Joe Biden’s Had a Spectacular Week

Biden being Biden. (AP)

Let’s briefly recap the week of Joe Biden, current vice president of the United States and the presumptive front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, shall we?

‘Tusk’ Review

Kevin Smith / AP

A few years back, Kevin Smith threw what can only be described as a snit fit regarding the critical reaction to Cop Out (2010). A rather dreadful, wholly generic, and utterly unfunny buddy “comedy” starring Bruce Willis (who reportedly walked all over Smith on set and mailed in his performance) and Tracy Morgan, critics savaged Cop Out.

Behold, the Most Terrifying Movie Prop Ever Put Up for Auction

This is not the most terrifying prop ever put up for auction. It's just kind of cool.

Confession: I’m a total sucker for Profiles in History’s Hollywood memorabilia auctions. I can’t actually afford anything in the auctions, mind you*; I just enjoy looking at all the crazy stuff up for sale. This is because I’m a big nerd. Sue me.

Anyway, I was flipping through the new catalog yesterday when I came across the creepiest prop I’ve ever seen up for sale. We’ll get to that in a minute; to get the full sense of revulsion you need to have some semblance of how these auctions proceed. For those of you not in the know, the first day of the auction usually involves vintage photographs, all of which go for rather shockingly high amounts of money. I’m not sure what one does with these photos; display them, I guess? With a one-off lot, such as the one below, that makes some sense:

The Ninth Circuit Versus Free Speech

He is definitely banned from California high schools on Cinco de Mayo.

You may recall some months back that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that agents of the government had the right to discriminate against students wearing American flag-themed apparel on the fifth of May because that particular sartorial choice angered another group of students. The second group of students threatened the first group of students with violence for their peaceable expression, causing the administration to censor the first group of students (who, I shall remind you, were guilty of aggressively wearing the American flag on American soil).

Over at National Review, David French notes that the Ninth Circuit has refused to overturn this absurd ruling en banc. While some will be tempted to incorrectly argue that students have no First Amendment rights, French notes why this is foolishness:

Congrats to Washington’s Baseball Team on Clinching the Division!

DC is Orioles Country

I just wanted to take a moment to praise the region’s oldest baseball franchise for clinching the toughest division in baseball last night. Despite ups and downs and injuries aplenty, The D.C.-area’s most-storied franchise has put together a miraculous season and won a division replete with consistent contenders. I’m talking, of course, about the Orioles. In …

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Call Your Office

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Over at the Federalist, Sean Davis has been slowly but credibly destroying Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reputation as a honest broker, the sort of truth-telling straight-shooter that we need in these dark days of ignorance. Today’s entry is the fourth in an apparently ongoing series of posts in which it is revealed that NDT, as his sciencebro fans call him, is just making stuff up, willy nilly. Here’s Sean:

Boycott ALL the Things!

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One of the mouth-breathing conspiracy theorists at Vice thinks you should boycott the NFL because a couple of NFL employees have had trouble with the law and some of the folks who are paid a great deal of money to play a game that they love of their own free will wind up with brain damage.

The mouthbreather raises a good point! We should hold all of our entertainments to these standards! Indeed, we should boycott all the things.

Booing Israel Used to Be in Bad Form

Ted Cruz IDC

I have to say, I’ve been a bit surprised by the reaction to Ted Cruz being booed off the stage for defending Israel at a conference of Middle Eastern Christians. Not at the booing itself, mind you (we’ll come back to that in a moment). But the reaction to the booing among certain quarters has been odd. I’m old enough to remember headlines like

Dems Boo God, Isreal

when Democrats booed the inclusion of language about Israel at their national convention in 2012. At the very least, the optics of the national gathering of the Democratic Party booing the Jewish State are terrible. And the optics of a gathering of Arab Christians with connections to various terror organizations and other unsavory, anti-Israel, anti-U.S. regimes who are trying to garner sympathy in the United States booing the invocation of Jewish and Christian unity are similarly terrible. Apologists for the In Defense of Christians conference have suggested that the audience was booing Cruz’s “hijacking” of the keynote address, but I dunno, man. You can watch the video, captured by the Brody File, for yourself here. I’ll tell you what I hear: at first, a smattering of applause accompanied by a smattering of outraged cries. To which Cruz says, “Those who hate Israel, hate America,” which prompts a much more vocal groan of outrage. Then Cruz says, “Those who hate Jews, hate Christians,” prompting even more boos.* Vociferously booing those two rather commonsense, unobjectionable statements means, to me, that there was a sizable contingent in the audience that feels that it is totally fine to denigrate Israel and support America, to denigrate Jews but love Christians. I’m glad a United States senator stood up to that sort of response.

‘The Drop’ Review

Tom Hardy and the dog Rocco / AP

It’s the simplest things that remind you of film’s primacy as a visual medium, things that simply don’t translate well to the written word: images of leaves of grass blowing in the wind, a subtle shift in lighting that darkens or brightens a mood. We feel these moments more than we actually notice them, letting the beauty or the dread sink into our gut as the images wash over our eyes.

Pumpkins Are Great. Lay Off Pumpkins, Jerks

Tastes like freedom, America (AP)

I am not a Pumpkin Spice Latte person. I like pumpkin pie okay, but it’s maybe my fourth favorite pie. I drink pumpkin beer, but I don’t really look forward to it all year or anything. Eating pumpkin seeds strikes me as weird, but it’s a free country, brother.

I lay all this out so you have some sense of where I’m coming from when I say that I find the anti-pumpkin animus in this country wholly bizarre and entirely out of proportion to the influx of pumpkin-related products on the market. Consider, for instance, this tweet from Kemberlee Kaye, one of my favorite tweeters: