“I am who the media says I am. I say what they say I say. I become who they say I’ve become.”
—Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, 2006.
“Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
—Barack Obama, 2009.
For Reason.com, Todd Krainin writes: Which Barack Obama is telling the truth here? Writing as a U.S. senator from Illinois, Obama laments that there will always be a barrier—the independent media—between him and the people he serves. As a public figure, his identity will be created by reporters and critics that he cannot control, distorted by the lenses of photographers who don’t answer directly to him.
“The White House has effectively become a broadcast company.”
Only three years later, as commander in chief, President Obama took a far more trusting tone with the media. In his earliest speeches, he promised an administration of unparalleled openness, access, and integrity. Indeed, he asserted he was running “the most transparent administration in history” just four months before Edward Snowden spilled the beans on the National Security Agency.
“The White House has effectively become a broadcast company,” says Michael Shaw, publisher of Bagnewsnotes.com, a site dedicated to the analysis of news images. Shaw explains how strategically composed photos, taken by official White House photographers, travel from social media sites that are controlled by the administration to the front pages of newspapers around the world. Read the rest of this entry »
In the face of an army of cartoon characters, some Japanese officials are concerned the public is facing a cuteness overload.
For CNN, Euan McKirdy reports: Mascots, known locally as yuru-kyara (“loose” or “relaxed” characters), are ubiquitous in Japan, and are used to promote everything from soap, food and train lines, to regions of Japan and even prisons. They come in every conceivable shape and size, including some downright bizarre creations, and are often conceived of and designed by amateurs, a fact that is often all too apparent.
But despite the oftentimes amateur nature of some of these beloved characters, it’s safe to say that Japan is truly enamored — or obsessed, to quote one editorial — with these guys.
Noriko Nakano of the Japan Local Character Association told CNN by email that the Japanese have a long-lasting, deep emotional bond to “non-human” characters, with roots buried deep in an ancient polytheism. Read the rest of this entry »
Spoiler Alert: On Sunday’s episode, his advertising copy writer character Michael Ginsberg had a mental breakdown tipped off by the introduction of a computer to the office.
“Matt Weiner and I sat down a few weeks before that episode and he told me everything that was gonna happen and my jaw just dropped to the floor.”
— Actor Ben Feldman
If it sounds crazy it’s because it was. The character began trending on Twitter soon after. Read the rest of this entry »
At the time of Keith Crisco‘s death, the race was still too close to call
North Carolina businessman Keith Crisco, a Democrat who ran for Congress against former “American Idol” star Clay Aiken, was found dead at his home Monday, his company and campaign confirmed to Post Politics.
Asheboro Elastics Corp., the company Crisco co-founded, confirmed that he died on Monday. The Asheboro Courier-Tribune, which first reported the news, said details about Crisco’s death were incomplete but that early information was that he suffered injuries from a fall. An employee at Crisco’s company also said he suffered a fall, as did Crisco’s campaign.
“What makes “Psycho” immortal, when so many films are already half-forgotten as we leave the theater, is that it connects directly with our fears: Our fears that we might impulsively commit a crime, our fears of the police, our fears of becoming the victim of a madman, and of course our fears of disappointing our mothers.”
“I swear to almighty Allah, you will not see them again until you release our brothers that you have captured.“
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Under the guns of their captors, dozens of barefoot girls sat huddled together wearing gray Muslim veils as they chanted Quranic verses in Arabic. Some Christians among them said they had converted to Islam.
“I swear to almighty Allah, you will not see them again until you release our brothers that you have captured,” the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist network threatened, an assault rifle slung across his chest.
A video released by the group Monday offered the first public glimpse of what it claimed were some of the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped a month ago. The girls’ plight has spurred a global movement to secure their freedom.
It is not known how many suspected Boko Haram members are detained by security forces. Hundreds were killed last month when leader Abubakar Shekau‘s fighters stormed the military’s main northeastern barracks in Maiduguri, the terror group’s birthplace and the headquarters of a year-old military state of emergency to put down the 5-year-old Islamic uprising.
In the video, two of the girls were singled out for questioning.
“Why have you become a Muslim?” one girl, who looked to be in her early teens, was asked.
“The reason why I became a Muslim is because the path we are on is not the right path,” the girl said, nervously shifting her body from side to side, her eyes darting back and forth. Read the rest of this entry »
What was President Obama doing during the eight hours that the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was under attack? Amazingly, we still do not know 20 months later.
But there is an easy way to find out — just ask the White House diarist. When trying to keep track of the president’s time, most observers look at “WAVE records” (the White House visitors log listing everyone who enters the White House complex) and the “President’s Public Schedule” (which selectively lists the president’s public activities). But there is another document that meticulously records all the president’s activities, public and private, every second of every day. It is called the “President’s Daily Diary.”
[See also: The Day Obama’s Presidency Died]
Just outside the Oval Office is a room called the Outer Oval, where the president’s secretary and personal aide sit and through which all visitors coming to see the president pass. Staff members in the Outer Oval keep track of the president’s location at all times. They carefully record the names of all individuals who walk into the Oval Office — when they entered, how long they stayed, what the topic of discussion was. They keep a record of all calls made and received by the president, including the topic, participants and duration. They even record the president’s bathroom breaks (they write “evacuating” into the log).
[See Sharyl Attkisson’s book: Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington at Amazon.com]
The new congressional select committee on Benghazi should subpoena the “President’s Daily Diary” and call the White House diarist to testify before the committee. There is precedent for doing so. In 1998, the grand jury investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair questioned White House diarist Ellen McCathran. Moreover, the “President’s Daily Diary” is not a classified document. It eventually becomes a publicly available record. There is no reason to withhold it from Congress. Read the rest of this entry »
For the Wall Street Journal, Ruth Wisse writes: There was a time when people looking for intellectual debate turned away from politics to the university. Political backrooms bred slogans and bagmen; universities fostered educated discussion. But when students in the 1960s began occupying university property like the thugs of regimes America was fighting abroad, the venues gradually reversed. Open debate is now protected only in the polity: In universities, muggers prevail.
Assaults on intellectual and political freedom have been making headlines. Pressure from faculty egged on by Muslim groups induced Brandeis University last month not to grant Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the proponent of women’s rights under Islam, an intended honorary degree at its convocation.
Ruth Wisse‘s book: “No Joke: Making Jewish Humor” (Library of Jewish Ideas) is available at Amazon.com
This was a replay of 1994, when Brandeis faculty demanded that trustees rescind their decision to award an honorary degree to Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In each case, a faculty cabal joined by (let us charitably say) ignorant students promoted the value of repression over the values of America’s liberal democracy.
Opponents of free speech have lately chalked up many such victories: New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly prevented from speaking at Brown University in November; a lecture by Charles Murray canceled by Azusa Pacific University in April; Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state and national-security adviser under the George W. Bush administration, harassed earlier this month into declining the invitation by Rutgers University to address this year’s convocation. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] What Happens When Anarchists Have a Conference, and One Half Starts Protesting the Other Half? Chaos EnsuesPosted: May 12, 2014
An Incoherent, Self Indulgent, anti-Democratic Spectacle worthy of an episode of Portlandia: Watch as an Anarchist Conference Devolves Into…Anarchy. Video contains strong language.
Anarcho-Syndicalists protest get protested at their own conference. A panelist by the name of Kristian Williams was scheduled to speak at the annual Law & Disorder conference, but was thwarted by a protest. No one could actually articulate what their issue is with Mr. Williams.
From the Portland State University website:
“Law and Disorder calls for people, movements, organizations and collectives to present alternative accounts to the political dimensions of civic engagement, mutual aid and revolution as they relate to economics, politics, invention, technology, work, artistic and cultural production, the body, pedagogy and social change. The conference promises to create a provocative space for comparative critical dialogue between activists, revolutionaries, educators, artists, musicians, scholars, dancers, social/cultural workers, doulas, actors and writers. The conference invites panels and workshop on all aspects of social change from the revolutionary to the academic.”
A meeting of Anarcho-Syndicalists devolved into chaos at Portland State University last week. The “Law & Disorder” conference presented by the Students of Unity was disrupted by protesters complaining about “survivor trauma” and the “patriarchal society” which is “prioritizing powerful white men.”
Eventually police were called, causing the protesters to flee. Read the rest of this entry »
The discovery provides insights into the mechanism of dreaming — an area that has fascinated thinkers for millennia — and may one day help treat mental illness and post-trauma nightmares, they said.
Lucid dreams are considered by many psychologists to be an intermediate stage between two forms of consciousness.
They lie between so-called rapid eye movement (REM) dreams — which are concerned with the immediate present and have no access to past memories or anticipated events in the future — and being awake, which brings into play abstract thought and other cognitive functions.
In lucid dreaming, a state believed to be unique to humans, elements of secondary consciousness combine with REM dreams.
A characteristic is that the dreamer becomes aware that he or she is dreaming and is sometimes able to control the dream’s plot. Read the rest of this entry »
Boko Haram released a new video on Monday claiming to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, alleging the teenagers had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed. Duration: 01:08
“You want me out of your life,” Monica Lewinsky wrote in a draft of a letter to President Bill Clinton in December, 1997. At that point, their sexual encounters in his Oval Office study, which had begun two years earlier during a government shutdown and were facilitated by a pizza delivery, were still secret. “I will never forget what you said that night we fought on the phone—if you had known what I was really like you would never have gotten involved with me. I’m sure you’re not the first person to have felt that way about me. I am sorry that this has been such a bad experience.” But, she wrote, she had some Christmas presents for him.
“Should I put my life on hold for another 8 to 10 years?”
In what remains, sixteen years later, a remarkable story of sub-tabloid Presidential behavior, they met twice more in the White House, and in one of those meetings she gave him an antique cigar holder, a tie, a mug, a book, and a “Hugs and Kisses” box. He reciprocated with a stash of tourist swag—a Rockettes blanket, a pin with a New York skyline, a stuffed animal from the Black Dog restaurant, in Martha’s Vineyard—and what Lewinsky described as a “physically intimate” kiss. By then, she had been subpoenaed in a sexual-harassment suit that an Arkansas woman named Paula Jones had filed against the President. Lewinsky soon came to the attention of Kenneth Starr, who had been appointed to investigate the Clintons’ connection to a land deal and ended up looking into everything he could find. The Monica experience was just beginning.
“I turned 40 last year, and it is time to stop tiptoeing around my past…”
Last week, Lewinsky published an essay in Vanity Fair about her life as an object of extreme mass voyeurism. Read the rest of this entry »
For Breitbart.com, Robert Wilde reports: The White House has 132 rooms, 32 bathrooms, 6 levels, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 7 staircases, and 3 elevators. What’s more, there is now an arrangement of solar panels resting on its roof that is generating almost 44 kilowatt hours of electricity a day.
According to the Climate Change Dispatch, the not-so-monumental outflow of solar energy accounts for enough juice to power 22 100-watt light bulbs for 20 hours each day. Ironically, if you have ever viewed just one corridor in the White House, you know they would still need to add a few AAAs to keep the bulbs glowing.
As you may have suspected, Obama is doing all of this to set a good example for all American families and businesses to reduce our need to use fossil fuels, cut carbon emissions, and save the planet from global warming. Read the rest of this entry »
For The Daily Caller, Robbie Soave writes: Just days after proposing a massive bailout of indebted students that would subsidize their college loans and forgive some of their financial obligations, far-left Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said she has no idea why people think she is a socialist.
“…an effort to punish taxpayers for college students’ bad choices.”
Her bill, the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, would lower the amount of money that students are obligated to repay to the federal government. If enacted, the bill would deprive the federal government of billions of dollars in interest payments owed to its shareholders: the American taxpayers.
It is Warren’s belief that students — who voluntarily signed up for the loans and agreed to pay them back at certain interest rates — should be let off the hook. Read the rest of this entry »
An old Boeing 727 passenger jet destined for scrap has been salvaged and converted into a luxury hotel suite. Picture: Caters News
For PopWatch, Jeff Jensen writes: The Monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most cryptic icons in all of pop culture. Back in the heat of the cultural conversation about the film, moviegoers wanting to crack the secrets of those sleek alien obelisks concerned themselves with many questions about their motive and influence. Do they mean to harm humanity or improve us? Do those who dare engage them flourish and prosper? Or do they digress and regress? To rephrase in the lexicon of Mad Men: Are these catalysts for evolutionary change subversive manipulators like Lou, advancing Peggy with responsibility and money just to trigger Don’s implosion, or are they benevolent fixers like Freddy, rescuing Don from self-destruction and nudging him forward with helpful life coaching?
“…optimism is a tough sell these days.”
Of course, Don Draper is something of a Monolith himself. The questions people once asked of those mercurial monuments are similar to the questions that the partners and employees of Sterling Cooper & Partners (and the audience) are currently asking of their former fearless leader during the final season of Mad Men, which last week fielded an episode entitled “The Monolith” rich with allusions to Stanley Kubrick’s future-fretting sci-fi stunner. Don, that one-time font of creative genius, is now a mystery of motives and meaning to his peeps following last season’s apocalyptic meltdown during the Hershey pitch. (For Don, Hershey Bars are Monoliths, dark rectangular totems with magical character-changing properties.)
Watching them wring their hands over Don evokes the way the ape-men of 2001 frantically tizzied over The Monolith when it suddenly appeared outside their cavern homes. Can Don be trusted? Do they dare let him work? What does he really want? “Why are you here?” quizzed Bert during a shoeless interrogation in his man-cave. Gloomy Lou made like Chicken Little: “He’s gonna implode!” (His pessimism wasn’t without bias: He did take Don’s old job.)
There are knowing, deeper ironies here. Read the rest of this entry »