that results from an infection in the blood, and E. coli, a bacteria.
Hugh Hefner and Crystal Hefner attend Playboy Mansion’s Annual Halloween Bash at The Playboy Mansion on October 25, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy)
The death certificate described the E. coli bacteria as “highly resistant to antibiotics.”
Hefner’s widow Crystal Hefner called him an “American hero” Monday. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 5, 2017 Filed under: Global, History, Russia | Tags: JFK, Jim Garrison, Kennedy Assassination, KGB, Oliver Stone
Many Americans believe that JFK was assassinated as the result of some sort of conspiracy, perhaps even by the CIA—the direct result of a KGB influence operation.
Max Holland writes: Helping defeat Hillary Clinton is not the most successful influence operation Moscow has ever mounted against the United States. The most momentous, yes. But any covert activity that is exposed so rapidly and incites a backlash cannot be deemed an unalloyed accomplishment.
Moscow’s single most effective influence operation remains the one induced 50 years ago this month, when the now-defunct New Orleans States-Item published a front-page story on April 25, 1967, entitled “Mounting Evidence Links CIA to ‘Plot’ Probe.” It was an operation that culminated in an unimaginable achievement—inclusion in a Hollywood blockbuster by Oliver Stone that contends the CIA was instrumental in JFK’s assassination.
That probe, as every conscious American knew, was district attorney Jim Garrison’s re-investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination amid a pronounced erosion of public confidence in the Warren Report. On March 1, 1967, Garrison had ostentatiously announced the arrest of Clay Shaw, a respected businessman, and charged him with complicity in JFK’s death. It was an outlandish and baseless accusation, yet Shaw would prove far from the only victim. The miscarriage of justice that unfolded over the next two years would have vast, if largely unappreciated, consequences for America’s political culture.
It would take a separate article (or even book) to explain why Garrison ordered Clay Shaw’s arrest in the first place (and some very good ones have been written, including Patricia Lambert’s False Witness). Suffice it to say that at the time of the arrest and until later in March, Garrison’s theory of the case was that JFK’s assassination was actually a “homosexual thrill-killing.” The president had been murdered in broad daylight because he was everything the conspirators were not: “a successful, handsome, popular, wealthy, virile man.” Under this scenario, Shaw, who was gay but closeted, also went by the name of Clay Bertrand, a mysterious person linked to the assassination. “Bertrand” had supposedly tried to arrange a defense counsel for Lee Harvey Oswald during the weekend following his capture on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963. The Warren Commission and FBI thoroughly investigated the “Bertrand” allegation in 1964, and had concluded (correctly) that it was a fabrication concocted by a publicity-seeking New Orleans attorney named Dean Andrews. “Bertrand” was not even a real person.
[Read the full story here, at thedailybeast.com]
Nonetheless, Shaw’s surprise arrest in 1967 naturally precipitated a media firestorm the likes of which had not been seen since the assassination itself. As reporters from near and far flocked to New Orleans—the universal reaction being that Garrison “must have something”—headlines appeared around the globe, including in Paese Sera, a small-circulation newspaper published in Rome. The story that ran in its pages on March 4, however, was unlike any other. Clay Shaw, Paese Sera alleged, had been involved in “pseudo-commercial” activities in Italy while serving on the board of the defunct Centro Mondiale Commerciale. Ostensibly devoted to making Rome a commerce hub, the CMC had actually been “a creature of the CIA… set up as a cover for the transfer to Italy of CIA-FBI funds [sic] for illegal political-espionage activities.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 5, 2017 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Politics, Self Defense | Tags: FiveThirtyEight, Gun control, Leah Libresco, Nate Silver, Statistics
‘The case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence.’
Allahpundit writes: Her name is Leah Libresco, formerly of Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site, where she crunched the numbers in a study of all 33,000 gun homicides in the United States annually. She went in thinking that the usual liberal menu of anti-gun policies would reduce that number dramatically. She came out concluding that “the only selling point [of those policies] is that gun owners hate them.” That’s an interesting way to phrase leftist conventional wisdom in an era when the right’s tribalism draws so much scrutiny. Often in the age of Trump it really does feel as though conservatism is defined as “whatever makes liberals cry.” Libresco’s takeaway on the efficacy of mainstream gun-control policies is that they’re appealing to the people who support them mainly to the extent they make gun aficionados cry.
Her advice? Instead of focusing on feelgood policies that won’t do much of anything to reduce gun violence or on massively heavy-handed policies like confiscation, which have zero chance of passing, instead consider policies that will address the social pathologies that drive the three most common forms of gun homicides — suicide, gang violence, and domestic violence.
Many of Libresco’s arguments will be familiar to right-wingers, but it’s one thing to endorse them as a matter of ideology and another to endorse them as a matter of hard data.
I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.
[Read the full story here, at Hot Air]
When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos…
As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. I couldn’t even answer my most desperate question: If I had a friend who had guns in his home and a history of suicide attempts, was there anything I could do that would help?
The last point is especially important. As horrendous as mass shootings are, by far the most terrible threat posed by guns is that they’re suicide machines. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 3, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: LAS VEGAS, Mass murder, Mass Shooting, media, New York, New York Post, news, NYC, Sniper, Tabloid
Posted: October 3, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: LAS VEGAS, Mass murder, Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Stephen Craig Paddock
At least 50 are dead and 400 others have been injured from the Sunday night massacre.
Amanda Prestigiacomo reports: On Sunday night, at around 10 p.m. local time, a suspected lone gunman identified as Stephen Craig Paddock opened fire at the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest country music festival, killing at least 58 people and injuring at least 400 others. Victims’ names have yet to be released, but Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo has confirmed that one officer was killed and another remains in critical condition.
[Read the full text here, at Daily Wire]
Paddock was found dead by officers in a hotel room on the 32nd floor; he reportedy took his own life.
The massacre is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Reports are continuing to pour in, but here’s what we know about the alleged shooter and a female companion, person of interest Marilou Danley, in the case so far.
1. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, was a 64-year-old local man from Mesquite, Nevada, and was “known by police.”
There have been reports that the gunman lived in a retirement home, though this remains unconfirmed. His hometown, Mesquite, is a small town that contains a few retirement communities.
See the confirmed image of Paddock from companion Marilou Danley’s Facebook page, below:
2. Paddock used a fully automatic weapon. Additionally, upon searching the suspect’s home, officers found “several weapons.”
3. According to Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the motive remains unclear but is not suspected to be terrorism, meaning it was likely not associated with a political or religious aim.
“No,” said Sheriff Lombardo, when asked the massacre was a suspected “act of terrorism.”
“Not at this point,” he said. “We believe it was a local individual. He resides here locally. I’m not at liberty to give you his place of residence yet, because it’s an ongoing investigation, we don’t know what his belief system was at this time. … Right now we believe he is the sole aggressor at this point and the scene is static.”
Paddock’s brother, Eric Paddock, told the Daily Mail Monday morning that his brother must have “snapped,” and said he had no political or religious affiliations that he was aware of. Read the full comments of the shooter’s brother here. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 28, 2017 Filed under: Entertainment, History, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Hugh Hefner, Playboy Magazine
Hugh Hefner, Playboy Magazine founder, and star of ‘The Girls Next Door’ dies at 91.
The iconic founder of Playboy Magazine Hugh Hefner died Wednesday at 91, the magazine announced Wednesday night.
The publisher of the quintessential men’s lifestyle magazine built an empire around the alluring business.
Playboy announced his death in a tweet.
“Life is too short to live someone else’s dream,” read a quote from the founder. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 26, 2017 Filed under: History, Law & Justice, Think Tank | Tags: African American, Black History, Clarence Thomas, Martin Luther King Jr, SCOTUS, Smithsonian African-American History Museum, Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty
Justice Thomas appears in an exhibit that was installed Sunday, a Smithsonian spokeswoman said Monday. The display honors both of the black justices who ascended to the pinnacle of the legal profession. The other is Thurgood Marshall.
Justice Thomas’ apparent omission irked conservative observers, who suspected an ideological bias among Smithsonian officials and called for the influential jurist’s inclusion in the museum.
Ronald D. Rotunda, distinguished professor of jurisprudence at the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, said Justice Thomas deserves to be recognized for his contributions to constitutional jurisprudence, his record of public service and his inspirational life story.
“Like Thurgood Marshall, he has been a very influential justice, and like Thurgood Marshall, he has risen from humble beginnings,” Mr. Rotunda said. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 26, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Politics | Tags: Anthony Weiner, Manhattan federal Judge Denise Cote, New York Post
It’s hard time for Anthony Weiner.
Kaja Whitehouse reports: The disgraced ex-congressman broke down crying as he was sentenced to 21 months in prison Monday for convincing a high school student to undress and touch herself via Skype in 2016.
“After the courtroom cleared, Weiner sat crying in his chair with his lawyers patting him on the back. His mom also sat crying on the bench behind him, sitting next to Weiner’s brother Jason and Weiner’s dad.”
“This was a serious crime. It’s a serious crime that deserves serious punishment,” Manhattan federal Judge Denise Cote said as the convicted sext fiend dropped his head into his hand and wept.
After the courtroom cleared, Weiner sat crying in his chair with his lawyers patting him on the back. His mom also sat crying on the bench behind him, sitting next to Weiner’s brother Jason and Weiner’s dad.
“He argued that his online dalliance with the 15-year-old was due to his sick obsession with sexting strangers and addiction — rather than an obsession with underage girls — and claimed he had hit “rock bottom” and is now in recovery.”
The serial sexter’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Huma Abedin, was nowhere to be seen.
In addition to his prison stint, Weiner was sentenced to pay a $10,000 fine for his crime, participate in sex offender outpatient treatment and spend three years on supervised release once his sentence is up.
He will have to surrender to his designated facility by Nov. 6 — his lawyer put in a request for Schuylkill Federal Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania, or another low-security prison near New York.
Weiner, 53, had faced as much as 10 years in the slammer after pleading guilty in May to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor. The feds said Weiner, a former congressman from Brooklyn, began a two-month sexting session with the North Carolina teen shortly after she messaged him on Twitter in January 2016.
He made a tearful last-minute plea for probation so he could continue his treatment, which includes sessions with Sex Addicts Anonymous. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 22, 2017 Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks, Political Correctness, Politically Correct
Rozina Sabur reports: Society’s “stupidly politically correct” sensibilities will lead to the “death of comedy”, the veteran Hollywood comedian Mel Brooks has warned.
Brooks, known for his plethora of acclaimed comedy movies, said political correctness was becoming a stranglehold on comedians.
“It’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks,” he said.
“Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behaviour.”
The producer and director said that his iconic western parody Blazing Saddles could not be made in today’s political climate.
Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles Credit: Alamy
The 1974 comedy western starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder featured a black sheriff in a racist town.
Brooks said it was the racial prejudice portrayed within the film that was the mechanism behind its cultural significance.
“Without that the movie would not have had nearly the significance, the force, the dynamism and the stakes that were contained in it,” he said.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 21, 2017 Filed under: Foreign Policy, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: conflicts of interest, leaks, Robert Mueller, Special Counsel
A short list of very good, serious, totally factual reasons to be suspicious of the special counsel’s motives.
Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey report:
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s got everyone convinced he’s such an upstanding public servant. In The Threat Matrix, Garrett Graff writes that “both political parties respect” Mueller as “a consummate law enforcement professional with a track record, forged in Vietnam, of grace under fire and getting organizations on track.”
Whatever. Don’t be fooled by Mueller’s Boy Scout act. As his critics point out, if America is never great again, it’ll be all Mueller’s fault. We have to admit, they’ve got some good points.
Here are 10 perfectly reasonable — not at all crazy or imaginary — reasons to hate him:
1. The guy’s a leaker.
Breitbart says so. Sure, Muller’s got a rep for rarely speaking in public or giving interviews. But behind the scenes he’s obviously spending day and night dishing dirt on Donald Trump and the president’s oh-so-honorable colleagues to any reporter who will listen. The deluge of daily stories disparaging President Trump, after all, began the day Mueller was appointed; before Mueller, Trump press coverage was constant sunshine and rainbows. Plus, it’s clearly to Mueller’s strategic advantage to have his investigative steps aired to the public in real time. Besides, who else would leak this kind of stuff? Only Mueller and his team have motive. The White House isn’t a factionalist den of vipers; the president’s legal team is a well-oiled machine that never leaks; defense lawyers are paragons of virtue. Don’t even get us started on tight-lipped congressional staff — those guys never talk. The only logical explanation here is information about the investigation is coming from Mueller.
2. Mueller is a highly political actor.
Thank God, Newt Gingrich has seen through Mueller’s act. He tweetedrecently that “Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.” It’s quite a rethink. Mueller is so political that he’s spent his entire career going back and forth between politicians. He worked in the first Bush administration as an assistant attorney general, then he was a prosecutor on murder cases in Washington, D.C. after running the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, and then he flip-flopped back to be a U.S. attorney in the Clinton administration. Get this: he then goes on to run the FBI for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama (a bipartisan Congress even extended his term for two years at Obama’s request).
The guy is so political he can’t even decide which side he’s on.
3. Mueller is too thorough and taking too long.
This thing is seriously taking forever. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders spoke for all of us in saying that, “the president is frustrated by the continued witch hunt of the Russia investigation and he’d love for this to come to a full conclusion so that everyone can focus fully on the thing that he was elected to do.” You and me, both, friend. Could Mueller go any slower? It’s as if he’s a highly methodical actor systematically gathering strings on multiple broad areas simultaneously: Trump-Russia collusion, Trump Organization business dealings, misconduct in the Trump campaign, and obstruction of justice. He needs to hurry this thing along. Trump just wants to be cleared without the fuss of an investigation. Wouldn’t you? The president knows he is innocent and only wishes to spare us all the pain of this drawn-out ordeal. Of course, Trump recently told the New York Times that “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.” It’s completely reasonable of Trump to be frustrated that this investigation — which doesn’t exist — is taking so long and that Mueller is being so thorough about it. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 19, 2017 Filed under: Education, Global, History, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: 2010 FIFA World Cup, Afghanistan, Afghanistan–India relations, Africa, Culture, Dinesh D'Souza, India, North America, Prager U, Prager University, United Nations Security Council, United States
Are some cultures better than others? Or are all cultures and their values equal? Bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza, who was born in India and moved to America, explains.
Posted: September 16, 2017 Filed under: Censorship, Entertainment, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: American Civil Liberties Union, Boobs, Brooke Baldwin, Charlottesville, CNN, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Freedom of speech
Justin Caruso reports: CNN’s Brooke Baldwin ended a segment Friday after a panelist expressed his love for the “First Amendment and boobs.”
“I’m a first amendment absolutist and believe in two things completely — the First Amendment and boobs,” Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis said.
Baldwin asked the panelist what he meant, not sure if he said “boobs” or “booze.”
“You don’t love boobs, too?”
“I’m not talking about that on television because it’s irrelevant to the topic. It shouldn’t be brought up here,” former ESPN editor Keith Reed responded. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 15, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Education, Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere, U.S. News
BERKELEY, CA—UC Berkeley’s recently installed “opposing worldview” alarm system began blaring right on schedule Thursday afternoon, as conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro arrived on campus to deliver a speech titled “Say No to Campus Thuggery.”
As the noted author and news personality breached the campus perimeter, the piercing sirens began echoing across the campus, accompanied by an automated message telling students to “This is not a test. Please stay in your dormitories. We are currently in an active conservative situation. This is not a test.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 8, 2017 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Russia, Science & Technology, Self Defense, War Room | Tags: Dragonfly 2.0, Hackers, Power Grid, Security, Symantec
Hackers had the power to cause blackouts, Symantec says. And yes, most signs point to Russia.
Andy Greenberg writes: In an era of hacker attacks on critical infrastructure, even a run-of-the-mill malware infection on an electric utility’s network is enough to raise alarm bells. But the latest collection of power grid penetrations went far deeper: Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.
Symantec on Wednesday revealed a new campaign of attacks by a group it is calling Dragonfly 2.0, which it says targeted dozens of energy companies in the spring and summer of this year. In more than 20 cases, Symantec says the hackers successfully gained access to the target companies’ networks. And at a handful of US power firms and at least one company in Turkey—none of which Symantec will name—their forensic analysis found that the hackers obtained what they call operational access: control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to equipment like circuit breakers, giving them the ability to stop the flow of electricity into US homes and businesses.
“There’s a difference between being a step away from conducting sabotage and actually being in a position to conduct sabotage … being able to flip the switch on power generation,” says Eric Chien, a Symantec security analyst. “We’re now talking about on-the-ground technical evidence this could happen in the US, and there’s nothing left standing in the way except the motivation of some actor out in the world.”
Never before have hackers been shown to have that level of control of American power company systems, Chien notes. The only comparable situations, he says, have been the repeated hacker attacks on the Ukrainian grid that twice caused power outages in the country in late 2015 and 2016, the first known hacker-induced blackouts.
The Usual Suspects
Security firms like FireEye and Dragos have pinned those Ukrainian attacks on a hacker group known as Sandworm, believed to be based in Russia. But Symantec stopped short of blaming the more recent attacks on any country or even trying to explain the hackers’ motives. Chien says the company has found no connections between Sandworm and the intrusions it has tracked. Nor has it directly connected the Dragonfly 2.0 campaign to the string of hacker intrusions at US power companies—including a Kansas nuclear facility—known as Palmetto Fusion, which unnamed officials revealed in July and later tied to Russia.
Chien does note, however, that the timing and public descriptions of the Palmetto Fusion hacking campaigns match up with its Dragonfly findings. “It’s highly unlikely this is just coincidental,” Chien says. But he adds that while the Palmetto Fusion intrusions included a breach of a nuclear power plant, the most serious DragonFly intrusions Symantec tracked penetrated only non-nuclear energy companies, which have less strict separations of their internet-connected IT networks and operational controls. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 6, 2017 Filed under: Asia, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, Mediasphere, Self Defense, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: Donald Trump, France, James Mattis, Korea, Korean Peninsula, North Korea, Pyongyang, South Korea, United Nations Security Council, United States
Caroline B. Glick writes: The nuclear confrontation between the US and North Korea entered a critical phase Sunday with North Korea’s conduct of an underground test of a thermonuclear bomb.
If the previous round of this confrontation earlier this summer revolved around Pyongyang’s threat to attack the US territory of Guam, Sunday’s test, together with North Korea’s recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the continental US, was a direct threat to US cities.
In other words, the current confrontation isn’t about US superpower status in Asia, and the credibility of US deterrence or the capabilities of US military forces in the Pacific. The confrontation is now about the US’s ability to protect the lives of its citizens.
The distinction tells us a number of important things. All of them are alarming.
First, because this is about the lives of Americans, rather than allied populations like Japan and South Korea, the US cannot be diffident in its response to North Korea’s provocation. While attenuated during the Obama administration, the US’s position has always been that US military forces alone are responsible for guaranteeing the collective security of the American people.
Pyongyang is now directly threatening that security with hydrogen bombs. So if the Trump administration punts North Korea’s direct threat to attack US population centers with nuclear weapons to the UN Security Council, it will communicate profound weakness to its allies and adversaries alike.
Obviously, this limits the options that the Trump administration has. But it also clarifies the challenge it faces.
The second implication of North Korea’s test of their plutonium-based bomb is that the US’s security guarantees, which form the basis of its global power and its alliance system are on the verge of becoming completely discredited. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 5, 2017 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Humor, Mediasphere, Self Defense | Tags: Cajun, Cajun food, Cajuns, Navy, Texas
LAFAYETTE, LA – With the heavy rains quickly approaching the Acadiana area over the next few days, the Cajun Navy can take heart in the fact that their new naval destroyer has been delivered to them in their efforts to help the local populous.
Thanks to plenty of donations to the Cajun Navy after last year’s August floods, the group were able to purchase the $1.8b Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer, and it seems that it has been completed just in the nick of time.
“We were loading up the trusty yet old wooden boat onto the back of a truck when the contractor called”, explained Cajun Navy member Robert Kraft, “He said that it was ready for usage and that he’d parked it in a Youngsville neighborhood with the keys in the ignition. It couldn’t have come at a better time, what with Harvey hitting the area as it has done.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 4, 2017 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Clinton, Comey
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the recent news about Comey drafting a statement declining to charge Hillary Clinton or her staff before key witnesses were interviewed or evidence reviewed. The question is why Comey pursued the investigation if he felt comfortable months in advance in drafting the statement. I do not share the President’s view that this draft shows a “rigged process,” though some FBI agents have objected to the drafting of the statement in this context. I take Comey at his word that he did not make up his mind until after all of the evidence was reviewed. However, the draft does show a markedly different approach to the investigation of the Clinton emails and the Special Counsel investigation of the Trump Administration.
Here is the column:
View original post 994 more words
Posted: September 3, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, History, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape, Academy Award for Best Actress, Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinema, Millennials, Movies, Prison, Prison escape, Rob Reiner, Saving Private Ryan, Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining (film)
It appears that the “Golden Age of Cinema” has lost its sheen to the young over the years, as millennials are turning their back on classic movies.
A new study finds that less than a quarter of millennials have watched a film from start to finish that was made back in the 1940s or 50s and only a third have seen one from the 1960s.
Thirty percent of young people also admit to never having watched a black and white film all the way through – as opposed to 85 percent of those over 50 – with 20 percent branding the films “boring.”
Top 10 most common movies millennials have seen
- “The Lion King” 81.60 percent
- “Forrest Gump” 74.60 percent
- “Back to the Future” 66.80 percent
- “The Dark Knight” 66.50 percent
- “The Matrix” 63.20 percent
- “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” 60.90 percent
- “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” 59.20 percent
- “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” 59 percent
- “The Silence of the Lambs” 54.90 percent
- “The Godfather” 55 percent
Top 10 most common movies over-50’s have seen
- “Forrest Gump” 84.30 percent
- “Back to the Future” 80 percent
- “The Silence of the Lambs” 71 percent
- “It’s a Wonderful Life” 70.50 percent
- “The Godfather” 69.90 percent
- “Raiders of the Lost Ark” 69.30 percent
- “Saving Private Ryan” 68.30 percent
- “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” 66.40 percent
- “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” 65.90 percent
- “The Green Mile 65.60 percent
A new survey polling 1,000 millennials and 1,000 Americans over the age of 50 conducted by FYE.com, reveals that looking back into the history of cinema isn’t the preference of youth today, with millennials exponentially more likely to have binged on films of the last 15 years than on classics from bygone eras.
Less than half of millennials have seen the likes of “Gone with the Wind,” “The Sound of Music,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” or even “The Shawshank Redemption” — rated the greatest film of all time on IMDB.
Only 28 percent have seen “Casablanca,” 16 percent have watched “Once Upon a Time in the West” and only a measly 12 percent have seen the Hitchcock classic “Rear Window” – though the director’s “Psycho” fares moderately better at a rate of 38 percent.
On the other side of things, some over-50s appear to have the tendency to stick to their old classics and ignore new cinema altogether with one in ten admitting they aren’t sure if they have seen a film newer than 2010 – and eight percent straight up saying no, they have not. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 2, 2017 Filed under: Economics, Entertainment, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Hollywood, Movies
A sobering reality has gripped Hollywood as domestic film industry revenue fell an estimated 16% during the all-important summer season.
The number of tickets sold in the United States and Canada this summer is projected to fall to the lowest level in a quarter-century.
The results have put the squeeze on the nation’s top theater chains, whose stocks have taken a drubbing. AMC Theatres Chief Executive Adam Aron this month called his company’s most recent quarter “simply a bust.”
Such blunt language reflects some worrisome trends. Domestic box-office revenue is expected to total $3.78 billion for the first weekend of May through Labor Day — a key period that generates about 40% of domestic ticket sales — down nearly 16% from the same period last year, according to comScore. That’s an even worse decline than the 10% drop some studio executives predicted before the summer began.
And the number of actual tickets sold this summer paints a bleaker picture, with total admissions likely to clock in at about 425 million, the lowest level since 1992, according to industry estimates.
No one can fully explain why. Studio executives, movie theater operators and analysts cited the usual explanations for the summer slump. There are the obvious reasons: Too many bad movies, including sequels, reboots and aging franchises that no one wanted to see. Some point to rising ticket prices, which hit a record high in the second quarter, according to the National Assn. of Theatre Owners. Then there are long-term challenges, including competition from streaming services such as Netflix and the influence of the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. How about all of the above?
What is clear: This summer was marred with multiple high-profile films that flopped stateside, including “The Mummy,” “Baywatch,” “The Dark Tower” and “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.” Sequels in the “Alien,” “Transformers” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchises also disappointed. (International ticket sales are helping to ease some of the pain.) Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 1, 2017 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Advocacy, anti-christian, BPV-III Cayman X Limited, Cayman Islands, Hate Group, Hate Map, Nonprofit, Offshore accounts, Radical Left, Slander, Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, Tiger Global Private Investment Partners
Left-wing nonprofit pays lucrative six-figure salaries to top management.
Posted: August 31, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Entertainment, Mediasphere, The Butcher's Notebook | Tags: 24-hour news cycle, news, Pundit from another planet, travel, Vacation
Editor’s note: I’m traveling a lot this month, internet access is limited. Pundit Planet will be back with fresh news when the network is back online. In the meantime, check out our archives. And pray for Houston. Explore donation options here.