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Obama Worship: Clap-Out Recalls Stalin’s Grim Loyalists 

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kevin-williamsonKevin D. Williamson writes: Applause was a serious business in the Soviet Union, as it is in Cuba, as it is in Venezuela, as it is in all unfree societies and at our own State of the Union address, which is modeled on the ex cathedra speeches of unfree societies. The less free you are, the more you are obliged to applaud. Joseph Stalin’s pronouncements were greeted with perfervid applause, which would continue, rapturously — no one dared stop — until Stalin himself would order its cessation.

“The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior.”

But what to do when Stalin was not there? The mere mention of his name, even in his absence, would trigger fanatical applause, and nobody wanted to be the first to stop. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn related one famous story:

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The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall onend-is-near stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  is available at Amazon]

Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.

That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them.

That same night the factory director was arrested.

Stalin is long gone, and the Soviet Union, too, having been deposited, as Ronald Reagan predicted, onto the “ash heap of history.” But the craven instinct on display in the scene Solzhenitsyn described remains.

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The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior. There is something atavistic in us that is older than the human part — the inner chimp — that makes those who listen to its voice keenly aware of their places in the social hierarchy. Even a predator instinctively recognizes a predator higher up the food chain.

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“The language there is interesting: She did not write that Price ‘did not applaud,’ ‘refrained from applauding’, or even ‘failed to applaud,” but that he refused to applaud, a formulation that converts passivity into a positive act, one from which we are to derive something of significance about his fitness for the role of secretary of health and human services.”

Which is not to say that National Public Radio’s Marilyn Geewax is a Stalinist, but rather that they were what she is, representatives of the same species.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Geewax, who is a senior business editor for NPR, is very interested in applause. This week, she expressed some concern that Representative Tom Price has been nominated to serve as the next secretary of health and human services. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Wellness Blogger’ Fakes Cancer Remedy

The state of Victoria’s consumer watchdog launched action in Australia’s federal court against the 24-year-old over her claim that she overcame brain cancer without resorting to conventional medicine – a claim she used to promote The Whole Pantry, her internationally successful phone app and cookbook.

Gibson, who built up a huge social media following, had promised to give some of her profits from her wellness empire to charity but it emerged that no charities had ever received any donations…(read more)

Source: telegraph.co.uk


Fence Jumper Detained at White House

Bradford Richardson reports: The White House was locked down on Thursday afternoon when an intruder jumped the fence, according to the Secret Service.

The jumper, identified as Joseph Caputo, was immediately detained.

The first family was reportedly celebrating Thanksgiving inside the mansion when the incident occurred, at 2:45 p.m.

Images shared on social media showed a man wrapped in an American flag jumping the North Lawn fence and raising his arms after he landed….(read more)

Source: TheHill


R.I.P. Jake Brewer: Cyclist, White House Staffer, Husband of Mary Katharine Ham, Dies on Charity Ride After Collision with Car

editor-commen-deskOur heart goes out to the family of Jake Brewer, this is very sad news…

Martin Weil reports: A White House staff member was killed Saturday in Howard County while taking part in a bicycle ride to raise money to combat cancer.jake-brewer

Police said Jacob Thomas Brewer, 34, of Alexandria, died in the Mount Airy area about 3:40 p.m. when his bicycle went out of control at a sharp curve on Old Frederick Road. It crossed the double yellow line and collided with an oncoming vehicle, police said.

The Web site for the Ride to Conquer Cancer reported “a fatal accident involving” a participant in the two-day, 150-mile ride, which began Saturday in the District. The Web site had warned that roads would be open to traffic….(more)

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey writes:

It is with great shock and sadness that we offer our condolences and prayers to the family of Jake Brewer, the husband of Mary Katharine Ham, and the father of Georgia and a child on the way, as well as his colleagues and friends at the White House and Change.org. Jake died as a result of an accident while participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer bicycle rally and fundraiser. He gave his life while trying to help others, a quality that Jake’s friends say is defining about him. Jake passed away yesterday at 34 years of age.

Mary Katharine published this statement on Instagram, along with a picture of their growing family:

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Nothing we can add would be adequate to the profound loss and sorrow which Mary Katharine, their families and their friends are suffering at the moment. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them, and we’d ask our readers to join us….(more here)

At TheHillTimothy Cama has this:

“Simply put, Jake was one of the best,” Obama said in a Sunday statement.bo-mic

“Armed with a brilliant mind, a big heart, and an insatiable desire to give back, Jake devoted his life to empowering people and making government work better for them. He worked to give citizens a louder voice in our society. He engaged our striving immigrants. He pushed for more transparency in our democracy. And he sought to expand opportunity for all.”

Obama said he was “heartbroken” by Brewer’s death….(read more)

(continued from the Washington Post)…Brewer’s mother said he was in the fundraising ride because of a close friend who was a cancer patient. He “lived life large and tended to live life for other people,” Lori Brewer Collins said. Read the rest of this entry »


Lawrence Wascher: A Rare, Personal Look at Oliver Sacks’s Early Career

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The world was saddened to learn of neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks’s terminal illness through a recent op-ed. With Sacks’s new autobiography out this month, Lawrence Weschler shares early stories and diary entries about Sacks, his close friend, before Sacks achieved worldwide fame.

 writes: This past February 19, fans and friends of Oliver Sacks learned, by way of an article he published in The New York Times, that the great neurologist and medical chronicler had terminal cancer. “Nine years ago,” he explained, “it was discovered that I had a rare tumor of the eye, an ocular melanoma. The radiation and lasering to remove the tumor ultimately left me blind in that eye. But though ocular melanomas metastasize in perhaps 50 percent of cases, given the particulars of my own case, the likelihood was much smaller. I am among the unlucky ones.”I have been both a longtime fan and a longtime friend of Sacks’s—and, what is more, had once, for a period of four years several decades ago, been his impending biographer. Back in those days, in the early 1980s—some years after the publication of his not yet celebrated masterpiece Awakenings and just before the spate of books, beginning with The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, that would bring him fame—Oliver was something of a recluse, living alone in a modest clapboard house out on City Island, in the Bronx, commuting each day to his medical rounds at the state hospitals and nursing homes that constituted his principal employers. Back then, he had relatively few friends and was regularly available for the frequent meals and forays that came to constitute the early days of our friendship.I had originally written him a letter, sometime in the late 70s, from my California home. Somehow back in college I had come upon Awakenings, published in 1973, an account of his work with a group of patients who had been warehoused for decades in a home for the incurable—they were “human statues,” locked in trance-like states of near-infinite remove following bouts of a now rare form of encephalitis. Some had been in this condition since the mid-1920s. These people were suddenly brought back to life by Sacks, in 1969, following his administration of the then new “wonder drug” L-dopa, and Sacks described their spring-like awakenings and the harrowing siege of tribulations that followed. In the book, Sacks gave the facility where all this happened the pseudonym “Mount Carmel,” an apparent reference to Saint John of the Cross and his Dark Night of the Soul. But, as I wrote to Sacks in that first letter, his book seemed to me much more Jewish and Kabbalistic than Christian mystical. Was I wrong?
Oliver Sacks, medical storyteller extraordinaire, in Manhattan on the edge of the Hudson, 1990. By Ken Shung/MPTVImages.com.

Oliver Sacks, medical storyteller extraordinaire, in Manhattan on the edge of the Hudson, 1990. By Ken Shung/MPTVImages.com.

He responded with a hand-pecked typed letter of a good dozen pages, to the effect that, indeed, the old people’s home in question, in the Bronx, was actually named Beth Abraham; that he himself came from a large and teeming London-based Jewish family; that one of his cousins was in fact the eminent Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban (another, as I would later learn, was Al Capp, of Li’l Abner fame); and that his principal intellectual hero and mentor-at-a-distance, whose influence could be sensed on every page of Awakenings, had been the great Soviet neuropsychologist A. R. Luria, who was likely descended from Isaac Luria, the 16th-century Jewish mystic.

Our correspondence proceeded from there, and when, a few years later, I moved from Los Angeles to New York, I began venturing out to Oliver’s haunts on City Island. Or he would join me for far-flung walkabouts in Manhattan. The successive revelations about his life that made up the better part of our conversations grew ever more intriguing: how both his parents had been doctors and his mother one of the first female surgeons in England; how, during the Second World War, with both his parents consumed by medical duties that began with the Battle of Britain, he, at age eight, had been sent with an older brother, Michael, to a hellhole of a boarding school in the countryside, run by “a headmaster who was an obsessive flagellist, with an unholy bitch for a wife and a 16-year-old daughter who was a pathological snitch”; and how—though his brother emerged shattered by the experience, and to that day lived with his father—he, Oliver, had managed to put himself back together through an ardent love of the periodic table, a version of which he had come upon at the Natural History Museum at South Kensington, and by way of marine-biology classes at St. Paul’s School, which he attended alongside such close lifetime friends as the neurologist and director Jonathan Miller and the exuberant polymath Eric Korn. Oliver described how he gradually became aware of his homosexuality, a fact that, to put it mildly, he did not accept with ease; and how, following college and medical school, he had fled censorious England, first to Canada and then to residencies in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where in his spare hours he made a series of sexual breakthroughs, indulged in staggering bouts of pharmacological experimentation, underwent a fierce regimen of bodybuilding at Muscle Beach (for a time he held a California record, after he performed a full squat with 600 pounds across his shoulders), and racked up more than 100,000 leather-clad miles on his motorcycle. And then one day he gave it all up—the drugs, the sex, the motorcycles, the bodybuilding. By the time we started talking, he had been pretty much celibate for almost two decades.

[Read the full story here, at Vanity Fair]

Early on, Oliver had agreed to let me write his biography, and I began filling what would become 14 notebooks of accounts of our meetings and conversations. Much of our time consisted of his telling me ever more (to his mind) scandalous tales in the hopes that I, too, might finally concur in his estimation that his homosexuality was a terrible blight, a disfiguring canker on his character, which I just as regularly refused to do. He would not be assuaged. Midway through the process, he began to have second thoughts about our whole biographical project. Was there any way that I could tell his story without the homosexual stuff? Alas, there wasn’t.
Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Batkid Begins: Official Trailer [HD]


World’s Hottest Pepper Saves Man’s Life

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Randy Schmitz Survives: ‘The Tumor Would Not Have Been Discovered had it not been for the Hot Sauce’

MYRTLE BEACH (WITI) —  reports: A man claims hot sauce saved his life!

Randy Schmitz of Orland Park, Illinois has always loved hot sauce. So when he was vacationing in Myrtle Beach last summer, he decided to stop at a hot sauce store and take their challenge.

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Contestants had to dip a toothpick in the hot sauce and put it on their tongues. One of the hot sauces in this hot sauce challenge is so incredibly hot, people are required to sign waivers before sampling it.

“The next thing I knew, I had woken up on a stretcher in a hospital room — covered in vomit.”

It’s called “Flashbang” and combines Carolina Reaper, scorpion, and habanero peppersaccording to the Huffington Post. The Carolina Reaper was crowed the world’s hottest pepper a few years ago.

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“Schmitz was rushed to an emergency room for an MRI scan of his brain. That’s when they discovered a cancerous brain tumor in its early stages.”

“I made it the five minutes. My sister then said she wanted to take the challenge, but I said, ‘you might want to hold off. I’m feeling really sick,’” Schmitz told ABC News.

The sauce caused Schmitz to suffer a seizure.

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“Within a few days, he had the tumor removed and the treatment was complete. The tumor would not have been discovered had it not been for the hot sauce.”

“The next thing I knew, I had woken up on a stretcher in a hospital room — covered in vomit,” he said in the letter he sent to the Pepper Palace, the business that hosted the challenge. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Cinematographer Eddie Marritz: Magic Mushrooms and the Healing Trip

Eddie Marritz, a cinematographer and photographer in remission from small-cell carcinoma, was a participant in one of N.Y.U.’s Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety research studies. Marritz, and the researchers, take us through the experience.


Texas town holds ‘Princess Day’ parade for 5-year-old battling cancer

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The weather was fit for a princess, as hundreds of people gathered in a town near Houston Wednesday to cheer on a little girl with terminal cancer.

Five year old Claire Lankford has a rare and incurable form of cancer. Family friend Jaime Harbuck says Claire has five tumors in her lungs and lymph nodes, and that doctors have only given her a couple of months to live, so Harbuck wanted to do something special for her.

Claire had no idea a princess parade was planned in her honor, until Cinderella knocked on her door. At that point, the little girl was transformed into Princess Claire.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Woman With Cancer Dropped from Insurance Due to Obamacare

WFTV in Florida reports that a woman with cancer has been dropped from her insurance plan due to Obamacare:

“A woman in a life and death battle with cancer was dealt another devastating blow,” says the Florida anchor.

“This letter makes more problems for us,” says the cancer victim. “That we don’t need at this moment.”

The anchor continues, “She just found out she’s being dropped by her insurance company because of a loophole in Obamacare. Incredible story. Gloria Cantor has been fighting this illness for months with her husband … at her side.”

“As you can imagine, this insurance problem couldn’t have come at a worse time,” say another anchor.

“This letter makes more problems for us we don’t need at this moment,” says the cancer victim.

The Weekly Standard