A hilarious collection of truly odd Valentines
Matthew Continetti writes: The school of literary criticism known asreception theory holds that a text should be studied in light of its effect on its contemporaries, that a reader should be aware of the “horizon of expectations” in which a text is produced. I was reminded of this the other day as I observed, in amusement, fascination, and occasional pity, the reaction of the so-called mainstream media to Alana Goodman’s lengthy and rock-solid report on “The Hillary Papers.” This trove of previously unexamined transcriptions of conversations between Hillary Clinton and her best friend Diane Blair had been collecting dust at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville for years. Not anymore.
As far as Bill and Hillary Clinton are concerned, the media’s horizon of expectations is stunningly narrow. It encompasses on the one hand the belief that the “secretary of explaining stuff” is a national treasure beyond reproach, and on the other hand the expectation that the former secretary of state will be our next president. Stories that fall outside of this horizon are problematized, scrutinized, ascribed to partisanship, and read with the sort of incredulity reporters are supposed to apply to public figures such as the Clintons.
Max Willens reports: There are several million single guys in this country, and many of them will spend Valentine’s Day online with webcam models: sex workers paid to chat — and usually a whole lot more — via the magic of the internet. Although most are women, there are a fair number of male models too. The ratio, by some estimates, is about two to one.
No matter their gender, today is a big day. Valentine’s Day is the big, heart-shaped exception to the rule that holidays are rough on the Internet porn biz. Come February 14, traffic surges, money flies, and models know they can earn thousands of dollars in mere hours.
“It is the big money-generating day,” said Natalie Star, a cam model who spent years with Webcam Modeling Agency but now works by appointment only. “If you think about it, there’s hundreds of thousands of lonely guys, they don’t have wives, they don’t have girlfriends. It’s huge, not only for the customers that know you, but for the girls who are trying to build their audiences.”
“Camming” has been around since the 1990s, but it’s only taken off in the past five years with the ubiquity of high-speed internet and webcams.
Exports of Iranian crude oil jumped to 1.32 million barrels, up from December’s high of 1.06 million barrels, according to data from the International Energy Agency.
The spike in exports—mainly to Japan, China, and India—has helped Iran’s once-ailing economy stabilize and decrease inflation.
Iranian oil exports have steadily risen since negotiations with the West restored confidence in Tehran’s economy. The increase runs counter to a promise by the Obama administration that “Iran’s oil exports will remain steady at their current level of around 1 million barrels per day.”
The significant rise in oil exports has led some experts to accuse the Obama administration of misleading the public about the amount of sanctions relief provided under the interim nuclear deal.
From The Daily Caller: If you are a single, white female who is planning to pop in your 2004 copy of “The Notebook” into your DVD player on Valentine’s Day night and go to town on some Pinot Grigio, just remember that “The Notebook” is terrible.
Read more here…
Wynton Hall reports: 64% of Americans say Obamacare would have never passed if citizens knew back in 2009 what they know now about the law.
Interestingly, the somber sentiment garnered majorities from Republicans (74%), independents (68%), and Democrats (54%), who say the unpopular health care program would not have passed.
The poll also found that just 9% of Americans believe their family is better off under Obamacare.
He has a Pen, and a Phone…
Due to weather hammering the south, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry designated northern Georgia a “No Valentine’s Day Zone” in a Facebook post.
George Will writes: Many “Downton Abbey” watchers are nostalgia gluttons who grieved when Lord Grantham lost his fortune in Canadian railroad shares. There are, however, a discerning few whose admirable American sensibilities caused them to rejoice at Grantham’s loss: “Now perhaps this amiable but dilettantish toff will get off his duff and get a job.”
“It is fitting that PBS offers “Downton Abbey” to its disproportionately progressive audience. This series is a languid appreciation of a class structure supposedly tempered by the paternalism of the privileged. And if progressivism prevails, the United States will be Downton Abbey: Upstairs, the administrators of the regulatory state will, with a feudal sense of noblesse oblige, assume responsibility for the lower orders downstairs, gently protecting them…”
This drama’s verisimilitude extends to emphasizing that his lordship had a fortune to squander only because he married an American heiress. By battening on what they disdained, this republic’s commercial culture, many British aristocrats could live beyond their inherited means — actual work being, of course, unthinkable.
The deserved decline of Downton’s finances demonstrates why estate taxes are unnecessary: Even when Balzac’s axiom is accurate (“At the bottom of every great fortune without apparent source, there’s always some crime”) and fortunes are ill-gotten, subsequent generations often soon fritter them away. Call this Darwinian redistribution.
I came across this last night:
In mid-2015, the asteroid probe Dawn is scheduled to establish orbit around Ceres, the only dwarf planet in the inner Solar System, as well as the largest asteroid, to begin roughly six months of close-up observation. The level of interest in this mission has significantly increased with the detection by the ESA’s Herschel space observatory of plumes of water vapor being exuded from Ceres’ surface from a pair of local sources.
It turns out that Ceres may have more water than all the fresh water on Earth. If that’s true, it may well be the the best place to actually create a robust human presence off Earth (after a real foothold is established on Earth’s moon). Some people might think that water would be useful on Mars, but why put it at the bottom of a gravity well one-third as deep as Earth’s?
Now the only question is: Who’s going to grab this uniquely valuable spot?
Niels Lesniewski reports: In a major departure from procedure during Wednesday’s climactic vote on suspending the federal debt limit, the Senate kept some senators’ votes secret while the nearly hourlong tally was under way — a move that has drawn sharp criticism from Capitol Hill reporters.
“We were very disappointed that Wednesday’s change in Senate voting protocol kept us from giving the public real-time access to this key vote…The tactic certainly gives the concept of legislative transparency a black eye.”
The stakes for Wednesday’s vote were as high as they come, with the full faith and credit of the United States, the political future of Republican leaders and another government shutdown showdown on the line.
But on Wednesday, the clerks did not name names. Instead of announcing the rolling vote tally as the vote went along on the critical motion to limit debate on the debt limit measure, senators were allowed to cast their votes in relative secrecy. Overlooked at the time, it has since caught the attention of numerous reporters.
The biggest snowstorm of the year hit Washington Wednesday night, closing the federal government on Thursday.
Read the story here
From Russia with Euphemisms
Hannah Arendt coined the term “the banality of evil” to describe the galling normalcy of Nazi mass-murderer Adolf Eichmann. Covering his trial in Jerusalem, she described Eichmann as less a cartoonish villain than a dull, remorseless, paper-pushing functionary just “doing his job.”
The phrase “banality of evil” was instantly controversial, largely because it was misunderstood. Arendt was not trying to minimize Nazism’s evil but to capture its enormity. The staggering moral horror of the Holocaust was that it made complicity “normal.” Liquidating the Jews was not just the stuff of mobs and demagogues but of bureaucracies and bureaucrats.
“To read Anne Applebaum’s magisterial Gulag: A History is to subject yourself to relentless tales of unimaginable barbarity…”
Now consider the stunted and ritualistic conversation (“controversy” is too vibrant a word for the mundane Internet chatter) about the Soviet Union sparked by the Winter Olympics. The humdrum shrugging at the overwhelming evil of Soviet Communism leaves me nostalgic for the Eichmann controversy. At least Arendt and her critics agreed that evil itself was in the dock; they merely haggled over the best words to put in the indictment.
What to say of the gormless press-agent twaddle conjured up to describe the Soviet Union?