Advertisements

Ben Shapiro: 7 Things You Need To Know About The Charlottesville Violence And White Supremacist Terror Attack

Ben Shapiro writes: In the aftermath of Saturday’s Charlottesville, Virginia chaos — a physically violent conflict between disgusting white supremacist alt-right thugs and repulsive Antifa thugs, which culminated in a murderous attack by an apparent alt-righter on the Antifa crowd and other miscellaneous counter-protesters, resulting in the death of one person and injuries to another 19 — the hot takes have been coming fast and furious.

Here are some of the things you need to know about the awful events of yesterday.

1. The Alt-Right Is Not Conservative. One of the hottest takes from the Left is that the alt-right represents the entire right — that what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia represented conservatives broadly. That’s factually incorrect, and intellectually dishonest. The alt-right is not just conservatives who like memes or who dislike Paul Ryan. The alt-right is a philosophy of white supremacy and white nationalism espoused by the likes of Vox Day, Richard Spencer, and Jared Taylor.

Here’s Jared Taylor explaining the alt-right:

They openly acknowledge their antipathy for the Constitution and conservatism; they believe that strong centralized government is necessary to preserve “white civilization.” They label all their enemies “cucks” — men in favor of “race-mixing.” Here’s a solid guide to what the alt-right actually thinks.

2. The Alt-Right Has Successfully Created The Impression There Are Lots Of Them. There Aren’t. Thanks to the hard work of alt-right apologists like Milo Yiannopoulos, the widespread perception has been created that the alt-right is a movement on the rise, with a fast-increasing number of devotees. The media have glommed onto the alt-right in order to smear the entire conservative movement with it. The alt-right is quite active online — according to the Anti-Defamation League, I was their top journalistic target in 2016, and I received nearly 8,000 anti-Semitic tweets during the election cycle — but they aren’t particularly large. They fill up comments sections at sites like Breitbart, and they email spam, and they prank call people, and they live on 4chan boards, but the vast majority of alt-right anti-Semitic tweets came from just 1,600 accounts.

Thanks, however, to their online vociferousness, they convinced members of the Trump campaign, apparently including the president, that it was important not to knock them.

3. The Alt-Right Has Been Tut-Tutted By President Trump And His Advisors For Over A Year. Yesterday Was Nothing New. President Trump’s initial response to the attack in Charlottesville made no mention of the alt-right or white supremacy or even of racism. He simply stated, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

OH YES HE DID: Nebraska Democrat Party Official FIRED After Being Caught On Tape Wishing Scalise was Dead 

FIRED-DEM.jpg

“This motherf—er, his whole job is like to get people, convince Republicans to f—ing kick people off f—ing healthcare. I’m glad he got shot.”

Josh Delk reports: An official appointed by the Nebraska Democratic Party was ousted by the state party chairwoman on Thursday after the discovery of a recording in which he allegedly celebrated the shooting of a U.S. House Republican.

In the recording, posted without context on an advocacy site, the official, Phil Montag, is referring to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) when he says, “This motherf—er, his whole job is like to get people, convince Republicans to f—ing kick people off f—ing healthcare. I’m glad he got shot.”

DEM-FI.jpg

[ALSO SEE – Caught On Tape: Democrat Official Says He’s Glad Steve Scalise Got Shot]

Montag did not deny that the voice in the recording is his but said he believed it had been edited to take his words out of context.

Nebraska Democratic Chairwoman Jane Kleeb fired Montag, voluntary co-chairman of the party’s technology committee, as soon as she heard the incriminating recording. Kleeb told the Omaha World-Herald that her report to the police about the conversation was out of concern that it represented a possible death threat.

“This is the first I am hearing of this,” Kleeb said by email to the paper. “As soon as I heard it, I sent it to the [party] officers and then sent an email to Phil Montag, informing him I am removing him from his appointed position as co-chair of the Technology Committee.”
Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES HE DID: Politico Reporter Trots Out Bogus Steve Scalise ‘Racial Issues’ Following Shooting

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., did not deliver a speech to a white supremacist group. Instead, he attended a separate, fiscal policy event in the same hotel. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., did not deliver a speech to a white supremacist group. Instead, he attended a separate, fiscal policy event in the same hotel. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Becket Adams writes: Remember when Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was the victim of a bogus news cycle alleging he once played footsie with white supremacists?

We do.

That debunked story from 2014 was resurrected very briefly Wednesday morning not long after it was reported that Scalise, who serves now as the House majority whip, and others were shot in Alexandria, Va., as they practiced for the upcoming congressional baseball game.

News of the shooting dominated headlines and newsrooms all morning as members of Congress halted everything to comment and grieve on the matter.

Here’s how Politico’s John Bresnahan‏ described one particular moment in Congress: “Members surrounding [House Speaker Paul Ryan] on the floor, including [Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La.], who helped Scalise out when he had problems over racial issues.”

Ah, no. The supposed issue to which Bresnahan referred is not what it sounds like. That is, he made it sound a lot worse than it really is.

For the unfamiliar, “racial issues” is an irresponsibly vague reference to a moment in 2014 when Scalise was accused of having once delivered an address as an “honored guest” to a conference of white supremacists.

The rumor originated with a blogger named Lamar White, whose main source was a comment thread at a neo-Nazi website, and it soon spread to major newsrooms, including The Washington Post and Politico. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Power of the Prosecutor: A Reason Discussion

Lauren Krisai, John Pfaff, and Ken White discuss the power of prosecutors in the criminal justice system, how prosecutors​ ​have ​serve​d​ as barriers to meaningful ​criminal justice​ reform, and whether an influx of forward-looking district attorneys could change the status quo.

“There is no evidence that an individual DA in his office is any more punitive today than he was in 1974,” explains John Pfaff, author of Locked in: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform. “We just have 30,000 of them instead of 17,000 even though the crime rate is roughly the same as it was in 1974. They’ve got to do something. They can’t just play minesweeper all day and keep their jobs.”

On May 25th, 2017, at Reason’s Washington, D.C. office, Reason hosted a panel discussion with Pfaff and Ken White, former assistant United States attorney and co-founder of the blog Popehat. Moderated by Lauren Krisai, director of Criminal Justice Reform at the Reason Foundation, the discussion touched on the power of prosecutors in the criminal justice system, how prosecutors​ ​have ​serve​d​ as barriers to meaningful ​criminal justice​ reform, and whether an influx of forward-looking district attorneys could change the status quo. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson: Ken Burns’ America Thomas Jefferson Documentary


Michael Barone: Looking for Fascism in America? Look Left, on Campus

Michael Barone writes: Something like that is happening now — but the violence is coming from leftists, not Trumpists. Take the University of California, Berkeley, [long pause] please. That’s where a speech to the Young Republicans by rightist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was shut down by a screaming mob on February 1, as this eyewitness account from Power Line’s Steven Hayward records. Not only was the speech shut down, but gangs of ski-masked and bandana-wearing protesters roamed the streets just off campus with sledgehammers, smashing ATM machines. In one instance, Hayward reports, a 62-year-old Republican who voted for Hillary Clinton held up a sign reading “1st Amendment Protects All Speech” and, on the obverse side, “Even Milo’s” was punched in the nose and dropped to the ground.

Where were the police? Not in a position to help—by design. In this “lethal, horror situation,” said University of California Berkeley campus police chief Margo Bennett, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We have to do exactly what we did last night: to show tremendous restraint.”

[Order Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”  from Amazon]

They made just one arrest. As for City of Berkeley police, according to the San Francisco Chronicle they came equipped with riot gear, but “as the violence escalated, officers pulled back.” Police on a balcony ordered rioters to disperse, but made no move to stop them, supposedly to prevent injury to “innocent protesters and bystanders.” City police made no arrests. “Our primary objective with the resources we had was the protection of life.” Read the rest of this entry »


Inauguration Crowd Size: Headline Correction

crowdsize

President Donald Trump told the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at their headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on Saturday that he is engaged in “a running war” with the “dishonest media.”

Source: Breitbart


Jury finds Reporter, Rolling Stone Responsible for Defaming University of Virginia Dean with Fictionalized ‘Gang Rape’ story 

Deliberations about ‘A Rape on Campus’ spanned three days.

T. Rees Shapiro reports: A federal court jury decided Friday that a Rolling Stone journalist defamed a former University of Virginia associate dean in a 2014 magazine article about sexual assault on campus that included a debunked account of a fraternity gang rape.

rollingstone

The 10-member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was responsible for defamation, with actual malice, in the case brought by Nicole Eramo, a U-Va. administrator who oversaw sexual violence cases at the time of the article’s publication. The jury also found the magazine and its parent company, Wenner Media, responsible for defaming Eramo, who has said her life’s work helping sexual assault victims was devastated as a result of Rolling Stone’s article and its aftermath.

spiked-RollingStone

The lawsuit centered on Erdely’s 9,000-word article titled “A Rape on Campus,” which appeared online in late November 2014 and on newsstands in the magazine’s December 2014 issue. Opening with a graphic depiction of a fraternity gang rape, the story caused an immediate sensation at a time of heightened awareness of campus sexual assault, going viral online and ripping through the U-Va. community.

UVa Fraternity

But within days of the article’s publication, key elements of the account fell apart under scrutiny, including the narrative’s shocking allegation of a fraternity gang rape. The magazine eventually retracted the story in April 2015, and Eramo’s lawsuit came a month later, alleging that the magazine’s portrayal of her as callous and dismissive of rape reports on campus was untrue and unfair.

University of Virginia administrator Nicole Eramo leaves federal court after closing arguments in her defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine on Tuesday in Charlottesville. (Steve Helber/AP)

The jurors reached a verdict Friday after deliberating across three days. Eramo has asked for $7.5 million in damages but now, following the verdict, can argue for a different amount. The argument for damages is scheduled to begin Monday.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

Regardless of potential damages, the verdict showed the jury’s willingness to slam a major media outlet for the impact of getting a story wrong. Originally hailed as a brave triumph of reporting for its raw accounts of rape and attempts at bringing accountability to a storied public university, the article led to protests of the U-Va. administration, vandalism of a campus fraternity and outrage among activists trying to prevent sexual assault. Once its flaws were exposed, the article’s deeper message of the effects of campus rape — a pervasive national problem — was lost amid the allegations of shoddy reporting. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] North Korean Propaganda Video Depicts Nuclear Strike on Washington 

SEOUL, South Korea — Choe Sang-Hun reports: North Korea released a propaganda video on Saturday that depicts a nuclear strike on Washington, along with a warning to “American imperialists” not to provoke the North.

The four-minute video clip, titled “Last Chance,” uses computer animation to show what looks like an intercontinental ballistic missile flying through the earth’s atmosphere before slamming into Washington, near what appears to be the Lincoln Memorial. A nuclear explosion follows.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People's Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People’s Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

“If the American imperialists provoke us a bit, we will not hesitate to slap them with a pre-emptive nuclear strike,” read the Korean subtitles in the video, which was uploaded to the YouTube channel of D.P.R.K. Today, a North Korean website. “The United States must choose! It’s up to you whether the nation called the United States exists on this planet or not.”

Such remarks are in line with recent threats and assertions from North Korea about its nuclear and missile capabilities. Read the rest of this entry »


Adorar a la Reina! Michelle Obama’s Floral Outfits Cost 23x Annual Salary in Cuba

Raul Castro, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama

 reports: The two floral dresses that first lady Michelle Obama sported in Cuba this week would not be affordable for the wide majority of individuals living in the repressive country.

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

US Weekly recently spotlighted two outfits that Obama wore during appearances in Havana on Sunday and Monday that, according to a Free Beacon analysis, together cost more than 23 times the average annual state salary in Cuba recorded in 2014.

michelle-obama-toast-AFP

When the president and his family landed in Cuba Sunday, the first lady descended Air Force One wearing a sleeveless, rose-print dress made by designer Carolina Herrera. The dress is currently sold for $2,190 at Bergdorf Goodman, an upscale department store. Read the rest of this entry »


President Obama Makes Good On Pledge to Boost Weapon Sales, Enrich Gun Industry

gun-sales-obama-record

 reports: The FBI processed a record number of firearms-related background checks last year, indicating that more guns were sold in 2015 than in any previous year in American history.

“A day has not gone by without a major media assault on gun rights or an Obama administration call for new additional restrictions on gun ownership.”

More than 23 million checks were processed through the National Instant Background Check System in 2015, an all-time record.

 “Americans have voted with their dollars and bought record levels of guns and ammunition.”

— Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation.

The all-time record for yearly sales comes after May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December 2015 each set sales records for their respective months. In December the FBI conducted 3,314,594 checks, an increase of more than half a million checks over the previous single-month record set in December 2012.

CX64SZOWYAAz5Xw

The number of FBI background checks is widely considered to be the most reliable gauge of how many firearms were sold in a given month because background checks are required on all sales made through federally licensed firearms dealers. However, the checks do not provide an exhaustive representation of gun sales. Checks are not required on sales between private parties in most states, and a single background check may cover the purchase of multiple firearms by the same person at once.

obamagunsalesmanoftheyear

Additionally, some states perform the checks on those who apply for gun-carry permits.

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

[Also see – President Obama Has Let His Emotion Get the Better of His Judgment, at by Charles C.W.Cooke, National Review Online]

The record gun sales came as Democrats moved to implement new gun control measures at the federal, state, and local levels. Hillary Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that the Supreme Court’s decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller gun rights case was “wrong” and she and President Barack Obama praised Australian-style gun confiscation. Read the rest of this entry »


Democrats to Attend Prayer Service at Radical Mosque

 reports: Democratic lawmakers are planning to attend prayer services at a Washington-area mosque that has been accused of acting as a front for Hamas and that served as the home of terrorist spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who reportedly mentored two of the 9/11 hijackers.

“That Democrats in the name of tolerance and diversity are mainstreaming extremists like this is inherently damaging to the Muslim community.”

On the heels of a deadly mass shooting by two Muslim individuals in San Bernardino, California, a group of Democratic lawmakers said they would attend Friday prayer services at the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque in Virginia, which has been linked to the financing of terrorists and where al-Awlaki served as the spiritual leader.

“These same folks just yesterday wanted to take away the Second Amendment rights of those on the terror watch list, and now they want to embrace a mosque that we know from FOIAs was on the terror watch list. Unbelievable.”

— Patrick Poole, a terrorism analyst and national security reporter

The Democrats set to attend include Reps. Don Beyer (D., Va.), Joseph Crowley (D., N.Y.), Betty McCollum (D., Minn.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D., D.C.), and several Virginia state lawmakers, according to the New York Times.

Beyer told the Times that the visit could help diffuse tensions with the Muslim community in the wake of the San Bernardino attack and the recent terrorist massacre in Paris.

“After Paris and after the House resolution a few weeks ago, we just thought it was really important to continue to reiterate to the many, many peace-loving Muslim Americans that they were still a welcome part of our community,” Bayer said.

“A founding member of Dar al-Hijrah, Ismail Elbarasse, also has been accused of working for Hamas’s top leadership. The FBI accused Elbarasse of wiring $735,000 to a Hamas operative in 2004, according to the Investigative Project.”

The accused attackers in San Bernardino reportedly pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State before carrying out the rampage.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Free Beacon]

Al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, began service as Dar al-Hijrah’s imam in January 2001. He is accused of acting as a key recruiter for al Qaeda and as serving as a spiritual adviser for those aligned with the terror group.

Treasury Department records have indicated that, in the past, Dar al-Hijrah acted “as a front for Hamas operatives in U.S.,” and was at one point “associated with Islamic extremists,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »


Saturn: On October 27, 1961

tumblr_nwy801fqLT1rsjtoco1_540

On October 27, 1961, the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Nation marked a high point in the 3-year-old Saturn development program when the first Saturn vehicle flew a flawless 215-mile ballistic trajectory from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The 162-foot-tall rocket weighed 925,000 pounds and employed a dummy second stage.


Byron York: Have Republicans Hit Rock Bottom? No, It Could Actually Get a Lot Worse

cannot-be

yorkByron York writes: Yes, the House Republican conference is stunned and confused after the withdrawal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., from the speaker’s race. But is it any more stunned and confused than it was exactly two years ago, when the government was partially shut down amid bitter House GOP infighting over Obamacare? Or a year ago, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suffered a mind-blowing defeat in a GOP primary election?

“Things could get worse. There’s certainly no reason to believe they will get better anytime soon.”

The fact is, the chaos plaguing Republicans in the House has been building for a long time. It’s no wonder some GOP lawmakers are reportedly weeping in the Capitol.

Not long after announcing his withdrawal, McCarthy was asked by National Review Online whether House Republicans are, at the moment, ungovernable. “I don’t know,” he said. “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom.” Read the rest of this entry »


340 Sanctuaries Release 9,295 Criminals

 map

View Map in Full Screen – View Image of Map – View Sanctuary Cities Topic Page

Across the U.S., there are 340 cities, counties, and states that are considered “sanctuary cities”. These jurisdiction protect criminal aliens from deportation by refusing to comply with ICE detainers or otherwise impede open communication and information exchanges between their employees or officers and federal immigration agents.

Jessica VaughanBryan Griffith, and Marguerite Telford report: The number of jurisdictions that are obstructing immigration enforcement has grown to roughly 340, according to the Department of Homeland Security.1 This has resulted in the release by local authorities of approximately 1,000 criminal aliens per month.

According to an updated report prepared by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for Congress, between January 1 and September 30, 2014, local sanctuaries released 9,295 alien offenders that ICE was seeking to deport. More than 600 people were released at least twice.

Out of these, 5,947 of the criminal aliens (62 percent) had significant prior criminal histories or other public safety concerns even before the arrest that led to a detainer. Fifty-eight percent of those with a prior history of concern had prior felony charges or convictions; 37 percent had serious prior misdemeanor charges, and 5 percent had multiple prior misdemeanors.

An alarming number — 2,320 — of the total number of released offenders were subsequently arrested within the time period studied for new crimes after they were released by the sanctuaries.

One of these is Victor Aureliano Hernandez Ramirez2 who, together with an accomplice, was arrested in July 2015 for raping and then bludgeoning 64-year-old Marilyn Pharis, of Santa Maria, Calif. She died eight days later. Ramirez had been arrested for battery in May 2014 and was in the custody of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff. ICE issued a detainer in order to begin the deportation process after the charges were resolved, but the sheriff did not comply, apparently in accordance with California’s state sanctuary law that went into effect on January 1, 2014.3

ICE was not able to re-apprehend most of the offenders released by the sanctuaries. As of last year, 6,460 (69 percent) were still at large. Of those still at large, 1,377 (20 percent) had another criminal arrest following the one that resulted in the ICE detainer.

One violent illegal alien offender who is now at large because of a local sanctuary policy is Francisco Javier Chavez. In August 2015, Chavez was arrested for brutally beating the two-year-old daughter of his girlfriend, breaking a leg and both of her arms.4 Chavez has a long rap sheet, including felony drug and drunk driving convictions and a prior deportation. ICE issued a detainer, but the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department released him anyway after he posted bail, even though California’s law would have permitted them to hold him.

Of the 6,460 criminal aliens who were who were still at large during the time period studied, 3,802 (58 percent) had prior felonies or violent misdemeanors.

New Sanctuary Listings

In July, the Center for Immigration Studies reported that ICE had identified 276 jurisdictions that, as of September 2014, had policies obstructing immigration enforcement, primarily policies to ignore ICE detainers.5 ICE updated this list in December 2014 to add another nine jurisdictions that adopted sanctuary policies. They are:

  • Lafayette Parish, La.
  • Rio Arriba, N.M.
  • Prince George’s County, Md.
  • Montgomery County, Md.
  • Douglas County, Neb.
  • All New Mexico counties
  • Northampton, Mass.
  • Chesterfield County, Va.
  • Clayton County, Ga.

These jurisdictions have been added to our map of sanctuaries.6 No jurisdictions were removed from the list by ICE. Read the rest of this entry »


The Poisonous Obama Years

Obama-BW

Noah Rothman writes: For millions of Americans, Barack Obama’s ascension to the presidency absolved the United States of myriad sins. His rise to the presidency was a redemption tale for an America that had lost its way in the immediate post-9/11 years.

“As the winter of the Obama presidency approaches, it seems beyond dispute that this presidency has robbed Americans of what remaining faith they had in the value of collective action.”

Obama’s promise was to be a transformative figure, his supporters averred. He would reverse a suspiciously colonialist Bush-era foreign policy, deliver the country into a post-racial period, and restore America’s faith in the power of collectivism and the righteous efficacy of government. As the winter of the Obama presidency approaches, it seems beyond dispute that this presidency has robbed Americans of what remaining faith they had in the value of collective action. The power of massive governmental programs to effect positive change is, at best, dubious. The tragedy of it all is that cynicism has replaced shock when the latest scandalous revelations hit the newsstands. That’s dangerous. The expectation of corruption is a condition that saps a nation’s faith in the virtue of self-governance. It is this kind of contempt for public institutions that leads republics to ruin.

[Read the full text here, at commentary]

Barack Obama’s administration is scandal-plagued. In its twilight years, this White House has subordinated accountability and the preservation of faith in public sector competence to exculpation from the political press.

white-house-clouds-hdr-.2-602x300

“The power of massive governmental programs to effect positive change is, at best, dubious. The tragedy of it all is that cynicism has replaced shock when the latest scandalous revelations hit the newsstands. That’s dangerous. The expectation of corruption is a condition that saps a nation’s faith in the virtue of self-governance. It is this kind of contempt for public institutions that leads republics to ruin.”

The in-party spent the better part of the three years that followed the deadly assault on diplomatic and CIA compounds in Benghazi by framing the investigation into it as a manifestation of Republicans’ pathological hatred for the president. That is an impression which remains cemented in the minds of
many average voters who have not closely followed a congressional investigation into that affair – an investigation that exposed the scandalous details regarding how Hillary Clinton and her cadre of privileged aides comported themselves at the State Department. Those Americans who do not see the poison-redinvestigation as a partisan witch-hunt are apt to view it as an indictment of the political culture in Washington that afforded Clinton the leeway to flaunt the law and jeopardize American national security in order to preserve her sense of “convenience.”

[Read the full text of Noah Rothman‘s article here, at commentary]

The Obama-era has made it difficult to recall that it was once the left that prided itself for serving as sentinels standing guard against abuses by powerful government agencies. “Artful” Nixonian abuses of the IRS in order to intimidate and tarnish the reputations of political opponents were once a Republican phenomenon. Today, yet another simmering scandal involving the misuse of the IRS has ensnared Democrats. As such, it is dismissed as a non-issue by the left and partisans in the press.
Read the rest of this entry »


Extra License Plates, Wig and Letters Found in On-Air Shooter’s Car

Inside Vester Flanagan’s rental car, investigators found extra license plates, a wig, shawl, sunglasses and a hat as well as some stamped letters and a “to do” list….(read more)

Source: CBS DC


Too Close: ‘Mr. Robot’ Finale Postponed Because of Similarity to Live TV Killings

Mr-Robot-Alone

USA said the decision to postpone was made because the finale ‘contains a graphic scene similar in nature to today’s tragic events in Virginia.’

 reports: USA Network has postponed tonight’s scheduled season finale of hacker drama series “Mr. Robot” for a week because the episode includes a scene with similarities to the real-life murders that occurred on live TV this morning in Virginia.

“Out of respect to the victims, their families and colleagues, and our viewers, we are postponing tonight’s episode. Our thoughts go out to all those affected during this difficult time,” USA said in a statement.

[Read the full text here, at Variety]

Early today, a reporter, Alison Parker, and cameraman, Adam Ward, for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., were shot and killed while delivering a live report for the station’s morning news program. The suspected killer is a former co-worker of the pair who posted video of the ambush on social media after fleeing the scene.

“Out of respect to the victims, their families and colleagues, and our viewers, we are postponing tonight’s episode. Our thoughts go out to all those affected during this difficult time.”

Mr. Robot” has emerged as a critical darling for USA this summer. The series revolves around an anti-social IT whiz who is drafted to work for an underground group of hackers focused on rooting out evil and corruption in corporate America. Rami Malek and Christian Slater star. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: On-Air Shooter Vester Flanagan Dead; Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound Fatal

OnAirShooting

2:20 p.m.

A law enforcement official says the suspect in the on-air shooting of two TV station employees died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Franklin County Sheriff W.Q. “Bill” Overton Jr. gave that detail Wednesday during a news conference.

Officials say suspect Vester Flanagan died at 1:26 Thursday at a hospital in Northern Virginia. Authorities say the man killed his former co-workers — reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward — during a live broadcast for WDBJ-TV on Wednesday morning outside a shopping mall.

The station has said Flanagan went by Bryce Williams on the air. While he worked at the station, they say, he was angry and difficult to work with. He was fired.

___

2:13 p.m.

A Virginia official says the suspect in the fatal shooting of two TV station employees during a live broadcast has died.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran says Vester Flanagan died at 1:26 p.m. Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »


Remembering Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, the Victims of the WDBJ7 Shooting

parker-ward

Remembering Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27

From a report by Philip Ross: Parker, a native of Virginia, grew up in the city of Martinsville, about 180 miles southwest of Richmond, WDBJ7 reports. She attended Patrick Henry Community College near Martinsville and graduated from James Madison University, where she worked for the school’s newspaper, in 2012.

Alison-Parker

She interned at the station that summer and returned in May 2014 as a morning reporter, New York Daily News reports. Parker had been dating the station’s evening co-anchor Chris Hurst. Hurst shared his grief on Twitter.

Hurst-tweet

Ward had graduated from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, where he earned a communications and media studies degree, NBC News reports. Read the rest of this entry »


Minimum Wage Effect? January to June Job Losses for Seattle Area Restaurants (-1,300) Largest Since Great Recession

minwage

Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start.

In June of last year, the Seattle city council passed a $15 minimum wage law to be phased in over time, with the first increase to $11 an hour starting on April 1, 2015. What effect will the eventual 58% increase in labor costs have on small businesses, including area restaurants? It’s too soon to tell for sure, but there is already some evidence that the recent minimum wage hike to $11 an hour, along with the pending increase of an additional $4 an hour by 2017 for some businesses, has started having a negative effect on restaurant jobs in the Seattle area. The chart above shows that the Emerald City MSA started experiencing a decline in restaurant employment around the first of the year (when the state minimum wage increased to $9.47 per hour, the highest state minimum wage in the country), and the 1,300 job loss between January and June is the largest decline over that period since 2009 during the Great Recession (data here). The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession. In contrast to the January-June loss  of restaurant jobs in the Seattle area: a) restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period (data here), b) overall employment in the Seattle MSA increased 1.2% and by 21,800 jobs (data here) and c) non-Seattle MSA restaurant employment in Washington increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs (data here). Read the rest of this entry »


Arthropod News Analyst: ‘Terry McAuliffe Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About’

Mr-Crab

Pundit Planet Roving Arthropod News Analyst comments on Virginia Governor’s Controversial Territorial Claim

‘Maryland’ Crabs: ‘They’re All Born in Virginia’, Says Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

WASHINGTON — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has made a statement about Chesapeake Bay blue crabs that is sure to seem very inflammatory to die-hard Marylanders.

He made the remark during this month’s “Ask the Governor” segment on Newsradio 1140 WRVA in Richmond, while speaking about boosting the state’s oyster business.

 (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

“You know, Maryland talks about their crabs. And if anyone from Maryland is listening, I’m going to be very clear: All the crabs are born here in Virginia and they end up, because of the current, being taken there. So really they should be Virginia crabs.”

— Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

His statement is not entirely false, though saying the current is the only reason some crabs migrate into the upper bay is questionable.

blue-crabs

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, male crabs tend to prefer fresher waters in Maryland and the bay’s upper tributaries, while females, especially spawning females, like the saltier waters of Virginia, near the mouth of the bay….(read more)

CBS DC


‘President Barack Obama Created a New Law Stating that People Can Start Printing their Own Money’

obama-money

Woman Blames Obama For Counterfeiting Money

Police say that counterfeit bill was printed on computer paper and that each side had been glued together

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (CBSDC) – A woman reportedly told police she was counterfeiting money because she read online that President Barac4944c-obama-currency-29221360371_xlargek Obama created a new law stating that people can start printing their own money.

The Times News reports Pamela Downs tried to use a counterfeit $5 bill at a local grocery store in Kingsport, Tennessee, on Sunday.

Police say that counterfeit bill was printed on computer paper and that each side had been glued together.

According to the Times News, Downs told the officer she received the money from a gas station a few days prior, but that she never inspected the bill.

Police then searched Downs’ purse and found a $100 bill which was also counterfeit. The Times News reports the bill was printed in black and white and that the back of the bill was printed upside down. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System Tested aboard U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford

NEWPORT News, Va. (June 16, 2015) Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducts dead-load testing of the The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) . (U.S. Navy video/Released)

 


Richard Johnson: Courtroom Drawings from the Tsarnaev Death Penalty Debate

imrs

Richard Johnson is a field artist, visual journalist and senior graphics editor at The Washington Post. Read more about his very unique perspective as a courtroom artist in the Bostom Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev death penalty debate here.

imrs-1

Fine work by Richard Johnson. Visit Illustration Age, the best source for editorial illustration and graphic design.

[ILLUSTRATION AGE]


Appeals Court Rules NSA Phone Program Not Authorized by Patriot Act

NSA-wsj

ACLU lawsuit argued the data collection should be stopped because it violates Americans’ privacy rights

WASHINGTON — Devlin Barrett and Damian Paletta report: A federal appeals court ruled Thursday the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of millions of Americans’ phone records isn’t authorized by the Patriot Act, as the Bush and Obama administrations have long maintained.

”The text of (Section 215) cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and … does not authorize the telephone metadata program.’’ 

Federal appeals court

The NSA has used the Patriot Act to justify collecting records of nearly every call made in the U.S. and entering them into a database to search for possible contacts among terrorism suspects.

US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-OBAMA-PROTEST

The scope of the program was revealed when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents describing the program, triggering a national debate over the extent of the data collection.

“I am concerned if we throw out some of these programs, now we are at risk. We’re stupid, I got it, in the press, but we shouldn’t put American people at risk.”

— Recently retired NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander

The ruling by the three-judge panel in New York comes at a delicate point in the national debate over government surveillance, as Section 215 of the Patriot Act is due to expire next month and lawmakers are haggling about whether to renew it, modify it, or let it lapse.

The court’s ruling was in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union arguing the data collection should be stopped because it violates Americans’ privacy rights. A lower court judge ruled the program was constitutional, and the civil liberties group appealed, leading to Thursday’s decision.

viv-light-nsa

”The text of (Section 215) cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and … does not authorize the telephone metadata program,’’ the court wrote.

The court declined to address the issue of whether the program violates Americans’ rights, because, they found, it was never properly authorized by existing law.

The judges didn’t order the collection to stop, noting that the legislative debate and the looming expiration of Section 215 will force action on the issue one way or another. The judges also note that if Congress decides to approve some version of the phone data collection program in coming days, then the privacy issue could be revisited in court. Read the rest of this entry »


SPEECH CODE SLAYER AWARD: George Mason University Given Highest Rating

00statue

George Mason University also becomes the third green light institution in the state of Virginia, joining the University of Virginia and The College of William & Mary

WASHINGTON, April 21, 2015—George Mason University (GMU) has eliminated all of its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). After working with FIRE to ensure its policies comply with the First Amendment, the Virginia university has joined a select group of colleges and universities nationwide to earn FIRE’s most favorable rating for free speech on campus.

“Freedom of speech and academic freedom are core values of a university’s mission. I’m delighted that George Mason has joined the ranks of universities that have committed themselves to the full protection of free speech. Thank you to our administration for their dedicated work in providing a context where students and faculty can express controversial ideas freely, and even inartfully, without fear of reprisal.”

“We commend George Mason University for improving its policies and fully upholding the First Amendment rights of its students and faculty members,” said Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program. “GMU is now a national leader in terms of respecting free speech in higher education, and the university’s actions should serve as a positive example for other institutions to follow.”

George-Mason-University-campus-feat

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Awards Highest Free Speech Rating to George Mason University 

FIRE has been advocating for speech code reform at GMU for nearly a decade. In May 2014, Majeed and GMU Director of Special Diversity Projects Dennis Webster began working together to revise seven university policies, including a flyer posting policy, a sexual harassment policy, two provisions from the student conduct code, and a policy on leafleting. GMU Foundation Professor of Law Todd Zywicki also assisted in the effort.

“We commend George Mason University for improving its policies and fully upholding the First Amendment rights of its students and faculty members. GMU is now a national leader in terms of respecting free speech in higher education, and the university’s actions should serve as a positive example for other institutions to follow.”

— Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program

“Freedom of speech and academic freedom are core values of a university’s mission,” said Zywicki. “I’m delighted that George Mason has joined the ranks of universities that have committed themselves to the full protection of free speech. Thank you to our administration for their dedicated work in providing a context where students and faculty can express controversial ideas freely, and even inartfully, without fear of reprisal.” Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg: Why Aren’t Heads Rolling at Rolling Stone?

Heads-Not-Roll

Ignoring the most basic rules of journalism

Jonah Goldberg writes: Rolling Stone screwed up.

jonah-GIn most media scandals, it’s unfair to paint with such a broad brush. When Stephen Glass concocted his fables at The New Republic, he went to antiheroic lengths to conceal his deceptions from his colleagues. Janet Cooke, who famously won a Pulitzer for her Washington Post series about an Janneight-year-old heroin addict, “Jimmy’s World,” lied to her editors.

“The field of journalistic ethics can get ridiculously Talmudic. But it’s all based on a very simple rule: Tell the truth.”

That’s not the case with Rolling Stone’s publication of “A Rape on Campus,” the story of the brutal gang rape of a student named “Jackie” at the University of Virginia that turned out to be false. Its failure was a group effort, from editor-in-chief Jann Wenner on down.

[Also See – Campus Rape and the ‘Emergency’: It’s Always An Excuse for Authoritarianism]

The best thing you can say about this fiasco is that there was little deliberate lying involved. According to an exhaustive report by the Columbia Journalism School, the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and her editors didn’t purposefully publish falsehoods.

[Read the full text of Jonah Goldberg‘s column here, at National Review]

Of course, this is faint praise. The field of journalistic ethics can get ridiculously Talmudic. But it’s all based on a very simple rule: Tell the truth. If the truth is unclear, tell what you know and give both sides (or as many credible sides to a story as might exist) an opportunity to make their case. (For opinion journalists, like yours truly, the rule is even easier: Don’t say anything you don’t believe.)

jann-w-and-staff

“At every stage, editors and reporters knew what they should do: Talk to the accused rapists, confirm the identities and testimony of alleged witnesses, give the University of Virginia and the leadership of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where the rape allegedly occurred, a fair opportunity to rebut the charges, nail down corroborating details…”

Rolling Stone ignored this basic rule. At every stage, editors and reporters knew what they should do: Talk to the accused rapists, confirm the identities and testimony of alleged witnesses, give the University of Virginia and the leadership of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where the rape allegedly occurred, a fair opportunity to rebut the charges, nail down corroborating details, etc.

“And, at almost every turn, they collectively went another way, caving to Jackie’s refusal to help confirm her story.”

And, at almost every turn, they collectively went another way, caving to Jackie’s refusal to help confirm her story.

[Also see – Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s OTHER Possibly Fake Rape Story]

The Columbia report, requested by Rolling Stone and written pro bono by the journalism school’s dean, Steve Coll, and colleagues, has a single major failing. It’s dispositive on the who, what, when, where, and how the system broke down, but it’s remarkably weak on the question of “why?” Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND: Author of Discredited Rolling Stone UVA Rape Story Will Apologize Tonight

UVa Fraternity

 writes: Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of Rolling Stone‘s much-maligned story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia, plans to formally apologize for her mistakes, according to CNN‘s Brian Stetler.

drudge-rs

Erdely stopped responding to questions and interview requests at the beginning of December, as reporters began to call into question the details of the story. (Richard Bradley and I were the first to do so.) Since then, the story has completely collapsed and was essentially confirmed as false by The Washington Post and the Charlottesville police department.

Erdely plans to break her silence tonight, according to The Daily Caller:

But now, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter, Erdely plans to make a public apology nearly four months after Rolling Stone’s retraction. Her apology appears to be timed to coincide with the release of a Columbia School of Journalism report on Rolling Stone’s journalistic failings….(read more) Read the rest of this entry »


FREEDOM OF THOUGHT: Religious Freedom More Important Founding Achievement than Being President of the United States

VHE_ThomasJefferson.1978.22_edited_medium

 “Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness…”

From Monticello.org

Before his death, Thomas Jefferson left explicit instructions regarding the monument to be erected over his grave.  In this document (undated), Jefferson supplied a sketch of the shape of the marker, and the epitaph with which he wanted it to be inscribed:

“…on the faces of the Obelisk the following inscription, & not a word more:

jefferson_grave

Here was buried

Thomas Jefferson

Author of the Declaration of American Independence

of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom

& Father of the University of Virginia

editor-commen-deskWhat’s missing here? Jefferson declined to include, among his most treasured achievements, his own ascent to the highest office in the land. Thomas Jefferson was elected twice, served two terms as president of the United States. Why did Jefferson consider his own presidency to be unimportant, or not important enough to include in his list of achievements? Much as been written about this, including by Jefferson himself, but my own summary is this: A free people govern themselves. A self-governing society doesn’t celebrate its leaders, or rulers, it celebrates its own freedom.

The most important of these freedoms being freedom of thought. Freedom to think, or not think, whatever the hell you want. To worship, or not worship, whatever deity you want, it’s your business. The freedom to subscribe to–or reject–whatever philosophy you want. The freedom to participate, or refrain from participating in, whatever way of life you chose. An individual is free to worship as he pleases with no discrimination. And has the inherent (not state-given) freedom to not be compelled by another to do otherwise.

Without this, the “habits of hypocrisy and meanness” undermine pluralism, and threaten the foundations of the civil society that his generation fought so hard to build.

Do Jefferson’s successors understand this?

Thomas_Jefferson's_Monticello

From VAHistorical.org:

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) was prevented by illness from attending the Virginia Convention of 1774 that met to discuss what to do in the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party and the closing of the port of Boston by the British. But Jefferson sent a paper to the convention, later published as A Summary View of the Rights of British America. The force of its arguments and its literary quality led the Convention to elect Jefferson to serve in the Continental Congress.

He was too anti-British to be made use of until a total break with Great Britain had become inevitable. Then he was entrusted with drafting the Declaration of Independence. This assignment, and what he made of it, ensured Jefferson’s place as an apostle of liberty. In the Declaration, and in his other writings, Jefferson was perhaps the best spokesman we have had for the American ideals of liberty, equality, faith in education, and in the wisdom of the common man. But what Jefferson wanted to be remembered for, besides writing the Declaration of Independence, was writing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and founding the University of Virginia.

virginia-statute

Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom

(annotated transcript)

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom is a statement about both freedom of conscience and the principle of separation of church and state. Written by Thomas Jefferson and passed by the Virginia General Assembly on January 16, 1786, it is the forerunner of the first amendment protections for religious freedom. Divided into three paragraphs, the statute is rooted in Jefferson’s philosophy. It could be passed in Virginia because Dissenting sects there (particularly Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists) had petitioned strongly during the preceding decade for religious liberty, including the separation of church and state.

monticello-interior

Jefferson had argued in the Declaration of Independence that “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle [man]….” The first paragraph of the religious statute proclaims one of those entitlements, freedom of thought. To Jefferson, “Nature’s God,” who is undeniably visible in the workings of the universe, gives man the freedom to choose his religious beliefs. This is the divinity whom deists of the time accepted—a God who created the world and is the final judge of man, but who does not intervene in the affairs of man. This God who gives man the freedom to believe or not to believe is also the God of the Christian sects.

I. Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was his Almighty power to do . . .

The second paragraph is the act itself, which states that no person can be compelled to attend any church or support it with his taxes. It says that an individual is free to worship as he pleases with no discrimination. Read the rest of this entry »


Victim Advocates Worry That Journalism Based on Facts Could Hurt Their Movement

UVa Fraternity

Rolling Stone‘s Worrisome Discredited Rape Account

BALTIMORE — With the account of an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia debunked by police, advocates for sexual assault survivors are worried a movement that gained tremendous momentum in the past year could suffer a setback.

“The average American might say, ‘If she lied, they must all be lying so we shouldn’t pay attention to the issue at all,’ and there will be an immediate chilling effect.”

— Liz Seccuro, explaining her sincere belief that Americans, after encountering one debunked rape story, will no longer care about potential rape victims and decide to permanently stop paying attention to all rape allegations

rollingstone

A Rolling Stone article about a student identified only as “Jackie” described an alleged rape on campus and a culture of binge-drinking and looking the other way when students filed sexual assault complaints. The story intensified the national conversation about rapes on college campuses and prompted changes at the university, but on Monday, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said a months-long investigation turned up no evidence of a sexual assault, or any wrongdoing by the school.

“I do think, unfortunately, that such a high-profile discredited story will have negative impacts on people’s willingness to believe survivors when they come forward.”

— Daniel Carter, director of 32 National Campus Safety Initiative, missing the ‘positive impact’ of honest, fact-based reporting, compared to the ‘negative impact’ of corrupt, dishonest, agenda-driven reporting by Rolling Stone

“One false report should not diminish the seriousness with which we take on the challenge of sexual assault on campus,” said Daniel Carter, director of 32 National Campus Safety Initiative and an advocate for sexual assault survivors for more than two decades. “I do think, unfortunately, that such a high-profile discredited story will have negative impacts on people’s willingness to believe survivors when they come forward.”

Police said Jackie refused to talk to them after the article was published in November. In the article, Jackie said she was gang-raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house two years earlier, and the school systematically mishandled sex assault complaints. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ROAD RAGE: Temper Tantrum Captured On Camera Leads to Arrest

road-rage-2

ASHEBORO, North Carolina – A North Carolina woman was arrested Monday following a road rage incident caught on camera Saturday.

“I knew what was going to happen. I wanted it on tape. Twice the lady tried to pass me on a two-lane road with double lines on a hill. She about ran me off road first time. She got behind me a second time and then went to go around again…”

Kristin Leigh Phillips, 40, of Randleman, was charged with reckless driving to endanger, assault and battery, injury to personal property, driving left of center and two counts of communicating threats reported WGHP-TV.

The terrifying video of the incident was captured by Sherri Hastings and turned over to law enforcement.

“…I let her have the road, called 911, reported her and her plate number… I started phone video which was in a holder on dashboard — hands free.”

— Sherri Hastings

Hastings told WGHP she was driving in Randleman when a woman driving an SUV attempted to “slam into her” in a 35 mph zone.Read the rest of this entry »


From Fake Rapes To ‘Microaggressions,’ Colleges Have Lost Their Way

shutterstock-woman

U.S. colleges foster and encourage lynch mobs and thought police in place of actual education. It’s time for serious reform.

 writes: For anyone still keeping up with the University of Virginia’s fraternity gang-rape fiasco, this month brought a bit of good news: the Charlottesville Police Department announced it could find no proof that the alleged gang rape had occurred at Phi Kappa Psi. UVA subsequently reinstated the fraternity after having shut it down a few months before.

liberals-in-shock-590

“Unsurprisingly, much of this bankrupt ideology centers on feminism, which has filled the role that eugenics once filled in American universities: a crystalline instance of peak Progressive thought animated by bigotry and pseudoscience.”

This is small comfort to a debacle that has been both shameful and injudicious from start to finish. If there is anything good to be had from the entire mess, it is that a slapdash and irresponsible publication has been justly humiliated, and that an incompetent and malicious journalist has been perhaps permanently outcast from the good graces of the Fourth Estate. So far as I can tell, Sabrina Rubin Erdely has not been heard from publicly since last tweeting at the end of November. That is fine by me; indeed, if she finishes out her career as an obscure copy editor at a small-town bi-weekly, I do not think journalism as a whole will be worse off, even if the small-town bi-weekly suffers.

UVa Fraternity

“Modern feminism drove much of the witch hunt on UVA’s campus, for instance, and it can be seen at plenty of other colleges, as well.”

Yet the Rolling Stone fiasco is on the main depressing and discouraging, if for no other reason than it has starkly highlighted the fundamental hollowness of our institutions of higher learning, saturated as they have become by the often-toxic influence of academic leftism.

A Microcosm of U.S. Colleges’ Sick Culture

Indeed, UVA provided a perfect example of the moral bankruptcy one often finds at the average American college. In the wake of the Rolling Stone article, the university suspended Greek life on campus with no due process whatsoever; a University of Virginia law school student demanded that Phi Kappa Psi be treated as a “criminal street gang” subject to asset seizure by the government; the fraternity house was vandalized; and effectively the entire university lined up against a group of young men who had been viciously slandered in a national media outlet based on the strength of one uncorroborated and unexamined accusation. “The whole [fraternity] culture,” claimed UVA English professor Alison Booth, with no irony whatsoever, “is sick.”

spiked-RollingStone

From its administration to its faculty to its studentry, the University of Virginia displayed the aplomb of a sulky teenager unwilling to think critically about even the most basic of ethical considerations.

“From coast to coast, the vanities of progressivism are having a profoundly negative effect on our institutions of higher learning.”

The University of Virginia, in other words, behaved shamefully and with no civic decorum: from its administration to its faculty to its studentry, the entire institution displayed the aplomb of a sulky teenager unwilling to think critically about even the most basic of ethical considerations. UVA’s president, Teresa Sullivan, should be apologizing profusely to the members of Phi Kappa Psi along with the whole fraternity community. Instead, she’s forcing fraternities to adopt pointless new rules on the basis of a single allegation that even the police now dispute.

Read the rest of this entry »


A Campus Epidemic: Rape Hoax Culture

UVa Fraternity

Rolling Stone deserves all the suffering it can possibly enjoy.

editor-commen-deskFriday, December 5th, 2014, may be recorded as the worst single day for Left Wing Media in more than a decade, as two of its most iconic institutions self-destructed, independently, but simultaneously, on the same day, in the same news cycle. The New Republic, and Rolling Stone Magazine, for very different reasons, suffered major setbacks. The more important of the two — The New Republic — is getting less media attention than it deserves. Which is understandable, of the two, its problems are more complex, less visible, and not as controversial. The majority of The New Republic‘s staff resigned, en masse. If almost no one noticed, it’s perhaps because the New Republic isn’t as relevant as it once was. Unfortunate, because of its long history, NR is a first-rate political journal that’s enjoyed the attention and respect of its admirers and critics alike. But mainly because the epic, high-profile disaster at Rolling Stone was sucking up all the oxygen.

And let’s fact it: Rolling Stone deserves all the suffering it can possibly enjoy.

Providing both the matches, and the gas, Rolling Stone willingly made itself into a bonfire for its opponents and critics. A preexisting record of journalistic mismanagement set the stage for disaster. Years of lurid, sensational, sloppy journalism had already established it as a bad actor in media. Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s bogus, discredited rape reportage — though a spectacular failure in itself — isn’t even the problem. It’s a emblematic of larger problem, not just with Rolling Stone, but with Left-Wing advocacy journalism and progressive-activist media culture in general. One of deception, invention, and opportunism.

As the Rolling Stone scandal unfolds, one question that bothers me — that I haven’t seen explored much yet — is, where were the lawyers and editors, before the story went to press? For purely financial reasons, institutions like Rolling Stone have to weight costs and risks, especially when dealing with controversial material that could expose them not only peer scrutiny, but to litigation. That’s what the suits are for. Think about it, if the writer and editor won’t do due diligence with sources, and investigate more than one side of a story, they can be sure their critics will. Writers and editors might be willing to go out on a limb to advance an activist agenda or pump up sales, but every publication has its legal advisors and bean-counters to protect the publication’s reputation, or at least avoid inviting lawsuits. Where were they? What happened?

In the coming days, answers to this question may be revealed. In the meantime, the following is a sampling of commentary from Jonah and Kevin (both of whom are familiar to our readers, and are promoted so frequently here that I take the liberty of referring to them by their first names) at National Review Online. Stay tuned for more.

Rolling-stone-cover-jpg

Rolling Stone should be held accountable for its false accusations against UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter.

jonah-GFrom Jonah Goldberg‘s The UVA Gang Rape that Wasn’t

“…So I am having a hard time getting my head around something. All week people have been calling me a “rape apologist” and “pro-rape.” I’m being constantly informed that I don’t understand “rape culture.” These often hysterical accusations tend to come from people who seem to understand rape culture the same way some people understand the geopolitics of Westeros or Middle Earth: They’ve studied it, they know every detail about it, they just seem to have forgotten it doesn’t exist.

[Also see – Meltdown: Rolling Stone Backtracks on Explosive UVA Rape Story, Issues Apology]

Now, hold on. I certainly believe rape happens. And I definitely believe we have cultural problems that lead to date rape and other drunken barbarisms and sober atrocities. But the term “rape culture” suggests that there is a large and obvious belief system that condones and enables rape as an end in itself in America. This simply strikes me as an elaborate political lie intended to strengthen the hand of activists. There’s definitely lots that is wrong with our culture, particularly youth culture and specifically campus culture. Sybaritic, crapulent, hedonistic, decadent, bacchanalian: choose your adjectives.

[More – So, How Much Fact-Checking Did Rolling Stone Do?]

What is most remarkable about our problems is that they seem to take people by surprise. For instance, it would be commonsense to our grandmothers that some drunk men will do bad things, particularly in a moral vacuum, and that women should take that into account. I constantly hear that instead of lecturing women about their behavior we should teach men not to rape. I totally, completely, 100 percent agree that we should teach men not to rape. The problem is we do that. A lot. Maybe we should do it more. We also teach people not to murder — another heinous crime. But murders happen too. That’s why we advise our kids to steer clear of certain neighborhoods at certain times and avoid certain behaviors. I’m not “pro-murder” if I tell my kid not to walk through the park at night and flash money around any more than I am pro-rape if I give her similar advice…” (read more here)

141205175643-rolling-stone-uva-rape-on-campus-story-top

The Left believes that lies can serve a greater truth.

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson‘s Bad Journalism, Even If It Were True

“The Left is committed to the notion that American colleges are hotbeds of sexual violence, racial bigotry, hatred of homosexuals, etc., because they are committed to the notion that the largely white and male upper echelons of American society — mostly products of those colleges — are secretly but unalterably committed to white supremacy, homophobia, and to using the threat of sexual violence to keep women in their place. 

The evidence suggests otherwise: Far from being an epidemic, sexual assault today happens at a rate about one-third that of 20 years ago, and rape seems to happen less often on college campuses than it does elsewhere. That should not be entirely surprising: Rape, like other crimes, tends to disproportionately affect people who are poor and non-white. As expected, the evidence points to sexual assault’s being more common in poor rural areas, Indian reservations, poor urban areas, etc. It is also more common where people tend to be relatively isolated, with Alaska having the nation’s highest rate of sexual assault. Read the rest of this entry »


Meltdown: Rolling Stone Backtracks on Explosive UVA Rape Story, Issues Apology

UVA-campus

Meghan Keneally reports: A stunning report about how rape is handled at UVA that sparked national outcry and prompted the university to suspend all fraternity activities for the year is now being called into question.

“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.”

Rolling Stone magazine today began distancing themselves from the shocking story published last month about a student that the publication identified as “Jackie,” who said that she was the victim of a gang rape by seven men at a fraternity party.

latimes-oops

“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” the magazine’s managing editor, Will Dana, wrote in a letter published on the magazine’s website.

Dana said the author of the lengthy feature, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not talk to any of the students involved in the alleged rape before publishing the story out of respect for Jackie.

“We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.”

The fraternity where the rape allegedly occurred has released a statement today denying the article’s allegations. Read the rest of this entry »


Fraud Watch: Voting Machines Malfunctioning in Several Precincts

voting-machines

 LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — Malfunctioning voting machines are causing issues for voters in several Virginia precincts, the Republican Party of Virginia says.

RPV wrote a letter to the Virginia Department of Elections this morning stating there were problems with some of the electronic voting touch screens in at least four different Congressional Districts.APPROVED-non-stop-panic

“Voters have difficulty selecting the candidate of their choice using the touch screen because the screen’s touch sensor is not properly aligned with the text that appears on the screen.”

— RPV spokesman said in the letter.

A video link included in the letter shows a machine malfunction when someone tries to select the Republican candidate on the ballot:

For more about the precincts where RPV says the issue is happening…(read more)

 CBS DC

This story is developing….


[VIDEO] Antares Explosion From The Air

NBC-vid

Note: The YouTube video that was originally embedded here was removed, try viewing it at NBCNightly News instead, as linked above.


[VIDEO] Panic at the Press Site: Audio Captures Camera Operators Freaking Out During the Antares Rocket Explosion

Collective panic: Any ambitions for being a level-headed war correspondent or courageous A-list camera operator go up in smoke as members of the press are caught on tape going cuckoo bananas while witnessing a failed launch. 

Swearing, gasping, pants-wetting, shaky-cam emotional meltdown. NSFW audio. Priceless. 

via ANTARES EXPLODES!!! – YouTube 


[VIDEO] Umanned NASA Space Station Supply Rocket Explodes Six Seconds After Launch

HT_nasa_mar_1_141028_4x3_992

HT_nasa_mar_3_141028_16x9_608

An unmanned space station supply rocket exploded tonight six seconds after launch from Wallops Island, Virginia.

Orbital Sciences Corp. said in a Tweet shortly after the explosion:

The cargo rocket was supposed to launch Monday night, but that had to be scrubbed because a boat was too close to the “hazard zone” near the launch site.

This launch was the third of eight International Space Station cargo resupply missions under NASA’s $1.9 billion contract with Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia. Orbital provides the launch vehicle and cargo spacecraft and NASA runs the range operations.

“Radar aircraft detected the boat and hailed it several times, but there was no response. A spotter plane made multiple passes around the boat at low altitudes using commonly understood signals such as wing waving to establish contact. However, the operator did not respond.”

— NASA statement

The Antares rocket was carrying 4,483 pounds of equipment to the station including 1,360 pounds of food.

HT_nasa_mar_4_141028_4x3_992

Orbital Sciences said everyone at the launch site had been accounted for, and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] HHS: Obamacare Cancellations Are ‘Invitations’ To Buy a New Plan

Enjoy this very special item from Joel Gehrke at The Corner, visually enhanced with some sass from Charles C.W.Cooke:

Gehrke writes: Insurance-policy cancellation notices issued as a result of Obamacare regulations ought to be perceived as “invitations” to purchase new plans, a Health and Human Services official told the Virginia legislature.

“If you got one of the notices that your policy was going to be discontinued because it didn’t adhere to the law, it meant that now you could go into the health-insurance marketplace…” 

jcg

HHS’s Joanne Grossi told Republican state senator Jeff McWaters, adding,

“So, I just want to remind you that you weren’t losing insurance you were just using that insurance plan and were now being invited to go into the health insurance marketplace.” 

(read more)

National Review Online