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Preet Bharara proved Trump Right

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York on March 11, 2017. (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York on March 11, 2017. (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)

The former U.S. attorney’s petty defiance shows why he needed to be shown the door.

Glenn Reynolds writes: In the excellent Paul Newman legal thriller, Absence of Malice, Wilford Brimley faced a misbehaving Justice Department prosecutor who refused to resign. He fired him. It was Brimley’s breakthrough role, as a no-nonsense older guy there to fix a mess. In a way it prefigured what’s going on with President Trump and former U.S attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. Bharara refused to resign, and Trump fired him.

There’s been a lot of faux outrage about this decision of Trump’s, but it’s all bogus. And Bharara’s refusal to resign was childish, an effort to score anti-Trump points with Democrats that, all by itself, demonstrated why Bharara was unfit for office and why Trump was right to let him go.

Here’s the thing to understand: United States attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. The prosecution of crimes, including the decision of which crimes to prosecute and which crimes not to prosecute, is at the discretion of the executive branch, which ultimately means the discretion of the president. U.S. attorneys work for the president in that capacity. And if the president thinks someone else would be better, he’s free to fire them and replace them.

And there’s nothing whatsoever unusual or improper about doing so, something the press has no trouble remembering when the incoming administration is run by Democrats. When Barack Obama took office, he dismissed a bunch of U.S. attorneys. Attorney General Eric Holder explained that “Elections matter — it is our intention to have the U.S. attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as they can.”

Likewise, when Hillary Clinton was running for the White House in 2007, she said that replacing U.S. attorneys is “a traditional prerogative of an incoming president.” And, of course, she was right, and there was no outrage from the press. (As journalist and former Democratic staffer David Sirota tweeted, presidents have been replacing U.S. attorneys for decades. Why is this now a scandal? Well, because it’s Trump, and for the press, everything Trump does is a scandal.)

It’s traditional for new administrations to request the resignation of holdovers from the previous administration. It’s considered more polite than outright firing people. But that’s all it is: politeness. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paris Police: Soldier Opens Fire Outside the Louvre Museum

French soldiers enforcing the Vigipirate plan, France's national security alert system, patrol in front of the Louvre museum on November 16, 2015 in Paris, three days after a series of deadly oordinated attacks claimed by Islamic State jihadists, which killed at least 129 people and left more than 350 injured on November 13. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET

French media reported on Friday that a soldier has opened fire on a man armed with a knife at a shopping centre next to the famous Louvre museum in Paris.

Reports say the soldier opened fire on the knifeman after he attacked him at the Louvre Carrousel shopping centre on Friday morning.

According to reports the attacker was shot in the leg. A security cordon has been set up and the underground Louvre Carrousel shopping centre has been evacuated.

Reports on Twitter said tourists at the museum were being moved into rooms to keep them safe. The Louvre itself has declined to comment on the situation.

Images on Twitter also appeared to show worried visitors outside the world famous museum.

“Something is going down at The  30 National Police vehicles with guns drawn,” said one tweeter.

An alarm can be heard in the background. A worried passerby can be heard saying: “I wonder if it’s a training exercise”.

France’s interior ministry confirmed on Twitter that a serious security operation was underway in the area around the Louvre.

Paris and the rest of France is on high alert for terrorism after a series of attacks in recent years. Read the rest of this entry »


First Issue of MAD Magazine, 1952

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First Issue of “Mad Magazine”, 10/1952

Happy birthday, Harvey Kurtzman and Mad Magazine! In October 1952, the very first issue of a new comic called “Mad” was issued, written almost entirely by Kurtzman. It soon came under Senate investigation (thus entering the records of the National Archives), which led to the comic book being transformed into the magazine still going strong today.

One of these early issues of Mad is on display in the Archives’ permanent exhibit, The Public Vaults, in Washington, DC.

(via National Archives Foundation on Facebook)


Hot Rods: Custom Camel Culture

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In India’s Thar Desert, nomads rely so much on camels for survival that the animals are revered. Livestock owners take great pride in their camels, carving intricate patterns in their fur.

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Full Plate: Anthony Bourdain

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The chef-turned-television host on the world’s cuisine, the ‘absurd’ foodie culture and why he has left restaurants behind

editor-commen-deskIf you’ve read “Kitchen Confidential“, you’ll know you can’t think of restaurant food quite the same way. Bourdain’s hipster wise-ass writing style is actually funnier and more memorable than his tv travel show narration style, I think, but the sensibility is the same. Best night to eat out, according to Anthony? Tuesday, his book says. I dined once at Le Halles in New York, where he was (and perhaps still is) executive chef, and even though it wasn’t a Tuesday, the food was great. The book that made Anthony Bourdain a household name remains a favorite of mine, I’ve probably given away more than one copy. Here’s at taste of this weekend’s Wall Street Journal profile of Bourdain, go here to read the whole thing.

“Are you here to see the chef?” whispers a waiter at Sant Ambroeus restaurant in Southampton, N.Y. He’s not referring to the restaurant’s actual chef but to chef-turned-television host Anthony Bourdain, kitchen-confidentialwho is sitting outside on the patio.

[Check out Anthony’s book Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly at Amazon]

Although Mr. Bourdain now focuses his career on showcasing world cuisine rather than creating his own dishes, to the waiters and busboys eagerly refilling his coffee cup, at least, he’s still “Chef.”

“Bourdain once described Vladimir Putin’s face as being as taut as a Real Housewife’s.”

He earned his title: He spent nearly 30 years as a cook and a chef before writing his best-selling book “Kitchen Confidential” in 2000. That led to a series of television shows. His current show, “Parts Unknown” on CNN, which has won three Emmy Awards, provides a look at the culture and cuisine of different cities world-wide; its fourth season begins on Sept. 28. (Watch a promo for “Parts Unknown: Russia.”)

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He still remembers his days in the kitchen well. “Most of my life I’ve been a pretty pessimistic guy, and I’ve had a pretty dark view of human nature,” he says, referring to how he used to see the world from the kitchen. It’s taken touring around the globe to turn him into a reluctant optimist.

“I assumed humans were basically bad people and if you stumbled…you would be devoured. I don’t believe that anymore.”

He likes going to controversial locales, and he doesn’t hesitate to criticize world leaders, if only in jest. (Mr. Bourdain once described Vladimir Putin‘s face as being as taut as a Real Housewife’s.) He hopes that his shows offer a new perspective on foreign locations. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Anthony Bourdain: TOKYO

This is hands-down the best Anthony Bourdain material I’ve seen in this series. Though I love his books, Bourdain’s CNN travelogues are hit-and-miss, not compelling enough to keep me watching regularly. Bourdain’s writing is always good, his hipster patter and travel-damaged humor is reliably entertaining.

Japan is a paradox. The low birthrate, the dedication, the conformity, and the life of a salary man are well known. There is also a competitive and rigid culture that gives way to some unique subcultures. Bourdain has traveled to Tokyo countless times, but on this trip he is in search of the city’s dark, extreme, and bizarrely fetishistic underside.

In Tokyo, however, Bourdain’s writing is exceptionally good (pay attention to his voice-overs) His observations about Japan are insightful, exceeding my expectations. The material he chooses to explore is perfect, you want to be a companion on this trip.

Anthony Bourdain – Parts Unknown – YouTube