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[VIDEO] White House Policy Advisor Stephen Miller Treats CNN’s Jim Acosta to a Humiliating Defeat

Stephen Miller TKOs Jim Acosta 

Rich Lowry writes: When Donald Trump’s policy adviser Stephen Miller stepped to the podium of the White House briefing room on Wednesday to defend a plan for reducing levels of legal immigration, Jim Acosta of CNN was aghast and let everyone know it.

Put aside that Acosta believed it was his role as a reporter to argue one side of a hot-button political issue (this is how journalism works in 2017). The exchange illustrated how advocates of high levels of immigration are often the ones who—despite their self-image as the rational bulwark against runaway populism—rely on an ignorant emotionalism to make their case.

At issue is the bill sponsored by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia to cut legal immigration by half. The legislation would scale back so-called chain migration—immigrants bringing relatives, who bring more relatives in turn—and institute a merit-based system for green cards based on the ability to speak English, educational attainment and job skills.

Offended by the idea of putting a priority on higher-skilled immigrants, Acosta wanted to know how such a policy would be consistent with the Statue of Liberty. When Miller pointed out that Lady Liberty was conceived as a symbol of … liberty and the famous Emma Lazarus poem added later, Acosta accused him of “national park revisionism”—even though Miller was correct.

At the dedication of the statue in 1886, President Grover Cleveland declared that the statue’s “stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and man’s oppression until Liberty enlightens the world.” His soaring oration did not include the admonition that so-called comprehensive immigration reform would henceforth be considered the only acceptable immigration policy for the United States.

[Read the full story here, at POLITICO]

Lazarus’ poem was added in a plaque in 1903. The words are not, as Acosta and so many others believe, emblazoned on the statue itself—the plaque is now displayed in an exhibition within the pedestal.

All of this might seem pedantic, but the underlying debate is over the legitimacy of reducing levels of immigration and whether it is appropriate to craft a policy mindful, above anything else, of the national interest. Miller clearly has the best of this argument.

One, making 21st policy in accord with late-19th century poetry makes no sense. We don’t ask, say, whether the naval appropriations bill is in keeping with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Building of the Ship” (“Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O Union, strong and great!”)

Two, the cap on refugees in the Cotton-Perdue bill of 50,000 a year is in the ballpark of recent annual refugee numbers. We actually admitted fewer than this in the late-1970s and early-2000s, and the Statue of Liberty still stood … (more)

Source: POLITICO Magazine

During the briefing, Acosta insinuated that the White House wants to allow only immigrants from Great Britain and Australia into the U.S. because they can speak English.

During the briefing, Acosta insinuated that the White House wants to allow only immigrants from Great Britain and Australia into the U.S. because they can speak English.

CNN’s Jim Acosta claims victory in briefing beef with Stephen Miller: ‘He couldn’t take that kind of heat’

“I think what you saw unfold in the briefing room is that he [Miller] really just couldn’t take that kind of heat and exploded before our eyes,” Acosta said in an appearance on CNN Wednesday night, hours after the face-off.

Miller spoke to members of the White House press corps about a revised bill from Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas that would implement a merit-based point system for immigrants applying for legal permanent status. President Trump endorsed the immigration plan during a ceremony at the White House earlier Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »

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NYPD Cop’s Daughter is Born Three Years After His Death 

“Of course she said yes,’’ a friend told The Post — and Tuesday, two-and-a-half years after Liu’s murder, his widow gave birth to their daughter.

Liu’s widow, Pei “Sanny’’ Xia Chen, named the baby “Angel’’ as a tribute to her slain hero husband — whose police hat is now next to her bed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on the Upper East Side, said the pal, fellow cop widow Maria Dziergowski.

The day Chen was artificially inseminated, “she had a dream that Wenjian was there in a white gown looking like an angel and that he handed her a baby, and he said, ‘It’s a girl, a little angel,’ ’’ Dziergowski said.

“So [Chen] knew before everyone that it was a girl.

“The baby’s adorable, smiling, laughing,’’ added Dziergowski, who was with Chen at the hospital Tuesday. “She has a lot of hair, a lot of black hair.’’

Chen — who had only been married to her policeman husband for three months before he and his partner were killed in an ambush by a cop-hating madman — was admitted to the hospital around 12:30 p.m. Monday and gave birth at 4:35 a.m., Dziergowski said. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Mayor Feeds His Ego in Germany After Fleeing a City in Mourning’: NY Post, July 9, 2017


[VIDEO] Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage is Hurting the Workers It’s Intending to Help

Three years ago, the city of Seattle voted to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour in the name of human decency and basic fairness. Several cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have done the same thing. Critics argue that boosting wages by bureaucratic diktat leads to fewer hours and jobs for low-income and low-skilled workers.

Now what The Washington Post calls a “very credible” study from researchers at the University of Washington finds that the critics are right. The Post calls this bad news for liberals. But the real victims are low-skilled workers.

The study finds that when wages were increased to $13, employers cut hours by 9 percent. That means that low-skilled workers saw their monthly compensation decrease by an average of $125.

Studies that downplay the effects of minimum wage hikes have mostly focused on teenagers and fast food workers. But the study at the University of Washington paper looks at the impact on workers spanning all ages and all demographics.

The findings may surprise progressives who believe that the only limit to higher pay for workers is the greed and selfishness of business owners. But it doesn’t come as a surprise to those who remain unconvinced that the law of supply and demand can be amended by city councils. Labor is simply another cost for any business, and when the price of something goes up, we tend to buy less of it.

Another takeaway from the study is that if you want to raise the income of low-skilled workers, taxpayers should pay for that burden through direct cash payments or other forms of welfare. Offloading the cost to employers has unintended consequences, even though it’s a lot easier to demonize business owners for being greedy cheapskates than to build a consensus around raising taxes. Read the rest of this entry »


Shooter Reported Dead: Gunman in Doctor’s Coat Shoots at Least 3 in NYC Hospital

Multiple people were shot by a man wearing a doctor’s coat inside a New York City hospital Friday afternoon, sources say, and the shooter is deceased, police said.

The rifle-wielding gunman at Bronx Lebanon Hospital was dressed in a white doctor’s-type coat when he shot at least three people shortly before 3 p.m., sources tell News 4.

The suspect is dead, NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald said in a tweet around 4 p.m. Multiple senior NYPD officials tells NBC News the suspect is a former employee at Bronx Lebanon.

Police response remains heavy and cautious as authorities make sure he was a lone actor.

A sea of police cars line the street outside Bronx Lebanon Hospital Friday amid reports of shots fired within the hospital.

Chopper Over NYC Hospital Amid Reports of Active Shooter

As members of the NYPD’s most-armed units responded to the then-active shooter situation, a sea of patrol and tactical vehicles gridlocked the streets around the hospital on Grand Concourse, and police surveyed the roof of the building with their guns drawn, Chopper 4 over the scene shows.

A staff member at the hospital tells News 4 it was under lockdown as police helped to bring people out floor by floor. Read the rest of this entry »


COSBY: ‘I JUST NEEDED ONE’: New York Post Cover for Sunday June 18, 2017


[REVIEW] Sonia Saraiya: Megyn Kelly’s Pointless Interview of Alex Jones 

Kelly isn’t a pushover, and proves that Jones is newsworthy because of his connections to President Trump. But that’s it.

Sonia Saraiya writes: Megyn Kelly’s interview with Alex Jones was much less interesting than the conversation that led up to the broadcast.

The past week has been a tumultuous one for NBC News’ new star. Kelly is attempting to make an impression with NBC’s audience this summer in advance of the September debut of her 9 a.m. morning show. Jones, the founder and chief mouthpiece of the Infowars radio program and online channel, is an unstable right-wing provocateur who may be most notorious for his steadfast insistence that the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting was a hoax. His attention-getting assertion has convinced enough others that the bereaved parents have received death threats from angry Infowars viewers. This, in turn, has so horrified many Americans that Jones’ appearance on “Sunday Night” prompted outcry: In addition to a heated conversation about the role of journalism and freedom of speech, JP Morgan Chase withdrew its advertising, and the NBC-owned station in Connecticut opted not to broadcast the interview. Jones, in response, took matters into his own hands — distancing himself from the interview and leaking his recording of one of his conversations with Kelly.

Entirely on its own — aside from Jones’ prevarication, the chummy behind-the-scenes photos of Jones and Kelly that surfaced, the multiple third-party opinions on the topic, and the leaked audio — “Sunday Night’s” segment on Jones is mostly notable for how empty it is. The interview portion, where Kelly is actually sitting opposite Jones, is minimal — perhaps just a few minutes of footage when pieced all together. Read the rest of this entry »


‘TERROR ON PARADE’: New York Post Cover for June 12, 2017


This is Where the Government Will Hide During a Nuclear War 

Maybe Doomsday preppers aren’t so crazy after all.

Journalist Garrett Graff takes readers through the 60-year history of the government’s secret Doomsday plans to survive nuclear war in his painstakingly researched book Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die (Simon & Schuster), out now.

[Order the book Raven Rock:Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die from Amazon.com]

He focuses on the Cold War-era government bunkers across the country that were built to house the President and various Washington elites — members of a so-called “shadow government” in the worst nuclear Armageddon scenario.

Since September 11, 2001, Congress has intensified their interest in and funding of top secret “Continuity of Government” (COG) in ways not seen since the Cold War. With hundreds of newly declassified documents, the book, currently in development with NBC as a TV show, includes never-before-heard intel on the country’s top secret bunkers — mythical places like Raven Rock and Mount Weather.

Here’s the low down on some of these bunkers down below…

Raven Rock

Lillington, NC • For military
Built near Camp David to house the military, as a backup for the Pentagon — and perhaps even the President — during an emergency, Raven Rock has retained an air of secrecy ever since construction started in 1948.

Not that it could remain completely clandestine, given the 300-person team (including miners poached from theLincoln Tunnel dig) who carved a 3,100-foot tunnel out of granite in Raven Rock Mountain near Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.

“There were very few engineers with the expertise to hollow out a mountain and build, in essence, a free-standing city inside of it. The US government turned to the construction firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, which had developed unique tunneling expertise working on the New York City subway,” Graff told The Post.

Locals caught on and word spread to the media, who dubbed the project “Harry’s Hole,” after President Truman who greenlit the project.

Opened in 1953 and designed “to be the centerpiece of a large military emergency hub,” Raven Rock provided 100,000 feet of office space (not counting, Graff writes, “the corridors, bathrooms, dining facility, infirmary or communications and utilities areas”) that could hold about 1,400 people comfortably. Two sets of 34-ton blast doors and curved 1,000-foot-long tunnels reduce the impact of a bomb blast. The compound has undergone several rounds of upgrades — new buildings were added as well as updated technology and air filtration systems. Read the rest of this entry »


These Photos of Sad Brooklyn Hipsters in a Bar Watching the Comey Hearing Are Hilarious

Keep drinking.

#Resist

More more more!

Source: ijr,com


How ‘Fearless Cow’ Didn’t Happen

The financial company that installed the “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street to help market a female mutual fund originally wanted to commission the bronze in the shape of a cow, according to an email exchange between the company’s rep and City Hall obtained by The Post.

Moo-cifully, three months before having it cast and installed opposite the existing “Charging Bull” sculpture for International Woman’s Day, it dawned on State Street Global Advisors a heifer might be misconstrued as sexist. Read the rest of this entry »


Feds Continue Funding Sanctuaries to the Tune of Tens of Millions of Dollars 

Don Rosenberg is the father of a young man who was killed by an illegal alien initially held on criminal charges by police, who chose to release the alien to the streets rather than into the hands of immigration agents who wanted to initiate proceedings to deport him. It was this failure that led to the son’s death. It happened in San Francisco, that model of progressive thinking, which has more than once done this with similarly disastrous results to its innocent citizenry.

Rosenberg is among a distressingly large and diverse group of families who have faced similar tragedies. He is now the face of a public service announcement slamming sanctuary jurisdictions, and asking President Trump to make good on his campaign promise to halt federal funding for these jurisdictions.

Shortly after inauguration, the president did issue an executive order to that effect, but as he is coming to learn, executive orders are a lot easier to issue than to see put into action — in part because we live in an aggressively litigious society where progressivists and open-borders advocates have merged to speak with nearly one and the same voice; and in part because bureaucracies are somewhat like gigantic aircraft carriers: mighty and powerful, but disturbingly slow to turn about.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had a great deal of experience with immigration matters in his prior job as a senator from Alabama, has worked diligently to overcome the litigation and press forward with his agenda to make good on the president’s mandate to defund sanctuaries, where grant funding is made available via programs administered by the Department of Justice.

I wish I could say the same for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). On June 2, DHS published a press release saying this:

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly today announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Notices of Funding Opportunity for 10 DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.6 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department’s focus on funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities. (Emphasis added.)

Unfortunately, those grants do nothing of the sort where public safety is concerned, because among the major recipients are a significant number of sanctuary jurisdictions that pride themselves on stiff-arming federal immigration enforcement efforts, and ignoring immigration detainers, including New York City, which to date has not honored one single detainer, even when serious criminals such as sex offenders are concerned. Read the rest of this entry »


CNN Fires Kathy Griffin From New Year’s Show After Trump Beheading Pic

 reports: CNN has fired Kathy Griffin from their annual New Year’s Eve program, which she cohosted with anchor Anderson Cooper.

The network made the announcement via Twitter Wednesday morning.

“CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program,” the CNN Public Relations account tweeted.

The termination comes one day after the comedienne posted a photo and video of her holding a fake severed head of President Donald Trump. She later apologized for the photo, saying it went too far, and removed it.

Trump tweeted about the photo early on Wednesday, writing that Griffin “should be ashamed of herself.”

“My children, especially my 11-year-old son Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”

Career self-harm

CNN issued a statement on Tuesday night, condemning Griffin’s video and saying that they were evaluating New Year’s Eve plans. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES HE DID: Pissed-Off Artist Adds Statue of Urinating Dog Next to ‘Fearless Girl’ 

Gee whiz, artists are so sensitive!

Nick Fugallo and Max Jaeger report: City sculptor Alex Gardega — seething over the “Fearless Girl” statue being placed across from Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” — has decided to retaliate with a work of his own.

Gardega created a statue of a small dog, titled “Pissing Pug,” and his sloppily crafted pooch takes direct aim at “Fearless Girl” — or, at least, at her left leg.

“This is corporate nonsense,” Gardega told The Post of “Fearless Girl,” saying it was put opposite artist Arturo Di Modica’s famed bull as a publicity stunt by a Boston-based financial firm.

Alex Gardena next to “Fearless Girl” and his “Pissing Pug”Gabriella Bass

Alex Gardena next to “Fearless Girl” and his “Pissing Pug”Gabriella Bass

“It has nothing to do with feminism, and it is disrespect to the artist that made the bull,” he said. “That bull had integrity.”

The Upper West Side artist sniffed that he even made his dog particularly poorly just to stick it to “Fearless Girl” even more.

“I decided to build this dog and make it crappy to downgrade the statue, exactly how the girl is a downgrade on the bull,” said Gardega, who has never met the other statues’ creators. Read the rest of this entry »


CORRECT TARGETING: Source: ICE Targeting ‘Sanctuary Cities’ with Raids 

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been targeting so-called “sanctuary cities” with increased enforcement operations in an effort to pressure those jurisdictions to cooperate with federal immigration agents, a senior US immigration official with direct knowledge of ongoing ICE actions told CNN.

A sanctuary city is a broad term applied to states, cities and/or counties that have policies in place designed to limit cooperation or involvement in the enforcement of federal immigration operations. More than 100 US jurisdictions — among them New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — identify as such.

High-ranking ICE officials have discussed in internal meetings carrying out more raids on those locations, said the source.

This week, a federal judge in Texas seems to have confirmed that tactic. US Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin revealed during an immigration hearing Monday that a mid-February raid in the Austin metro area was done in retaliation for a local sheriff’s recent decision to limit her department’s cooperation with ICE.

“There’s been questions about whether Austin is being targeted. We had a briefing…. that we could expect a big operation, agents coming in from out of town. There was going to be a specific operation, and it was at least related to us in that meeting that it was a result of the sheriff’s new policy that this was going to happen,” Austin says in audio of the proceedings provided by the court.

The judge’s comments came as he questioned an ICE agent about a recent unrelated arrest.

Austin said that in a late January meeting, local ICE officials told him and another federal judge that an upcoming enforcement operation was being done in direct response to Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s adoption of a sanctuary policy in Travis County.

Earlier this year, Hernandez announced that beginning in February, her department would no longer honor ICE detainers unless the individual was arrested for murder, sexual assault or human trafficking, or a warrant had been issued. A detainer is a 48-hour hold request placed on suspected undocumented immigrants in local jails until federal agents can come in and take over the case.

A showdown in Travis County, Texas

It is a significant shift in the county’s immigration enforcement policy that has put the newly elected Democratic sheriff at odds with pro-enforcement local and state officials, including the Texas Senate, which recently passed a bill that withholds state dollars from sanctuary cities and Gov. Greg Abbott, who cut $1.5 million in funding to the county. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump’s First Two Months Prove He’s Anything but a Fascist

If so, the joke’s on you. If there’s any ancient tale that presaged the start of the Trump Era, it’s the Voyage to Lilliput in “Gulliver’s Travels.”

Gulliver-like, Trump finds himself tied down by a thousand tiny strings, paralyzed by micro-people he can barely detect. Because of their combined power, he can’t do much of anything. If it’s the system vs. Trump, the system is winning, bigly. But it isn’t Berserkeley radicals or marching feminists in pussy hats who are leading the charge to #resist. Resistance to change is as natural in Washington as cherry blossoms in spring.

Since being promoted from private citizen to president, the only thing Trump has exercised undisputed authoritarian control over has been his Twitter account. And even that mysteriously seems to go silent at the exact times his aides are being badgered with questions about his latest tweet.

Thanks to two judges (Derrick K. Watson of Hawaii and Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Maryland) who didn’t star in a hit reality TV show, aren’t the most famous dudes on Earth and don’t have 27 million Twitter followers, Trump’s latest executive order restricting immigration from six countries with major terrorism problems is on hold.

The judiciary is a check on the president. Trump’s predecessor found that out, too, when the Fifth Circuit court upheld a lower court order that blocked Obama’s immigration plan (which would have shielded 5 million illegal aliens from deportation). There’s no such thing as doing an end-around the system (or, if you like, the Swamp).

Even with his party in control of both houses in Congress, Trump is finding major limits to what he can do legislatively. The American Health Care Act is not going to pass (without major changes) because, as Trump himself so memorably put it, health care is “an unbelievably complex subject.” The Jenga game that is ObamaCare is so wobbly that removing a single block could cause the health-care system to come crashing down. Which is why Republicans can’t agree on whether AHCA leans too far in the direction of the free market, or not far enough.

Passing a budget? Hey, guess what? The president can’t spend a dime without Congress. As Marco Rubio so cruelly, but accurately, put it: “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.” Marco may still be little. But Congress is still big.

Liberals should have had more respect for our national institutions than to think that one man could simply have trashed them all. Yet The New York Review of Books called Trump an autocrat in a Nov. 10 story that warned, “Institutions will not save you” and said Trump was the new Vladimir Putin. Read the rest of this entry »


Today’s New York Post Cover: In First Congressional Address, Trump Pitches Ambitious Agenda

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“The time for small thinking is over,” he said in the Capitol Hill speech. “The time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts. The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls. And the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action.”

170228-trump-new-feature

“I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding ObamaCare disaster.”

Trump emphasized his effort to rework ObamaCare with a new plan he hoped would “expand choice, increase access, lower costs and, at the same time, provide better health care.”

C5zlnN_WMAAyr2M.jpg

“I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding ObamaCare disaster,” said Trump. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Best Political Speech by an Entertainment Celebrity: Who Will Win? 

Forget the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the Emmys: the stars are all out for the Hollywood Awards. But who will take home the prize for Best Political Speech by an Entertainment Celebrity?

streep.jpg

Written and produced by Austin Bragg. Performed by Andrew Heaton and Austin Bragg

 

 


[VIDEO] Professor at NYU Protest Screams at Police, Demands They Attack Campus Speaker

video-professor-has-meltdown-over-conservative-event-at-nyu

“Who’s protecting NYU from this bullshit? Why are you here? You’re not here to protect these students from Nazis? No, you’re not! I’m a professor!” 

Alex Griswold reports:

…Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes‘ lecture at NYU was cancelled halfway through amid protests and violence. McInnes has a history of controversial and intentionally provocative statements, saying in the past that transphobia should be encouraged and that feminism makes women unhappy.

scream-queens-scream

Several disruptive students were arrested by police after McInnes was reportedly pepper-sprayed by a critic. But in video taken at the scene that went viral, the professor denounced police for arresting the students and demanded they attack McInnes.

Watch above, via YouTube (starting at around 10:07)

“Who’s protecting NYU from this bullshit?” she shouted. “Why are you here? You’re not here to protect these students from Nazis? No, you’re not!”

“How dare you assholes protect Neo-Nazis? Fuck you! Fuck you!” she shouted. “They’re trying to learn about human rights and against racism and xenophobia and LGBTQ rights and you’re letting these fucking Neo-Nazis near here!” Read the rest of this entry »


Seth Barron: ‘For Progressives, the Universe of Victims is Infinite’

borders-no

Trump v. the Border-less Left

Seth Barron writes: From illegal aliens who have committed crimes, to all immigrants, to “people of color” generally: the circle of Trump’s victims widens by orders of magnitude in de Blasio’s fantasy of total persecution. Even to ask a question about whether illegal aliens should be regarded in the same way as legal immigrants betrays an “ideological bent”; on the other hand, it is perfectly straightforward to read a legal challenge to sanctuary cities as all-out race war.

“The Left’s favorite cliché: ‘I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.'”

The mayor’s expansive definition of victimhood was echoed this weekend by Governor Cuomo, who repeated the Left’s favorite cliché: “I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.” This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word “I.”

refugees-welcome

“This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word ‘I’.”

Last Friday, Trump announced that he would extend and expand the visa restrictions that Obama established in the 2015 Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, impose a 90-day moratorium on travel from seven countries with links to organized terror, and put a halt to the Syrian-refugee resettlement program.

USA ELECTION AFTERMATH

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

These policies fulfill campaign promises and have been clearly stated as temporary measures in order to make sure that migrants are being accurately screened. Read the rest of this entry »


Self-Parody: The New Yorker Succumbs to Romantic Melodrama

nyekr-melodrama

“Under more ordinary circumstances, the cover of our Anniversary Issue—marking 92 years—would feature some version of the monocled dandy Eustace Tilley.

This year, as a response to the opening weeks of the Trump Administration, particularly the executive order on immigration, we feature John W. Tomac’s dark, unwelcoming image, ‘Liberty’s Flameout.’”

Source: The New Yorker

crying-dems

New Yorker editorial staff meeting

President Obama Laughs with Aides on Air Force OnelaughingSupremeIran's President Hassan Rouhani laughs as he speaks during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society in New York, September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Keith Bedford ( Who's laughing now?Obama-pointing-laughing


[VIDEO] Conversations with John McLaughlin

NYU Steinhardt Jazz Interview Series with Dr. David Schroeder interviews legendary guitarist, composer and bandleader John McLaughlin. December 5, 2016

McLaughlintourdates

 

 


[VIDEO] Lawmaker Wants Victims to be Able to Sue Sanctuary City Politicians

Ernest Luning reports: A Colorado Springs Republican wants victims of what he calls “sanctuary city policies” to be able to file lawsuits and lodge criminal complaints against the “lawless politicians” who put the policies in place.

dave-williams

State Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, is pictured before his election on July 1, 2016, at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver. (Photo by John Tomasic/The Colorado Statesman)

State Rep. Dave Williams said Monday he plans to introduce “The Colorado Politician Accountability Act” this week, legislation aimed at holding officials criminally liable for the “carnage” committed by some immigrants.

“If being a ‘sanctuary city’ means that we value taking care of one another and welcoming refugees and immigrants, then I welcome the title.”

“As the first Latino elected to Colorado House District 15,” said Williams, who was first elected to the heavily Republican district in November, in a statement, “I think it’s important that we do all we can to uphold the rule of law and ensure all communities, regardless of race or ethnicity, are protected from dangerous policies that are forced on us by radical, out-of-touch politicians who continually sell out to an unlawful agenda that increases the number of criminals, and needless deaths among our fellow citizens.”

“It’s beyond any reasonable thought as to why the Democrats, along with Mayor Hancock, would continue to not only act outside the law, which they swore to uphold but also enjoy immunity from their reckless decision to place Coloradans in danger because of the sanctuary city policies that they created and continue to implement.”

Announcing the bill, Williams took aim at Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who said in a video posted online Friday that he was fine with calling Denver a “sanctuary city.”

“If being a ‘sanctuary city’ means that we value taking care of one another and welcoming refugees and immigrants, then I welcome the title,” Hancock said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] How Hitchcock Got People To See ‘Psycho’

Alfred Hitchcock and Paramount present a guide to their revolutionary release of “Psycho” in this extended “press book on film” from the Academy Film Archive.

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[VIDEO] Week 8: Chick Corea & John McLaughlin Duet; RTF Meets Mahavishnu 

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The Greatest Jazz Birthday Party Ever. Chick Corea @ 75, Blue Note Jazz Club, NYC


It Has Been a Really Bad Week for Journalism

It has been a particularly embarrassing week for the press, and it’s only Saturday.

T. Becket Adams writes: For an industry that’s as disliked and distrusted as Congress, there’s a lot of work that media need to do to win back viewers’ trust.

There’s no room for error, especially now that there’s a subgenre of “news” that has zero basis in fact, and is created from thin air for the sole purpose of generating cash.

But learning to be more careful and even-handed is apparently difficult for much of media, and this week was especially rough for newsrooms that are already struggling to regain credibility.

In no particular order, here are some of the most embarrassing media moments from this week:

The New York Times’ unsubstantiated hit on Rick Perry:

The New York Times reported this week that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry agreed to be energy secretary without knowing the department oversees and maintains the country’s nuclear arsenal.

The story is written in such a way that Perry comes across as a bumbling bumpkin who’s in way over his head.

[Read the full story, at Washington Examiner]

The problem with the report – well, there are many problems – the main problem with the story is that it hinges entirely on a bland quote from a GOP energy lobbyist. That source, Michael McKenna, has disavowed the story, and he says the Times took him out of context.

Other problems with the article include that McKenna was booted from the Trump transition team in early November, while Perry was nominated in mid-December.

Nevertheless, the paper’s editors say they stand by the story, “which accurately reflected what multiple, high-level sources told our reporters.”

This is a particularly interesting defense, considering there is nothing in the article to suggest the authors had more than one source.

Bonus: USA Today falls for a parody Twitter account:

In my story this week on the Times’ unsubstantiated hit on Perry, I included a link to USA Today’s Dec. 14 report on the former governor accepting the position at the Department of Energy. I included the link for one purpose: To provide citation for Perry’s acceptance remarks, which were published originally in a joint statement with the president-elect.

What I didn’t notice until later was that the linked USA Today report also included a bogus reference to the North Koreans.

The Dec. 14 article read, “The Twitter feed of the nuclear-armed dictatorship said, ‘Donald Trump minister of nuclear weapons Richard Perry known as governor of Texas province, famed for its production of tacos and bumpkins.'”

Unfortunately for USA Today, the North Korean government did no such thing. Like many others in media, the widely circulated newspaper fell for a parody Twitter account created and maintained by members of the libertarian-leaning website, Popehat.com. I removed the USA Today hyperlink from my article debunking the Times, and I updated with a link to a source that doesn’t include an embarrassing mistake. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Inauguration Protests, Police Injured, 95 Arrested as Donald Trump Takes Office

CNN reports: A pair of police officers were injured and 95 protesters arrested after they smashed windows, damaged cars and threw rocks at police near Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony on Friday in Washington, D.C.

“We’re here to take a stand against the ideas that Trump spouted throughout the course of this campaign — sexism, Islamophobia, his bigotry and nationalism.”

— Protester Jed Holtz, from New York City

Two DC police officers and one other person were taken to the hospital for undetermined injuries after run-ins with protesters, DC Fire Spokesman Vito Maggiolo told CNN. The injuries are non-life threatening.

“I think Donald Trump is a fascist, and it’s very easy for people, especially people who are in pain, to slip into fascism.”

— Protester Lysander Reid-Powell, a 20-year-old student from New Mexico

After the swearing-in ceremony, demonstrators near 12th and K streets threw rocks and bottles at police, who were clad in riot gear and attempting to disperse the crowd. A large Demonstrators protest against US President-elect Donald Trump before his inauguration on January 20, 2017, in Washington, DC. number of police were on scene and used smoke and flash-bang devices to try to scatter the protesters.

Acting DC Police Chief Peter Newsham told CNN that there were several hundred protestors who were confronting police, while he praised the thousands of other demonstrators who behaved in a peaceful fashion to get their point across.

“We have been pointing out all along that this is a very isolated incident and by and large everything is going peacefully and a lot of folks have come to the city to enjoy this historic day, not only the Capitol but walking all around the city,” Newsham said.

In a statement earlier, the DC police said protesters “acting in a concerted effort engaged in acts of vandalism and several instances of destruction of property. More specifically, the A man is washed with water after being sprayed by police pepper spray during an anti-Trump demonstration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. group damaged vehicles, destroyed the property of multiple businesses, and ignited smaller isolated fires while armed with crowbars, hammers, and asps.”

Police said there had been 95 arrests as of 2 p.m.

“Pepper spray and other control devices were used to control the criminal actors and protect persons and property,” police said.

Earlier, a few blocks from the White House, demonstrators shattered building windows, vandalized police cars and other vehicles, and toppled news stands. One business owner told CNN there were as many as several hundred protesters who swept through the area, some dressed in black.

At one point, police used pepper spray as a group of protesters, many of them wearing masks, ran down 13th Street.

“I think Donald Trump is a fascist, and it’s very easy for people, especially people who are in pain, to slip into fascism,” said protester Lysander Reid-Powell, a 20-year-old student from New Mexico.

At one checkpoint, about 50 protesters sat down in the street in an attempt to block Trump supporters from entering a secure area to watch the swearing-in ceremony and speech. Not far away, a group of immigration backers staged a “pop up” protest near another check point.

“We’re here to take a stand against the ideas that Trump spouted throughout the course of this campaign — sexism, Islamophobia, his bigotry and nationalism,” said protester Jed Holtz, from New York City. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Fascinating 3D-Printed Light-Based Zoetrope by Akinori Goto 

Media artist Akinori Goto designed this fun 3d-printed zoetrope that when lit from the side reveals walking people. The piece was just on view at the Spiral Independent Creators Festival where it won both the Runner-up Grand Prix and the Audience Award. Video above from Tokyo Art Beat. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)

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sculpt-1 Read the rest of this entry »


Japanese Women See Aspirational Qualities in ‘De Facto First Lady’ Ivanka Trump

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Ayako Mie reports: Miyu Toyonaga was thrilled when she discovered who had visited her Instagram account last April. It was Ivanka Trump, her fashion icon, and she had liked a photo of Toyonaga with a leather clutch purse from Ivanka’s namesake brand.

“In a way I aspire to be like her. I would like to keep working even after I have a baby and have the option of living overseas.”

— 2012 Miss World Supermodel Japan

The 32-year-old Toyonaga, who works at the Tokyo office of an Australian commercial real estate firm, said she was struck by the elegant style and successful career of the model-turned-business executive when she first saw her Instagram pictures two or three years ago.

“In a way I aspire to be like her,” said the 2012 Miss World Supermodel Japan, who is preparing to set up a fashion e-commerce site like Ivanka. “I would like to keep working even after I have a baby and have the option of living overseas.”

Toyonaga’s views are unlikely to be embraced by those Americans still depressed about the stunning victory of her father, Donald Trump, in the U.S. presidential election in November.

Less than two weeks before he takes office, Ivanka has come under fire for her political ambitions and influence over the president-elect.

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“It goes without saying that she is very beautiful. But at the same time, she is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting…men too much. That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”

–Shinzato, who has been introducing Ivanka’s fashion and overall lifestyle on her blog and an online publication called 4yuuu!

Donald Trump’s favorite child is also rumored to be replacing her media-shy stepmother, Melania, as a de facto first lady, as the former Slovenian fashion model stays in New York while her husband moves into the White House this month.

But some 10,800 km away from her glamorous Upper East Side apartment, Ivanka might find more supporters like Toyonaga.

[read the full story here, at The Japan Times]

For some Japanese women who struggle to juggle demanding jobs as working professionals, mothers and wives, America’s next “first daughter” might offer her own “Ivanka-ism” or post-feminist wisdom on how to survive in a male-oriented society.

The suave fashion entrepreneur appears to have mastered a successful career and picture-perfect family life with a millionaire husband and three children, without launching an all-out feminist war against what her father represents — a white, male-dominated, capitalist system.

Yuriko Shinzato, 32, a freelance writer and mother of a 6-year-old girl, said she believed Ivanka was the opposite of failed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has often antagonized men in her efforts to climb the corporate and political ladder.

It was clear from her Instagram pictures, Shinzato said, that Instagram-savvy Ivanka marketed her image as a daughter, wife and mother, while finding success in her career.

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“It goes without saying that she is very beautiful,” said Shinzato, who has been introducing Ivanka’s fashion and overall lifestyle on her blog and an online publication called 4yuuu!

“But at the same time, she is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting . . . men too much.

“That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”

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Despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for tapping more female talent, the environment for female working professionals has not improved significantly in Japan.

There remains a massive shortage of nurseries, and incidents of pregnant women being harassed in the workplace still surface. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘You Are Fake News!’ Trump Confronts CNN’s Jim Acosta  

Game Change: After 8 years of Obama, the press is so used to passive-aggressive, they forgot what aggressive looks like.

With Trump looking to call on other reporters, Jim Acosta yelled out, “Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question?”

“Not you,” Trump said. “Your organization is terrible!”

Acosta pressed on, “You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?” Trump countered by telling him “don’t be rude.”

“I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump responded. “I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news!” Read the rest of this entry »


The Voices in Our Heads

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Why do people talk to themselves, and when does it become a problem?

Jerome Groopman writes: “Talking to your yogurt again,” my wife, Pam, said. “And what does the yogurt say?”

She had caught me silently talking to myself as we ate breakfast. A conversation was playing in my mind, with a research colleague who questioned whether we had sufficient data to go ahead and publish. Did the experiments in the second graph need to be repeated? The results were already solid, I answered. But then, on reflection, I agreed that repetition could make the statistics more compelling.

“Fernyhough concludes that ‘dialogic inner speech must therefore involve some capacity to represent the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the people with whom we share our world.’ This raises the fascinating possibility that when we talk to ourselves a kind of split takes place, and we become in some sense multiple: it’s not a monologue but a real dialogue.”

I often have discussions with myself—tilting my head, raising my eyebrows, pursing my lips—and not only about my work. I converse with friends and family members, tell myself jokes, replay dialogue from the past. I’ve never considered why I talk to myself, and I’ve never mentioned it to anyone, except Pam. She very rarely has inner conversations; the one instance is when she reminds herself to do something, like change her e-mail password. She deliberately translates the thought into an external command, saying out loud, “Remember, change your password today.”

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Verbal rehearsal of material—the shopping list you recite as you walk the aisles of a supermarket—is part of our working memory system. But for some of us talking to ourselves goes much further: it’s an essential part of the way we think. Others experience auditory hallucinations, verbal promptings from voices that are not theirs but those of loved ones, long-departed mentors, unidentified influencers, their conscience, or even God.

“Verbal rehearsal of material—the shopping list you recite as you walk the aisles of a supermarket—is part of our working memory system. But for some of us talking to ourselves goes much further: it’s an essential part of the way we think.”

Charles Fernyhough, a British professor of psychology at Durham University, in England, studies such “inner speech.” At the start of “The Voices Within” (Basic), he also identifies himself as a voluble self-speaker, relating an incident where, in a crowded train on the London Underground, he suddenly became self-conscious at having just laughed out loud at a talking-to-self1-e1347939363331nonsensical sentence that was playing in his mind. He goes through life hearing a wide variety of voices: “My ‘voices’ often have accent and pitch; they are private and only audible to me, and yet they frequently sound like real people.”

[Read the full story here, at The New Yorker]

Fernyhough has based his research on the hunch that talking to ourselves and hearing voices—phenomena that he sees as related—are not mere quirks, and that they have a deeper function. His book offers a chatty, somewhat inconclusive tour of the subject, making a case for the role of inner speech in memory, sports performance, religious revelation, psychotherapy, and literary fiction. He even coins a term, “dialogic thinking,” to describe his belief that thought itself may be considered “a voice, or voices, in the head.”

Discussing experimental work on voice-hearing, Fernyhough describes a protocol devised by Russell Hurlburt, a psychologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A subject wears an earpiece and a beeper sounds at random intervals. As soon as the person hears the beep, she jots notes about what was in her mind at that moment. People in a variety of studies have reported a range of perceptions: many have experienced “inner speech,” though Fernyhough doesn’t specify what proportion. For some, it was a full back-and-forth conversation, for others a more condensed script of short phrases or keywords. The results of another study suggest that, on average, about twenty to twenty-five per cent of the waking day is spent in self-talk. But some people never experienced inner speech at all.

“People in a variety of studies have reported a range of perceptions: many have experienced ‘inner speech,’ though Fernyhough doesn’t specify what proportion. For some, it was a full back-and-forth conversation, for others a more condensed script of short phrases or keywords. The results of another study suggest that, on average, about twenty to twenty-five per cent of the waking day is spent in self-talk. But some people never experienced inner speech at all.”

In his work at Durham, Fernyhough participated in an experiment in which he had an inner conversation with an old teacher of his while his brain was imaged by fMRI scanning. Naturally, the scan showed activity in parts of the left hemisphere associated with language. Among the other brain regions that were activated, however, were some associated with our interactions with other people. Fernyhough concludes that “dialogic inner speech must therefore involve some 613wsutwypl-_sl250_capacity to represent the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the people with whom we share our world.” This raises the fascinating possibility that when we talk to ourselves a kind of split takes place, and we become in some sense multiple: it’s not a monologue but a real dialogue.

[Order Charles Fernyhough’s book “The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves” from Amazon.com]

Early in Fernyhough’s career, his mentors told him that studying inner speech would be fruitless. Experimental psychology focusses on things that can be studied in laboratory situations and can yield clear, reproducible results. Our perceptions of what goes on in our heads are too subjective to quantify, and experimental psychologists tend to steer clear of the area.

Fernyhough’s protocols go some way toward working around this difficulty, though the results can’t be considered dispositive. Being prompted to enter into an inner dialogue in an fMRI machine is not the same as spontaneously debating with oneself at the kitchen table. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Blue Note: Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Victor Wooten & Lenny White

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Chick Corea concluded his 75th birthday celebration with two performances at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York, NY. Corea booked a total of 80 shows at the Blue Note for this birthday residency, though the ones last weekend were among the most coveted.
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Corea was joined by a legendary group of musicians, including guitarist John McLaughlin, bassist Victor Wootenand drummer Lenny White. Read the rest of this entry »


‘PLOT AGAINST MARIAH’: New York Post Cover for January 2, 2017 

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Source: New York Post


Heather Mac Donald: Trump Can End the War on Cops

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The Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald writes: Stop treating police as racist and pushing lower hiring standards as a way to achieve ‘diversity.’

Heather Mac Donald writes: Donald Trump’s promise to restore law and order to America’s cities was one of the most powerful themes of his presidential campaign. His capacity to deliver will depend on changing destructive presidential rhetoric about law enforcement and replacing the federal policies that flowed from that rhetoric.

“Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has imposed an unprecedented number of federal consent decrees on police agencies, subjecting those agencies to years of costly federal monitoring, based on a specious methodology for teasing out alleged systemic police bias.”

The rising violence in many urban areas is driven by what candidate Trump called a “false narrative” about policing. This narrative holds that law enforcement is pervaded by racism, and that we are experiencing an epidemic of racially biased police shootings of black men.

SEAFORD, NY - MAY 08: The hearse carrying the casket for fallen New York City police officer Brian Moore leaves a Long Island church on May 8, 2015 in Seaford, New York. Officer Moore died last Monday after being shot in the head while on duty two days earlier in Queens. The 25-year-old officer and his partner stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun when the man opened fire on them. As many as 30,000 police officers from across the United States payed their respects at the Long Island funeral. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

SEAFORD, NY: The hearse carrying the casket for fallen New York City police officer Brian Moore leaves a Long Island church on May 8, 2015 in Seaford, New York. Officer Moore died last Monday after being shot in the head while on duty two days earlier in Queens. The 25-year-old officer and his partner stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun when the man opened fire on them. As many as 30,000 police officers from across the United States payed their respects at the Long Island funeral. (Photo – Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Multiple studies have shown that those claims are untrue. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. Yet President Obama has repeatedly accused the police and criminal-justice system of discrimination, lethal and otherwise. During the memorial service for five Dallas police officers gunned down in July by an assassin who reportedly was inspired by Black Lives Matter, Mr. Obama announced 41rc4fb5lil-_sl250_that black parents were right to “fear that something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door”—that the child will be fatally shot by a cop.

[Order Heather Mac Donald’s book “The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe” from Amazon.com]

The consequences of such presidential rhetoric are enormous, especially when amplified by the media. Officers working in high-crime areas now encounter a dangerous level of hatred and violent resistance. Gun murders of officers are up 68% this year compared with the same period last year.

“The department assumes that police activity like stops or arrests will be evenly spread across different racial and ethnic populations unless there is police racism. So if police stops are higher among blacks, say, the police, according to this reasoning, must be motivated by bias.”

Police have cut way back on pedestrian stops and public-order enforcement in minority neighborhoods, having been told repeatedly that such discretionary activities are racially oppressive. The result in 2015 was the largest national homicide increase in nearly 50 years. That shooting spree has continued this year, ruthlessly mowing down children and senior citizens in many cities, along with the usual toll of young black men who are the primary targets of gun crime.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

To begin to reverse these trends, President Trump must declare that the executive branch’s ideological war on cops is over. The most fundamental necessity of any society is adherence to the rule of law, he should say. Moreover, there is no government agency today more dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter than the police.

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“But this analysis ignores the large racial differences in offending and victimization rates. Policing today is data-driven: Cops go where innocent civilians are most being preyed upon—and that is in minority neighborhoods. Under a Trump administration, police activity should be evaluated against a benchmark of crime, not population ratios.”

The nationwide policing revolution that originated in New York City in 1994—based on proactive enforcement—saved thousands of minority lives over 20 years, and provided urban residents with newfound freedom. While police agencies and their local overseers must remain vigilant against officer abuses, the federal government will no longer deem cops racist for responding to community demands for public order.

Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has imposed an unprecedented number of federal consent decrees on police agencies, subjecting those agencies to years of costly federal monitoring, based on a specious methodology for teasing out alleged systemic police bias. The department assumes that police activity like stops or arrests will be evenly spread across different racial and ethnic populations unless there is police racism. So if police stops are higher among blacks, say, the police, according to this reasoning, must be motivated by bias. Read the rest of this entry »


FAKENEWSAMAGGEDON: Yasmin Seweid’s Hijab Hate Hoax Vexes New York Daily News

seweid-daily-news

Baruch College student Yasmin Seweid, we now know, was not herself the victim of a hate crime. She made it all up. But by telling the tale of her attack by men shouting “Trump,” ripping at her hijab, while a trainful of New Yorkers sat silent, she victimized many others.

hijab-hoax-nydn

First on the list: the New York Police Department, which spent precious resources chasing a fabricated assault. Cops tried to track down witnesses — there were none. They reviewed video for clues — there were none.

[ALSO SEE – Look At This Chilling Picture Of Yasmin Seweid, The Day After Her Arrest – redstate.com]

Next: her fellow New Yorkers, who did not in fact stand idly by while watching a woman be attacked because of her faith. We are not the city of Kitty Genovese; that story of passive witness to horror, so many years ago, was itself a myth. But the image persists that New Yorkers are a can’t-be-bothered-even-if-you’re-in-danger lot. It’s a lie.

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Count among the wronged President-elect Donald Trump, who did not inspire three drunk men to home in on a vulnerable target who looked different from them. Read the rest of this entry »


What Happens When You Don’t Mix The Obama Kool Aid With Water, and Eat the Powder Directly from the Package

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Andrew Sullivan’s Most Insane Quotes About Obama From the New Republic Interview

Read it here.

Source: freebeacon.com


Bidding War? What Bidding War? 

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Stephen Battaglio reports: Megyn Kelly’s bestselling memoir is called “Settle for More,” but the star anchor may have to settle for less money if she decides to leave the Fox News Channel.

Kelly is said to have not made up her mind about staying with Fox News beyond the end of her contract in July, even with an offer of more than $20 million a year to stay, which would put her in the same income bracket as NBC’s “Today” co-anchor Matt Lauer.

“Katie Couric is the perfect example of how her success at the ‘Today’ show never transferred to anyplace else. And that happens with most people.”

So far no other networks have offered to top Fox’s figure, according to network news executives and agents familiar with the talks and who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. A spokesperson for Creative Artists Agency, which represents Kelly, declined to comment on her contract negotiations.

Kelly’s future is being closely watched. She is the first breakout talent in the TV news business in recent years, becoming an even bigger name in the aftermath of her showdown with President-elect Donald Trump at the first Republican primary debate in 2015.

In an earlier era, her availability likely would have commanded a bidding war. But in a fragmented media environment where there are no longer surefire ratings hits, networks are cautious about making major financial commitments. Read the rest of this entry »


James Grant Explains ‘The Forgotten Depression’

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Mr. Grant confronts the subjectivity of economic measurement head-on in his book in an enlightening discussion of whether the 1921 depression was, in fact, a depression at all.

The Forgotten Depression: 1921 — The Crash That Cured Itself, by James Grant, Simon & Schuster, 2014.

Joseph Calandro Jr. writes: To better understand the current economic environment, financial analyst, historian, journalist, and value investor James forgottendepressionGrant, who is informed by both Austrian economics and the value investing theory of the late Benjamin Graham, analyzes the Depression of 1920–1921 in his latest work, The Forgotten Depression: 1921 — The Crash That Cured Itself.

[Order James Grant’s book “The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself from Amazon.com]

Grant understands that despite the pseudo-natural science veneer of mainstream economics the fact remains that economic value is inherently subjective and thus economic measurement is also subjective. Mr. Grant confronts the subjectivity of economic measurement head-on in his book in an enlightening discussion of whether the 1921 depression was, in fact, a depression at all.

Was It a Depression?

Grant concludes it was a depression, but mainstream economist Christine Romer, for example, concludes it was not a depression. As Grant observes, Ms. “Romer, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, presented her research, titled ‘World War I and the Postwar Depression,’ in a 1988 essay in the Journal of Monetary EconomicsThe case she made for discarding one set of GNP estimates for another is highly technical. But the lay reader may be struck by the fact that neither the GNP data she rejected, nor the ones she preferred, were compiled in the moment. Rather, each set was constructed some 30 to 40 years after the events it was intended to document” (p. 68).

In contrast, Mr. Grant surveys economic activity as it existed prior to and during 1920–21 and as it was evaluated during those times. Therefore, five pages into chapter 5 of his book, which is titled “A Depression in Fact,” we read that:

A 1920 recession turned into a 1921 depression, according to [Wesley Clair] Mitchell, whose judgment, as a historian, business-cycle theorist and contemporary observer, is probably as reliable as anyone’s. This was no mere American dislocation but a global depression ensnaring nearly all the former Allied Powers (the defeated Central Powers suffered a slump of their own in 1919). “Though the boom of 1919, the crisis of 1920 and the depression of 1921 followed the patterns of earlier cycles,” wrote Mitchell, “we have seen how much this cycle was influenced by economic conditions resulting from the war and its sudden ending. … If American business men were betrayed by postwar demands into unwise courses, so were all business men in all countries similarly situated.”

So depression it was … (p. 71)

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Interestingly, there are a variety of similarities between “The Forgotten Depression” of 1921 and “The Great Recession” of 2007–2008. For example:

  • War finance (the currency debasement and credit expansion associated with funding war) has long been associated with economic distortion including World War I, which preceded “The Forgotten Depression.” Such distortions unfortunately continue to the present day.
  • Scandal is also associated with booms and busts; for example, the boom preceding “The Forgotten Depression” had Charles Ponzi while the boom preceding “The Great Recession” had Bernie Madoff.
  • The booms preceding both financial disruptions also saw governmental banking regulators not doing a very good job of regulating the banks under their supervision.
  • Citibank famously fell under significant distress in both events.
  • Both eras had former professors of Princeton University in high-ranking governmental positions: Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States at the beginning of “The Forgotten Depression” while Ben Bernanke was chairman of the Fed during “The Great Recession.”
  • On the practitioner-side, value investor Benjamin Graham profited handsomely from the distressed investments that he made during “The Forgotten Depression” while his best known student, Warren Buffett, profited from the distressed investments that he made during “The Great Recession.”

The Crash That Cured Itself

Despite similarities, there are noteworthy differences between these two financial events. Foremost among the differences is the reason why “The Forgotten Depression” has, in fact, been forgotten: the government did nothing to stop it. Not only were interest rates not lowered and public money not spent, but interest rates were actually raised and debt paid down. The context behind these actions is fascinating and superbly told and analyzed by Mr. Grant. Read the rest of this entry »


What Will Become of White House Tech’s Juicebox Mafia? 

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Obama-era techies weigh staying under Trump

An impassioned debate is raging among software engineers, designers and other techies as to whether they want to stay in Washington under Donald Trump.

While some high-ranking tech staffers in the federal ranks say they’re not going anywhere, others worry that staying could put them in a tough spot, especially if the new administration asks them to work on projects at odds with their values.

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It’s “a brutal line for some of us to walk,” said one senior tech specialist in the federal government, who would only speak without being named. The specialist said staffers are caught between “serving the public in ways that are obviously still very much needed,” versus “serving a person — and a ‘regime’ — who, for some of us, is fundamentally disrespectful of our existence.”

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“The arguments are really clear,” says Anil Dash, a New York City entrepreneur whose commentary is widely followed in the tech industry. “The one side is, ‘You came to serve and there’s still a need.’ The other is, ‘Do we legitimize this administration?'”

[Read the full story here, at POLITICO]

Dash says he has stopped recommending that people in tech join the U.S. Digital Service, but that he also sees little upside to those already on the federal payroll leaving now.

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People open to staying include Rob Cook, a former Pixar executive who just three weeks ago began a three-year appointment as the head of the Technology Transformation Service, a branch of the General Services Administration created this summer to reinvent how the federal government buys and builds technology. “If it’s important, it’s important for all administrations,” Cook says.

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Cook’s view that civil servants serve regardless of who occupies the Oval Office has its adherents. But among the rank and file in the federal tech service, conversations are swirling. They’re weighing whether those who joined the Obama administration to apply the thinking of the so-called civic tech movement — the idea that modern digital tools can create a government more responsive to citizens — would be guilty of aiding a president whose policies and politics many of them utterly oppose.

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Obama created the Digital Service as what he called a tech “SWAT team” after being burned by the failed launch of HealthCare.gov. He has tapped that team of technology experts to execute some of his policy priorities, such as making it easier for would-be immigrants to the U.S. to track their applications online. Read the rest of this entry »


David Marcus: What Happened When A Brooklyn Store Played ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

Upscale progressives have gotten used to tuning out the voice of the Trump voter. But there’s an America out there that they can no longer ignore.

 writes: Three days after the election, my wife and I were shopping at the . For those unfamiliar with it, Fairway is a less corporate, more co-op version of Whole Foods, offering pretty produce and exotic cheeses that don’t come cheap. The mood in the store was glum. As in most of Brooklyn, people stared ahead, moving slowly, still in shock from the political earthquake of Tuesday night.

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After getting our Brazilian Arabica ground for drip (I know, I should really use a French Press), Libby and I walked towards the organic maple syrup. That’s when it started. I suppose there had been music playing in the store, but I hadn’t noticed until a familiar guitar lick pierced the air and a soft voice said, “Turn it up.”

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Source: blog.fairwaymarket.com

“A woman in her fifties, wearing a Love Trump Hates button, turned to her Brooklyn-bearded husband and said loudly, ‘This is unbelievable!’ She found the nearest store clerk, a young woman in a green apron who was staring up at the ceiling, looking for the invisible speakers blaring this message from the other America. ‘This is so inappropriate,’ the woman said. ‘Can we turn this off?'”

Libby and I both stopped and looked at each other. “Seriously?” said my wife, a very disappointed Clinton supporter. She started gripping her soft Tomme Crayeuse a little too hard. By the time Ronnie Van Zant’s drawl started in with “Big wheels keep on turnin’,” everyone in the store was standing in shock.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Brows were furrowed, people mumbled to each other. The song seemed to get louder as one of those New York moments happened, when everyone was thinking the exact the same thing.

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“Cafés turned into phone banks, where you could buy a croissant and make a few calls to flyover country. Buttons, banners, and bumper stickers were everywhere…As the election grew near, confidence was overflowing.”

A woman in her fifties, wearing a Love Trump Hates button, turned to her Brooklyn-bearded husband and said loudly, “This is unbelievable!” She found the nearest store clerk, a young woman in a green apron who was staring up at the ceiling, looking for the invisible speakers blaring this message from the other America. “This is so inappropriate,” the woman said. “Can we turn this off?”

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The City of Homes, Cafés, and Clinton

Brooklyn was the epicenter of the Clinton campaign. Throughout the summer and fall in Brooklyn Heights, you could see young staffers near the campaign headquarters: expensive coffee in hand, eyes bright, ready to tackle the future. Read the rest of this entry »