Category Archives: Media

Bokbluster Weekend NATO Editon

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Last week President Obama assured member nations that NATO would defend them. Meanwhile, terrorists frolicked by the pool at the abandoned American Embassy in Tripoli.

Not NATO

On Friday Ukraine signed a ceasefire agreement with Russian separatists. Ukraine isn’t a NATO member. The only American military assistance it received where Meals Ready to Eat. Still it was making progress against the separatists. That is until Russian tanks invaded.

The beheading of two Americans seems to have concentrated the country’s attention on the use of military force. Even Rand Paul wants to wipe out ISIS. He says he’s always been in favor of war if it’s in the national interest. How far does the national interest go?

Pretty far, according to Robert Kagan and Victor Davis Hanson. They both made the same point that when you withdraw military power bad guys fill the vacuum.

Brett Bair interviewed three CIA contractors who were on the ground in Benghazi when Ambassador Stevens was killed. They say their station chief told them to stand down. Eventually they defied orders and fought the terrorists, some of whom may now be poolside in Tripoli.

Arctic Sea Ice Challenge

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UK Mail Online published satellite photos that show this summer’s arctic sea ice increased from 2012’s all-time low. Slate was quick to point out, with its usual annoying habit of answering a question you didn’t ask, that “No You Can’t Claim Arctic Sea Ice is Recovering”.

Sea Ice Challenge

The increase represents a change in weather not climate. Like the Lake Superior ice that wouldn’t leave until June. Or the drought in California. Oh wait, that’s climate not weather.

Anyway, maybe you can’t claim arctic sea ice is recovering, but you might say polar bears are. 091030boklores

Johnny Football Hand Signals

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Johnny Football hype met reality when the NFL fined Manziel $12,000 for flipping the bird to the Washington Redskins bench. Washington players were amused by the gesture. The commissioner, not so much.

 

National Guard in Ferguson

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Governor Nixon called in the National Guard to quell the violence in Ferguson, Missouri. The local police aren’t trusted by looters in Ferguson. It turns out the looters aren’t local either. Most of those arrested were not from Ferguson.

Why Ferguson?

Victor Davis Hanson wonders why some shootings spark violence and others don’t.

On average, more than 6,000 African Americans are killed by gun violence each year. That startling figure is nearly equal to all of the U.S. combat fatalities incurred in both Afghanistan and Iraq over some 13 years.

The violence usually begins with a white man killing an unarmed black man. In Trayvon Martin’s case the NYT described his killer as a “white hispanic”.

The media almost invariably distort the facts, sometimes deliberately seeking to incite tensions. In the Trayvon Martin case, journalists published photos of Martin as a diminutive adolescent, not more recent pictures of Martin as a 17-year-old who was much taller than (George) Zimmerman (Martin’s killer)… In the Brown case, the media has rushed to portray the victim as a “gentle giant” who was almost certainly gunned down by a racist, trigger-happy cop… NBC edited a recording of Zimmerman’s 911 call to police in a way that suggested Zimmerman was a racist.

Next up for blame are Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the New Black Panther party.

Almost immediately, they incite tensions by issuing wild, unfounded charges. Jackson said of the Martin shooting that “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.” Jackson just called the Brown shooting a “state execution.”

Then come the politicians cashing in for advantage.

…usually in ways that only make things worse. Libertarian senator Rand Paul, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential run, blamed the police for their overt military appearance and their crowd-control tactics. Yet street violence still persisted days after police in military-style riot gear were pulled from the scene — until finally there were requests for National Guard intervention.

Finally we get racial finger pointing.

Liberals acknowledge high black violent-crime rates but cite poverty, racism, and unfair police enforcement as the catalysts. Conservatives counter that high rates of single-parent families, dependence on government entitlements, and glorification of misogyny and violence in popular culture account for inordinate black violent-crime rates.

And the country becomes more divided.

Meanwhile, we might remember that the American experiment to unite various racial and ethnic groups into one culture is as noble as it is rare in history. When it has previously been tried in the modern world — Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Iraq, Rwanda, Syria, Congo — it usually has failed spectacularly.

 

Mad Mad World of Comic Genius

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Jonathan Winters was a mentor to Robin Williams. Both were tormented comic geniuses. Russell Brand calls it a “divine madness” in this essay in The Guardian.

I was surprised to learn Jonathan Winters spent 8 months in a psychiatric hospital just before his brilliant performance in It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. He wasn’t doing research. He managed to outlast his demons and died of natural causes at age 87.

Update: Here are some thoughts from Ben Stein on comics, depression, and suicide.