[VIDEO] Pint-sized String Quartet Joyous String Does an Awesome ‘Smooth Criminal’

 at RocketNews24 discovered this gem: Meet Joyous String, a four-kid string quartet with musical aptitude way beyond their years. Joyous String belong to the Joyous Music School of New York. They’ve been playing together since they were just four years old, and have progressed to the point where they can produce a flawless rendition of the Michael Jackson classic “Smooth Criminal” without even breaking a sweat….Here’s their version of “Smooth Criminal”!

Here’s their rendition of Katy Perry’s mega-hit “Firework”

Eight-year-old cellist and quartet member Justin Yu has even appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show! After a short (and pretty hilarious) interview, he performs a solo on the cello….(read more)


‘Hookers, Suckling Pigs, Cuban Cigars’: Contractor Admits to Bribing Navy Officials


A defense contractor who is the central figure in a wide-ranging Navy bribery scandal pleaded guilty on Thursday to providing cash, prostitutes, free hotel rooms and gifts worth millions of dollars to gain maintenance and supply contracts in Asian ports that overbilled the Navy by $20 million.


[See also – ‘Massive’ Navy Bribery, Hooker Scandal Grows: Third Officer Charged]

In a federal court in San Diego, Leonard Francis, known by his nickname “Fat Leonard,” pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges related to a decade-long conspiracy to gain the contracts that he said involved “scores” of U.S. Navy officials. Francis was the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) a Singapore-based company that provided fuel, supplies, tugboats and sewage disposal to U.S. Navy ships when they woman-cigararrived in ports.

“Francis admitted that he gave millions of dollars in extravagant gifts and expenses to Navy officials including $500,000 in cash; hundreds of thousands of dollars in prostitution services; travel expenses, including first class airfare, luxurious hotel stays and spa treatments.”

Leonard gave the Navy officials lavish gifts to gain classified information about the scheduled movement of U.S. Navy ships in Asia so he could block out competitors and then overbill the Navy for his company’s services, prosecutors said.

“He also provided officials with lavish meals, including Kobe beef, Spanish suckling pigs, Cuban cigars, designer handbags and even tickets to a Lady Gaga concert.”

Francis admitted that he gave millions of dollars in extravagant gifts and expenses to Navy officials including $500,000 in cash; hundreds of thousands of dollars in prostitution services; travel expenses, including first class airfare, luxurious hotel stays and spa treatments. He also provided officials with lavish meals, including Kobe beef, Spanish suckling pigs, Cuban cigars, designer handbags and even tickets to a Lady Gaga concert.

U.S. Attorney Laura E Duffy

U.S. Attorney Laura E Duffy

“It is astounding that Leonard Francis was able to purchase the integrity of Navy officials by offering them meaningless material possessions and the satisfaction of selfish indulgences. In sacrificing their honor, these officers helped Francis defraud their country out of tens of millions of dollars. Now they will be held to account.”

—  U.S. Attorney Laura E Duffy


When sentenced in April Francis could face up to 25 years in prison. In admitting his guilt he and his company agreed to repay the Navy $35 million. He has been cooperating with investigators and additional Naval officials may be implicated.


So far the investigation has involved eight Navy officials, including a Naval Criminal Services Investigative Services (NCIS) agent who would tip Francis off to ongoing investigations into his conduct.

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[VIDEO] Late Night Dynamite: The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain – ‘Miss Dynamitee’

The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain – Miss Dynamitee – Anarchy In The UK – Teenage Kicks, played at Cheltenham Town Hall for Lincs Cancer Charity

[The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain at Amazon]


America’s Coastal Royalty

The real national divide isn’t between red and blue states

The densely populated coastal corridors from Boston to Washington and from San Diego to Berkeley are where most of America’s big decisions are made.

They remind us of two quite different Americas: one country along these coasts and everything else in between. Those in Boston, New York, and Washington determine how our government works; what sort of news, books, art, and fashion we should consume; and whether our money and investments are worth anything.

The Pacific corridor is just as influential, but in a hipper, cooler fashion. Whether America suffers through another zombie film or one more Lady Gaga video or Kanye West’s latest soft-porn rhyme is determined by Hollywood — mostly by executives who live in the la-la land of the thin Pacific strip from Malibu to Palos Verdes.

The next smart phone or search engine 5.0 will arise from the minds of tech geeks who pay $2,000 a month for studio apartments and drive BMWs in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, or Mountain View.

The road to riches and influence, we are told, lies in being branded with a degree from a coastal-elite campus like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, or Berkeley. How well a Yale professor teaches an 18-year-old in a class on American history does not matter as much as the fact that the professor helps to stamp the student with the Ivy League logo. That mark is the lifelong golden key that is supposed to unlock the door to coastal privilege.

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Camille Paglia: “It remains baffling how anyone would think that Hillary Clinton is our party’s best chance”

Camille Paglia:
Camille Paglia (Credit: Michael Lionstar)

I can vividly remember the first time I read Camille Paglia. I was visiting New York with my mom during college and we happened across “Vamps and Tramps” at a bookstore near our hotel. Lying in neighboring twin beds, I read passages out loud to her. Explosive things like, “Patriarchy, routinely blamed for everything, produced the birth control pill, which did more to free contemporary women than feminism itself.” I didn’t always agree with Paglia, but I enjoyed her as a challenging provocateur.

I still have that copy of the book. There are asterisks in the margins, double-underlined sentences and circled paragraphs. Reading it was a satisfying rebellion against the line-toeing women’s studies classes I was taking at the time — and at a college with an infamously anti-porn professor, no less. Since then, I have moments of genuine outrage and fury over Paglia’s writing and public commentary (see: thisthis and this, for examples of why) — but she is still compelling and occasionally brilliant. The truth is that many people still want to hear what she has to say — about everything from BDSM to Lady Gaga.

The paperback release last week of her book “Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to Star Wars” — which Salon interviewed her about last year, and which is an example of Paglia at her intellectual best and an antidote to her birther moments — is a great excuse to check back in with the so-called bete noire of feminism. I spoke with Paglia by email about contemporary feminism, Anthony Weiner and the “end of men.”

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The Un-President

Barack Obama shows an unerring instinct for policy deniability

…At the core of Barack Obamas persona and his presidency is a constant instinct to deniability.

It’s not my fault. He comes across as one of those smart kids who always had some elaborate excuse to disperse responsibility for anything bad in his vicinity. And so it was in his answer to Miss Crowley: “Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. Im the president. And Im always responsible. And thats why nobody is more interested in . . .” By the end, he said it was Mitt Romneys fault for bringing it up! In contrast, the bin Laden takedown was accompanied by a Lady Gaga-like White House P.R. blitz in the media.

In hindsight, an irony of the 2012 campaign will be that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney traded places on stepping up to the plate. A main criticism from the right of Mr. Romney had been that he was playing it too safe, saying next-to-nothing about much of anything, such as his tax returns, for fear the Obama camp or the press would criticize him. No exposure, no responsibility…