Patterico's Pontifications


Jon Stewart’s Successor And The Jews: Yeah, I Know It’s Supposed To Be Funny …

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

So 31-year old comedian Trevor Noah has been named heir to the Daily Show. Jon Stewart, who will officially leave the show later this year, is said to be thrilled at the selection of Noah.

Noah, himself, was also very excited upon being informed that he would succeed Stewart:

“You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” Noah told The New York Times while on the phone in Dubai, speaking about his first reactions to learning that he had been selected as the new “Daily Show” host. “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”


With that, I’ve never really been a Stewart fan. Maybe I’m old and cranky, but it has never struck me as particularly original to be sarcastic and smarmy and belittling all in the same breath. That’s just called being a teenager. Oh sure, he has some some talent, but certainly that sort of humor is an acquired taste. And although I’ve tried, my taste buds have never cooperated where Stewart was concerned. And honestly, that clown nose business was so annoying: nose-on, nose-off. For god sake, you are a grown man – act like one!

Anyway, I wondered if Noah would be just another Stewart clone. Judge for yourself:

I know he’s supposed to be funny. I know that nothing is off limits for comedians. I know we are told to respect their art. Except, we are already witnessing not just the world, but Our. Very. Own. President. display such levels of intolerance and annoyance toward the Jewish people and Israel that the relationship with one of our greatest allies has been damaged as a result. So it’s a bit disappointing to see Trevor Noah, heir to pop-culture’s throne, use Jewish stereotypes for his punchlines. (…but, you know, it’s only Jews, so maybe I’m overreacting.)

Anyway, it doesn’t look like I’ll be tuning in anytime soon. It also doesn’t look like I’ll be missing much.

(h/t JWF)


Pep Boys Mandates Discussion of Transgender Issues

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:10 pm

A truly hilarious commentary on the Starbucks initiative to discuss race, from Saturday Night Live. Thanks to elissa for the tip.

Putting The Proverberial Lipstick On A Pig

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:53 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It’s a smart tactic when advocates (and people in the business of making money) take a divisive issue and attempt to normalize it in order to remove its stigma and garner public acceptance. But, if one is honest about it, whether an abortion involves a cold, sterile operating room with a vacuum suctioning out the contents of a womb or swallowing a pill from within the confines of a luxury spa, the goal is the same and the objective remains unchanged.

With its natural wood floors and plush upholstery, Carafem aims to feel more like a spa than a medical clinic. But the slick ads set to go up in Metro stations across the Washington region leave nothing to doubt: “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”

The clinic, opening this week in tony Friendship Heights, specializes in the abortion pill and will be unique for its advertising. Its unabashed approach also reflects a new push to destigmatize the nation’s most controversial medical procedure by talking about it openly and unapologetically.

At Carafem, staff members plan to greet clients with warm teas, comfortable robes and a matter-of-fact attitude.

“We don’t want to talk in hushed tones,” said Carafem president Christopher Purdy. “We use the A-word.”

Another striking aspect of the project is the design: The clinic will have wood floors and a natural wood tone on the walls that recalls high-end salons such as Aveda. Appointments, offered evenings and weekends, can be booked online or via a 24-hour hotline.

“It was important for us to try to present an upgraded, almost spa-like feel,” said Melissa S. Grant, vice president of health services for the clinic

And without a hint of self-awareness, the author of the article explains why this move is afoot:

Plagued by political setbacks in recent years, abortion-rights activists are now seeking to normalize abortion, to put a human face — and in some cases, even a positive spinon the procedure.

Feminist Katha Pollitt explains the need to normalize the procedure:

“We need to talk about ending a pregnancy as a common, even normal, event in the reproductive lives of women,” Pollitt writes, adding that the decision to abort can be “just as moral as the decision to have a child — indeed, sometimes more moral” because “part of caring for children is knowing when it’s not a good idea to bring them into the world.”

The abortion spa will only offer the abortion pill experience to clients, thus they can be no more than 10 weeks pregnant. The charge will be $400.

With that, I’m a fan of the show “The Good Wife”. I enjoy the smart writing, quick-paced dialogue and varied story lines. In a recent episode, lawyer and staunch Democrat Diane Lockhart finds her uber-chic, smart, liberal self uncharacteristically arguing abortion rights with a Republican billionaire who exhorts her: Don’t look away from the aborted fetus. Look at it. Why is it not a baby?

The more we see abortion dressed up and “normalized”, the less we will have to (or even be able to) look at what is really happening. Which just might be the point.


Did Hillary Clinton Employ a Private Intelligence Gatherer Who Has Promoted Brett Kimberlin?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:36 pm

At the Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway has a piece titled: Meet the Men Behind Hillary Clinton’s Private ‘Spy Network’.

Two big Clinton stories landed last week. The first is that Hillary Clinton destroyed the electronic copies of her State Department emails on her private server after the State Department subpoenaed her emails. The second is that Hillary Clinton had an aide running a “secret spy network” that was, among other things, feeding her information on Benghazi, according to a report by Pro Publica and Gawker. Earlier this month, I noted the myriad ways that Clinton running her own private email server breathes new life into the Benghazi investigation, but this last revelation takes things to a whole new level.

Specifically, this new report suggests that three men — Sidney Blumenthal, Tyler Drumhiller, and Cody Shearer — were involved in her private intelligence gathering efforts. Each of these men has a reputation for being associated with scandal.

Regarding Shearer, Hemingway says:

And two, Slate also notes that “it was Shearer who, during the 1992 presidential campaign, introduced the world–through the unlikely medium of Doonesbury–to Brett Kimberlin. Kimberlin, you may recall, was the convicted bomber, habitual liar, and all-around sociopath who claimed to have sold drugs to Dan Quayle. Was Shearer acting on behalf of the legendary Clinton ‘opposition research’ outfit, which had floated damaging rumors during the ’92 primaries about Paul Tsongas’ health and Jerry Brown’s drug use? Or was he just an enthusiastic free-lancer?” In recent years, Kimberlin has been involved in number of frivolous lawsuits aimed at shutting down conservative blogs.

Kimberlin’s Justice Through Music has in the past claimed a relationship with the Hillary Clinton-era State Department:

MAY 24, 2012 – JTMP has been a participant in the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Programfor 3 years now, where citizens from around the world involved in the arts get to come to America and visit to learn about the role of arts in the US. This year we had visitors that came from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia to see how Justice Through Music Project uses art to raise awareness on issues, and to bring about social change. This year’s contingent had musicians, playwrights, and people involved in art production. We gave them a presentation and showed them many of our musical art videos that deal with politics and issues, while we spoke about how we operate and produce our art videos. We then showed them how we use this art on our website and YouTube channel to raise awareness on an issue to help bring about positive social change.

It would be interesting to know just how close that relationship was.

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act: How About a “General Freedom Restoration Act” Instead?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:10 pm

I’m not sure why Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is getting all this press when 19 other states and the federal government have similar laws.

But to me there is a more fundamental principle at stake. If the courts interpret laws to require makers of wedding cakes or photographers to participate in weddings that violate their religious beliefs, the courts are forcing these people to engage in labor against their will. I don’t believe courts should ever be doing that if a participant has not agreed to engage in the labor.

At its most basic level, our culture has begun to define “rights” not merely as people’s right to be left alone by the government, but as their entitlement to force others to do their bidding.

Thus, a “right” to health care is nothing more than using government coercion to force doctors to give their services to people for a non-market wage. (If they do it for a market wage, no “right” need be enforced.)

A “right” to affordable housing is nothing more than using government coercion to force property owners to provide housing at a non-market rent. Alternatively, this “right” can be vindicated by using government coercion to take money from citizens through compulsory measures (taxes) to subsidize rent. Either way, government is using coercive measures to force people to do things.

And a “right” to a wedding cake or photos is nothing more than using government coercion to force bakers or photographers to provide goods or services against their will.

There is nothing exalted or high-flown about this. It is simply one group using collective brute force to bend others to their will. To me, you shouldn’t need a “religious freedom” law to fight this. Mere “freedom” alone should suffice.

So: instead of a “Religious Freedom” Restoration Act, how about a “Freedom” Restoration Act? Let’s take away government’s power to coerce people to do things where it is not necessary to maintain order or vindicate property rights. A radical notion, no doubt, this idea of actual “freedom.” And yet, it is the principle we should always be striving for.

Shooting At NSA Headquarters At Fort Meade

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:09 am

[guest post by Dana]

An investigation is currently underway following a shooting at the entry gate of Fort Meade this morning that left one person dead and another one wounded. Bizarrely, two men dressed up as women used their SUV in an attempt to crash through the entry gates:

One person was killed and at least one other was injured Monday when shots were fired after two people in a vehicle tried to ram a gate at Fort Meade, a military installation in Anne Arundel County that houses the National Security Agency, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation.

Authorities did not release any details of exactly what happened, but law enforcement officials said police officers with the National Security Agency shot at the two people in the vehicle. One of them was killed, the officials said.

And, several hours into the investigation, officials are claiming that this does not appear to be terrorist-related:

“The shooting scene is contained, and we do not believe it is related to terrorism,” said Amy J. Thoreson, a spokeswoman for the FBI. She said the incident is being investigated by the FBI with NSA Police and other law enforcement agencies


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