Garry Trudeau, Call Your Office

Noted out of touch Boomer dolt Garry Trudeau (AP)

I realize that Doonesbury is nothing more than liberal pap designed to make Baby Boomers feel good about themselves—yes, yes, Garry Trudeau, Republicans are squares and warmongers, we get it, you’re from the 60s, get out, back to the 60s, there’s no place for you here in the future!—but even still, this weekend’s strip is pretty egregiously terrible. Check it out, it’ll only take you a couple of seconds to read.

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A Rather Random Best-Of List

Photo credit: Barry Wetcher

Some idle thoughts on things that were great (and some that were not so) in the year in entertainment.

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Only About Half of Troops Say Sexual Assault Is a Problem in the Military

Marines in Afghanistan, 2001 / AP

The Military Times’ long piece yesterday on the changing culture of the U.S. military got plenty of attention with the shocking poll numbers it revealed about President Obama. The president’s approval rating among the troops has cratered to 15 percent this year, down from an unspectacular—but at least not historically low—35 percent in 2009.

But the story is much longer and more interesting than just a single presidential approval rating, and deserves a full read for what its thorough reporting and analysis suggests about the current condition of the military. The president’s approval rating is set in the context of the social transformations that he and his appointees have committed to bringing about in the Department of Defense. The same poll that revealed President Obama’s grim standing was also used to question troops about their thoughts on the repeal of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell, integrating women into combat arms, and the military’s efforts to deal with sexual assault.

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‘The Babadook’: The Best Film About Depression Ever Made

baba2

Spoilers for The Babadook below.

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Underachiever of the Year: Hillary Clinton

Biggest loser.

It’s been an eventful year, folks. We’ve already recognized Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge as Couple of the Year for their efforts to destroy the dangerous myth that, in America, massive unearned wealth always translates into success. And be sure to stay tuned as we announce the winners of the Free Beacon’s 2014 Man of the Year awards.

Until then, we have no choice but to single out an individual who repeatedly failed to live up to expectations in 2014. The Free Beacon award for Underachiever of the Year goes to: Hillary Clinton (public speaker).

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The Year in #VoxFails

Idiocy, presented by GE!

It was with some hesitance that I tweeted out this weekend’s Really Big Vox Story:

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Slobbering Media Hero-Worships Stephen Colbert

AP

Left-wing television personality and failed politician Stephen Colbert aired his final show on Thursday. Unemployed millennials and members of the media were hardest hit. Salon called the finale “pitch perfect … a hilarious moving coda.” Reporters at the New York Times made a video in which they gushed groveling gushy gush about the cultural significance of Stephen …

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Nerdy Dragon RPG Neither Proves Nor Disproves Gamergate Gripes

Dragon Age

I just read two competing reviews of a dragon-based role playing game. And, what’s worse, the main focus of both reviews is the political implications of the dungeons and dragons rip off. So, dear reader, after the kind of torture I just went through you’d better read this entire piece.

I mean, this is an actual line in one of the reviews: “healing magic, for example, has been entirely removed from the game.”

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Signposts of a Broken Culture

Kim Jong Un

So, Sony has pulled The Interview—its upcoming comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong Un by James Franco and Seth Rogen—due to threats of violence. A bunch of hackers who appear to be affiliated with North Korea warned of a 9/11-style terrorist attack if the release went forward. Many people (including myself) are not thrilled by the development and have called the studio cowardly for kowtowing to a gout-riddled tinpot dictator with a horrible haircut presiding over “a nation of racist dwarfs.”

Others responded, rightly, that Sony and the theater chains engaging in this cowardly behavior would be sued out of existence if screenings went ahead and such an attack were to go down. Jonathan Chait suggested the United States should promise to make whole any organization that was sued as a result of an (incredibly unlikely) attack. That’s not a terrible idea. I’d like to focus my attention, briefly, on this entirely accurate, utterly insane sentence of Chait’s, however:

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Self-Important Hipsters Biggest Losers of Cuba Deal

Bienvenido al futuro (Havana, Cuba c. 2017)

In a surprising move, President Obama announced Wednesday that the United States would resume full diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Many praised President Obama’s decision to ease travel restrictions between the two countries and negotiate an end to the decades-old American embargo.

Others, including Cuban-American Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), were outraged, as were many former prisoners of the Castro regime.

They weren’t alone.

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ANALYSIS: Hillary Clinton Is a Terrible Politician

AP

Celebrity homeowner Hillary Clinton is a terrible politician, a Free Beacon analysis has found. This is one of many reasons why some observers have concluded she will never be president.

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Unlike Iran, Cuba Takes ‘Yes’ for an Answer

AP

Negotiating with people who oppose everything that America ought to support has always been a fetish for the Obama administration. Candidate Obama made it quite clear in his 2008 campaign that, in his view, American foreign policy was plagued by unilateralism and triumphalism. Humility and dialogue were needed. The United States, in his view, had been morally compromised by the Bush administration, and an Obama administration would be able to achieve impressive foreign policy results simply by reaching out to foreign regimes we had foolishly considered to be adversaries, when all they were was misunderstood.

It has been a very disappointing six years for these hopes. Things have hardly ever been worse with (deep breath) Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, most of the Middle East—with a special mention for Syria—not to mention with regimes that ought to be friends, or at least friendly, like the governments of Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Israel, and a terrified eastern Europe.

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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison 5

My must read of the day is “Amal Alamuddin is Mrs. Clooney. Barbara Walters finds that fascinating.,” by Christie D’Zurilla, in the Los Angeles Times.

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The Sony Email Hack Is Arguably Worse than the Nude Celeb Photo Hack

Kim Jong Un

It has been interesting to watch a number of the people who decried “the fappening”—the theft and release of nude photos of dozens of female celebrities—rally round the wagons and defend their reporting on the hacked Sony emails.

After all, we’re dealing with remarkably similar situations. Both the fappening and the Sony email dump have been described by the media as “leaks”—suggesting intent on behalf of some party to the conversations to get the offending documents out there—as opposed to “hacks,” or, better, “thefts.” (Words matter, people.) With the theft of the nude photos, you have personal, private communiques in the forms of photos that were stolen and widely disseminated for little more than the titillation of third parties. The theft of the Sony emails is arguably even more troubling: We have a situation in which private communiques in the form of emails were stolen in order to a.) extort money from a business, and b.) blackmail that business into not releasing an implicitly political document (The Interview, a movie about the assassination of North Korea’s tinpot dictator).

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Hillary Clinton Is the Worst, Data Shows

The face of failure.

The infamous People issue featuring Hillary Clinton was total flop, according to data. The cover created some controversy. For example, some argued it was a subtle attempt by People to portray Clinton as elderly and differently-abled by creating the impression that she was using an old person’s walker. Efforts to deny the walker claim only served to raise further questions. Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus investigated the matter.

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