BY: David Rutz
Two Democratic senators—both women, both eyed as likely 2020 presidential candidates—made strong statements recently that appeared to send an important message to the party: The time of the Clintons is over.Read More
Two Democratic senators—both women, both eyed as likely 2020 presidential candidates—made strong statements recently that appeared to send an important message to the party: The time of the Clintons is over.
And just as quickly, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) ran so far away from those statements that it sent another message: We're terrified of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
First, Warren, the Wall Street warrior who can't say three sentences without some cliché about "fighting," agreed with former Democratic National Committee interim chair Donna Brazile's contention that the 2016 primary was "rigged" for Hillary Clinton.
Warren bluntly said, "Yes," when CNN host Jake Tapper asked her Nov. 2 if she agreed with Brazile's mournful book declaring the primary was "rigged."
But around the same time, Brazile began bizarrely claiming she never used the word "rigged" in her book—she did—and insisting that it was indeed a fair fight between Clinton and Bernie Sanders—she wrote it wasn't.
"While there was some bias at the DNC, the overall 2016 primary process was fair and Hillary made history," she told MassLive Nov. 9.
One week after saying Sanders got cheated, Warren gave an answer that read like a Clinton Foundation press release.
Then there's Gillibrand, who made waves when asked by the New York Times last week if she believed Bill Clinton should have resigned over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. "Ms. Gillibrand took a long pause and said, ‘"Yes, I think that is the appropriate response,"" the paper reported.
Treated in the media as a bold bit of party-bucking, her statement was reported as sending "shockwaves" through the Democrats. Even Hillary Clinton said of the comment: "I'm not exactly sure what she was trying to say," which I read as, "Damn, Kirsten."
But when MSNBC's Kasie Hunt repeated Gillibrand's comment back to her in a recent interview, she didn't mention the Clintons once and instead focused on how sexual harassment is bad and we must have a conversation about it.
"My point is that the tolerance that we had 25 years ago, what was allowed 25 years ago, will not be tolerated today, is not allowed today," Gillibrand said. "And that we have to have the kind of oversight and accountability that society needs so that we can protect people in the workplace, that people can function without having an unsafe work environment."
"So you're saying President Clinton created an unsafe work environment in the White House?" Hunt pressed.
"No, I'm saying that this conversation we are having today is really important, and that the kind of behavior that was tolerated a long time ago would never be tolerated today, and we can't allow it to be tolerated today," Gillibrand said.
"Elected leaders should not be held to the lowest standard. They should be held to the highest standard," she added.
Gillibrand had an opportunity to put this new standard to the test earlier in the interview, when she was asked if Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) should resign after being accused of groping and kissing a woman without her consent in 2006.
She didn't say he should resign, but she did say she was "personally disappointed."
And here's how Gillibrand wrapped up the interview. Like Warren's comments, it reads like a hostage situation:
HUNT: One final question on the question of the Clintons. You said that you're going to take donations from Senator Franken that you've received and give them to charity. Do you think you should do the same with the donations you've received from the Clintons over the years, or is that a different situation?
GILLIBRAND: Well, I admire Hillary Clinton. She is one of my greatest role models. She is someone I campaigned very hard—who I wish was president today. I think she's inspired women and girls all across the world, and I will continue to work with her in every capacity that I can.
HUNT: So it sounds like no, you won't be giving back that money from the Clintons the same way.
GILLIBRAND: I think Hillary Clinton is a extraordinary leader who has literally fought for women and girls her whole life and cares deeply about everything we talked about today.
Warren and Gillibrand are looking over their shoulders at a dynasty marked by scandal, corruption, and the most embarrassing political defeat in American history. What are they afraid of?Read Less
Last week I served as a judge for an international whiskey competition, to which friends and colleagues expressed all manner of encouragement. “Lucky you!” said one. “Lucky bastard,” joked another.Read More
Earlier this week I served as a judge for the World Whiskies Awards, to which friends and colleagues expressed all manner of encouragement. "Lucky you!" said one. "Lucky bastard," joked another. "F—ing outrage," said Washington Free Beacon executive editor Sonny Bunch. Unless you’re a teetotaler, it’s a terrific gig, I get it. But, honestly, rating whiskies from 10 in the morning 'til 3 in the afternoon is hard work.
Oh, good, you’re still reading! As I said, it’s tough being a judge of good whiskey. First off, there’s the quantity: We were broken up into tables of three and four judges and assigned different categories. My table handled two sets of rye (this worked out considering I just wrote on the subject), corn, three-grain, and wheat. In other words, five rounds with each round consisting of anywhere from four to nine glasses. Fortunately each table had carafes of water and a basket of crackers, both of which I consumed plentifully—especially the salty crackers. At some point, I pondered, there must be a cracker competition going on somewhere and the judges are cleansing their palates with bourbon.
In addition, there was a buffet lunch and spit cups. I never did make use of the latter but, on the other hand, I never finished any of my 30 or so glasses.
This brings me to the tasting itself. My main concern was having drastically different responses to the spirits from those of my fellow judges—one is a distiller and the other a whiskey writer based in Louisville. We agreed to sample in silence and at the end compare notes.
Crème anglaise. Burnt caramelized sugar. Saddle leather. Those were just some of the words used by my fellow judges to describe our whiskies. My initial descriptions, on the other hand, included "edgy," "spicy," "high alcohol," and "slight burn." But we also had a numeric component—scoring each sample on a scale of 0-10, decimals permitted. This is what I truly feared: that the other judges’ scores would be radically opposed to mine. But, as it turned out, we had fairly similar scores.
On two occasions we identified the same sample of something none of us liked—either it was not in the right category or there was something off about it. My colleagues’ descriptions were far better than mine, including "burnt rubber," "plastic bags burning in a campfire," and "Band-Aids." Beware of the smell of ripe bananas, warned one of the judges, as it may be an indicator of heads and not hearts. Perhaps the whiskey spent too much time in the barrel? It could also be a cooperage problem.
After a few sips, I started to pick up the nuances. I remembered to make observations on the color, character, nose, complexity, and finish. My tasting notes had words like "caramel corn" and "apples." And I’d notice one of the judges had likewise written down these same words. It was reassuring (but again, our scoring was fairly similar throughout).
Just when we thought it was over, we learned there would be a few tie-breaker rounds. In one of these categories, a truly outstanding traditional bourbon was pitted against one with a rather startling flavor profile. In the end, I said it reminded me of grass—verdant and undulating. At least that’s the image that came to my mind. One table over a judge mentioned "grass" as well. None of us knows the identities of these whiskies, but that last one I hope to encounter again.
We judged American whiskies, but there were other competitions going on in Canada and Japan. Our nominees go on to England for the finals. But as our generous hosts reminded us, the true winners are supposed to be the consumers. Our aim was to single out whiskies we think others would want to try at a bar or purchase at their local liquor stores. I hope we did just that.Read Less
Scientists are once again sounding the alarm that humans are destroying the planet, and we’re heading towards a “mass extinction event.”Read More
Scientists are once again sounding the alarm that humans are destroying the planet, and we're heading towards a "mass extinction event."
"We the undersigned, senior members of the world's scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead," wrote over 15,000 scientists from 184 countries—an irrelevant fact to make it sound like a consensus. "A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated."
Sounds dire. But don't worry, they're always wrong.
The group called their letter "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice." You might wonder why this is their second notice. What did they predict the first time?
They warned of water shortages. "Global supplies of clean water have increased" to 89 percent. They warned fisheries would collapse. "The per-capita supply of fish worldwide climbed roughly 30 percent." They warned of becoming "trapped in spirals of environmental decline, poverty, and unrest, leading to social, economic, and environmental collapse." World hunger is down significantly since 1990, despite population growth of 1.9 billion. They warned of "widespread injury to humans, forests, and crops" caused by air pollution. In America, air pollution is "down since 1992 for every single pollutant the EPA measures."
They warned of "stratospheric ozone depletion." Even the World Scientists have to admit they got this wrong.
"Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse," the scientists now write.
That's a big exception. The ozone hole has shriveled to its smallest peak since 1988.
Like the first "warning to humanity," the letter is an anticapitalist, antifamily screed. For environmentalists, it always seems to come down to population control.
The 1992 letter's prescription for a doomed planet was, of course, stop having children. "We must stabilize population," implement family planning, and "ensure sexual equality, and guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions," they said.
Environmentalists have long warned us about overpopulation, and they were wrong about that, too. Here are other doomsday climate predictions that never panned out.
Paul R. Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist, published "The Population Bomb" in 1968, warning that "humankind stood on the brink of apocalypse" because of too many babies. Ehrlich predicted that 65 million Americans would starve to death during the 1970s, and "England will not exist in the year 2000." He ended with his gravest prediction: "Sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come."
"As you may have noticed," observed the New York Times over four decades later, "England is still with us. So is India. Hundreds of millions did not die of starvation in the '70s."
Unsurprisingly, Ehrlich was a signer on both the 1992 and 2017 letters.
Al Gore's Vanishing Polar Ice Caps
In 2009, Al Gore said the Arctic ice cap would melt by 2014. "There is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap during some of the summer months could be completely ice free within the next five to seven years," Gore said at a United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen.
Gore based his prediction off of models conducted by Dr. Wieslav Maslowski, a climatologist. He was quickly condemned for making the prediction, as Dr. Maslowski said, "I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this."
Other "experts" gave us two more years than Gore. They were wrong, too.
It turns out there is "far more" sea ice in the Arctic now than before. Last year, there was 1.6 million square miles of sea ice, 21 percent more "than the lowest point in 2012," the Telegraph reported.
New York ‘Underwater' By 2018
Jim Hansen, perhaps the greatest alarmist who coined the phrase "global warming" (his honorary title has since changed to "father of climate change awareness") told author Bob Reiss in 1988 that New York City would be underwater in 20 years.
"The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water," Hansen said. "And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won't be there. The trees in the median strip will change."
Hansen has not stopped his alarmism, but he has pushed back his timeframe about 100 years. In 2015, he released a study claiming New York, London, and Shanghai will be uninhabitable due to sea level rise "before the end of the century."
So New York will still be here next year. But other than that, Hansen isn't sure about anything else. "Will the full-fledged consequences be in 50 years, 100 years, 150 years?" he told New York magazine in 2016. "I can't imagine it will be greater than that range."
NASA has reported that sea-level rise has slowed by roughly 20 percent in the past decade.
Rachel Carson's ‘Silent Spring'
In the 1960s environmentalist Rachel Carson's propaganda campaign got the pesticide DDT banned, based on her book "Silent Spring." The book predicted DDT would kill birds, animals, cause birth defects, and lead to the sudden death of children.
Millions of children have died—not from DDT, but from malaria that the pesticide could have prevented.
"Since the mid 1970s, when DDT was eliminated from global eradication efforts, tens of millions of people have died from malaria unnecessarily: most have been children less than five years old," according to the Daily Beast.
Carson's warnings about the dangers of DDT were wrong. Studies in Europe, Canada, and the United States "have since shown that DDT didn't cause the human diseases Carson had claimed."Read Less
Look, I’m not saying that this episodes ends with the revelation that JVL, Vic, and I joined forces to murder Jonah Goldberg on a fancy train for accumulating more reviews for his podcast in a few short weeks than we have in over a year. But I’m not NOT saying it either. You’ll just have to listen to the whole thing to find out. And if you want to save Jonah, you can do so by leaving a review of the Substandard here.Read More
Look, I'm not saying that this episodes ends with the revelation that JVL, Vic, and I joined forces to murder Jonah Goldberg on a fancy train for accumulating more reviews for his podcast in a few short weeks than we have in over a year. But I'm not NOT saying it either. You'll just have to listen to the whole thing to find out. And if you want to save Jonah, you can do so by leaving a review of the Substandard here.Read Less
Mainstream American media and state-run communist outlets in China are on the same page in declaring China as the new leader in the fight against climate change.Read More
Mainstream American media and state-run communist outlets in China are on the same page in declaring China as the new leader in the fight against climate change.
The headlines are strikingly similar. "As U.S. backs away from climate pledges, India and China step up," declared the Washington Post. "U.S. withdrawal from Paris accord offers China chance to lead world on climate change," said CBS. "China Poised for Leadership on Climate Change After U.S. Reversal," according to National Geographic.
"China, Germany Step Up as U.S. Retires From World Leadership," noted Bloomberg.
China's leading state-run newspapers agree. "China a leader in tackling climate change," read a headline from the Xinhua news agency, citing a United Nations official. "China to take higher-profile role in fight against climate change: Experts," according to the People's Daily.
On Sunday, the New York Times listed China as number one for "filling the void" to become a "climate change leader" since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the one-sided Paris climate agreement.
"When President Trump announced in June that the United States would withdraw from the Paris agreement, America officially ceded its global leadership on climate change," the Times wrote.
China, "many political analysts" agree, is picking up the slack, according to the Times.
"China has indeed moved dramatically on climate change, both to meet its own pledge under the Paris accord to cap carbon emissions by 2030, and to start the world's largest carbon market and swiftly expand the use of electric cars," the Times continued. "In recent months, China has hosted ministerial-level meetings on clean energy and joined Canada and the European Union to lead discussions on climate."
It's not until the last paragraph that the Times notes there may be reason for "skepticism" around China fighting climate change.
"While the country is ahead of its Paris target, China still burns more coal than any other country." Oh.
Before the media crowns China as Leader in the fight against climate change, they could note its track record. China is the biggest polluter in the world. China's air pollution is literally killing its people. Fossil fuel emissions recently reached an all-time high "driven largely by more fossil fuel burning in China."
China has received umpteenth praise from the media for cancelling 103 new coal-fired power plants earlier this year. In reality, the country is ramping up its coal production.
China is building 700 new coal plants at home, part of a total 1,600 new coal-fired power plants planned around the world.
"China's energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade," the Times reported in July.
And if Syria joining the Paris accord is not enough to make the deal laughable, let's revisit what the Obama era agreement asked of China.
China could increase its emissions until 2030, while former president Barack Obama agreed to slash U.S. emissions by more than a quarter by 2025. The United States would also have to redistribute $3 billion to developing countries.
And while the United States would have had to limit actual carbon emissions, China and India merely have to reduce "carbon intensity," or the amount of carbon emissions per unit of GDP.
"That means China's emissions can keep growing as the economy expands, but at a slower rate than the growth in gross domestic product," the Times reported.
Greenpeace has called reducing carbon intensity "meaningless" in an effort to actually reducing carbon emissions.
It's very easy for China to praise the deal and take "leadership" on it when they essentially have to change nothing. Of course it's state-run media will continue to hail China's new leadership status. Maybe American media shouldn't do the same.Read Less
Taylor Swift, a musician popular with “young people,” is not nearly political enough for the haggard stooges employed by a media-industrial complex thirsty for fresh #content:Read More
Taylor Swift, a musician popular with "young people," is not nearly political enough for the haggard stooges employed by a media-industrial complex thirsty for fresh #content:
I have to say: I'm totally #TeamMarie on this one. AYFKM with this, Tay Tay? Here is a brief-and-incomplete list of things I need Taylor Swift to weigh in on IMMEDIATELY.
- What is the appropriate marginal tax rate for high-earning individuals and should corporations be allowed to repatriate funds without taking a tax hit on the earnings?
- Please explain in 200 words or fewer your thoughts on dumping nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain site. Alternately, dedicate at least two verses to this issue in a freestyle pop song on tour. Thank you.
- Do you believe Russian bots have conspired to influence American politics? FOLLOW UP QUESTION: Are the MAGA trolls more aggravating than the Beyhive? (The correct answer, of course, is no; the Beyhive is the greatest threat to humanity that exists.)
- Do you think Rotten Tomatoes is right to hold the fresh/rotten score for Justice League? I mean, look, obviously Disney and Marvel are paying off the corrupt critics of this nation to slag Zack Snyder's various masterpieces, but there are still some ethical questions involved given WB's (extremely small) stake in the critic-aggregating site. The thing about it is the lamestream media has a hard time accepting that a comic book movie can have deeper thoughts than IRON MAN PUNCH STRONG you know? Jesus, it really is gross, and I for one am glad that … sorry, what were we talking about, Ms. Swift?
- Is Metallica's best album Master of Puppets or Ride the Lightning? FOLLOW UP QUESTION: Hardwired … to Self-Destruct was actually kind of good, wasn't it?
- Should Bill Clinton's myriad transgressions give conservatives a free pass when it comes to Roy Moore? I mean, c'mon, fair play and all that?
- Roy Moore is a creep though, right?
- I mean. C'mon. 14-year-olds, dude.
- Do you believe that Donald Trump's trip to Asia was a success? What would you have had the president discuss with the leader of China? Do you concur with the commander in chief that Kim Jong Un is a fat dick?
- lol hillary amirite way to blow it
I have so many more missives, but this is a good start. Why isn't Taylor Swift answering the questions her fans demand of her? Why is she content to just sing songs and make money? Doesn't she know that useless jagoffs on Twitter need something to argue about? Doesn't she understand she should actively work to antagonize half (or more!) of her audience in order to satisfy the unsatisfiable editors of awful women's magazines and their moronic followers on social media?
Silence is no longer an option, Ms. Swift. This is a new era. Get with the times.Read Less
As reported on NBC News, Vice President Mike Pence has been in regular communication with former vice presidents Joe Biden and Dick Cheney.Read More
As reported on NBC News, Vice President Mike Pence has been in regular communication with former vice presidents Joe Biden and Dick Cheney. The Washington Free Beacon has obtained a partial transcript from the group's first official meeting, which took place this morning:
First Meeting of the ViP Club
The Vice President’s Residence
One Observatory Circle
November 10, 2017
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you both to the first official meeting of the ViP Club.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Is that we’re calling it, Mike? Because, God bless ya, I think we can do better.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: It sounds like a strip club.
PENCE: Well, I'm, uh, certainly open to suggestions.
BIDEN: It needs to convey optimism, hope, and change.
CHENEY: You mean like Recovery Summer?
PENCE: Do you have a suggestion, Dick?
CHENEY: The First Order. It’s short and sweet but conveys the enormous imperial power we actually wield.
BIDEN: That’s a good point. We are a big [EXPLETIVE] deal.
PENCE: How about the Breakfast Club? Or is that already taken?
CHENEY: Speaking of breakfast, what are we having? I’m starving. And you better not say it’s continental or I will blow a hole through your skull. You know I’m capable of doing it.
BIDEN: I’d love a Jimmy Dean sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich. That’s what I’d get on the Amtrak Acela.
CHENEY: Sounds healthy. I’ll have the same.
PENCE: Actually our choices are steel-cut Irish oatmeal or blueberry yogurt parfait.
BIDEN: Believe it or not, I had a blueberry yogurt parfait once—on the Amtrak Acela, go figure! I told the conductor, this articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy who happened to be
Earlier this week Politico profiled Keith Schiller, President Trump’s former “body man,” who recently testified before the House Intelligence Committee.Read More
Earlier this week Politico profiled Keith Schiller, President Trump's former "body man," who recently testified before the House Intelligence Committee. Politico‘s Annie Karni emphasized Schiller's close proximity to the president—not only did he have Trump’s ear, but he also had a pulse on the man, his mood depending on the hour.
But tucked in the third paragraph was a bombshell:
And when the White House kitchen staff couldn't match the satisfaction of a quarter-pounder with cheese (no pickles, extra ketchup) and a fried apple pie, it was Schiller, bodyguard and Trump whisperer, who would head down New York Avenue to McDonald's on a stealth fast food run.
First of all, it's a pro move by someone with years of experience consuming fast-food to request no pickles, extra ketchup. He'll get a custom job versus something that's been sitting in a heating tray for 15 minutes.
But more important: Was McDonald's really back to selling deep-fried apple pies? The answer is no. McDonald's media relations manager Andrea Abate directed me to information highlighting the history of this fine delicacy.
Based on a recipe by Knoxville franchisee Litton Cochran*, the apple pie debuted on the McDonald's menu in 1968—the company's first-ever dessert item. According to McDonald's, "the original fried Apple Pie was replaced in 1992 with the baked Apple Pie due to customer preference and trends."
Customer preference and trends. It's a wonder the Golden Arches didn’t start selling SnackWells. But suppose the latest trend is a return to deep-fried apple pies? After all, we are currently reembracing butter over substitutes. In addition, the original fried apple pie has been available outside the United States well after 1992. I had one on the island of St. Maarten in 1999 and in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 2013. (Yes, the experiences were that vivid.)
So why must the United States suffer? I lamented this change-over as far back as 1996 in the Weekly Standard. If McDonald's wants to fend off the competition, the key is not to go healthy (salads and wraps are a losing battle) but to embrace the flavor (think Carl's Jr.).
For the purposes of research and investigation, I walked over to my nearest McDonald's and ordered their apple pie. Although it was warm and sweet, the pie was dryer and pastier than its predecessor.
On the corporate website, there's no hint of an impending reversion to the classic recipe. Instead, it's noted that "McDonald's Culinary Team is currently testing a new recipe using sliced apples (versus diced apples) with a lattice top crust" (pictured atop this story). This could be interesting. This could be tasty. But it can't possibly have that combination of crispiness, chewiness, and sweetness that comes from a golden-fried apple pie.
As much as President Trump loves his McDonald's today, I am betting he has fond memories of the McDonald's of yesteryear—when the french fries were cooked in beef tallow and the apple pies were fried. Using his powers, perhaps he can make the latter happen? I’m betting all it'd take is a tweet to McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook.
The president's supporters are frustrated with the inaction coming from our capital—the inability to repeal and replace Obamacare or push through tax reform. But bringing back the McDonald's fried apple pie would be a step in the right direction.
*We owe a lot to those franchisees, who straddled the line between obeying corporate and daring to innovate on their own. As Eric Schlosser notes in Fast Food Nation, "Ronald McDonald, the Big Mac, the Egg McMuffin, and the Filet-O-Fish sandwich were all developed by local franchisees."Read Less
On this latest episode of the Substandard (subscribe, leave a review, tell your friends), we discuss Thor: Ragnarok, which, over the weekend, smashed the competition.Read More
On this latest episode of the Substandard (subscribe, leave a review, tell your friends), we discuss Thor: Ragnarok, which, over the weekend, smashed the competition. I mean, it really hammers home the message that comic book movies deliver. But it also helps that Thor featured some electrifying performances. Okay, that's it for "Gene."
JVL loved Thor: Ragnarok, calling it laugh-out-loud funny. Which is what particularly bothered Sonny—should Thor even be funny? Not that anyone one denies Chris Hemsworth's comedic chops—or the way Jeff Goldblum does Jeff Goldblum (remember Vibes with Cyndi Lauper?).
Elsewhere in the episode we discuss the ethics of buying fake Lego—namely the identical blocks sold by the Chinese company Lepin at a significantly cheaper price than the Danish original. It's a legal mess, needless to say, but if I were a lawyer for Lepin, my defense would be, "It's a homage!" Sonny says it's immoral to partake in this sort of shoddy commerce. Jonathan can't wait for the arrival of his Lepin Avengers carrier. (Sonny says the real problem is spending so much money on … toys.)
But this episode offers advice too! Following my Saturday night bender in New York City, Sonny and I share tips on how to survive day-long drinking. (Sonny emphasizes hydration and Motrin; I stress consistency of spirit, though I don't even follow my own advice and ended up eating a fried pickle off the floor of a pub.)
The front page of the New York Times Monday morning was shocking. A woman won the New York City marathon! Impossible!Read More
The front page of the New York Times Monday morning was shocking. A woman won the New York City marathon! Impossible!
The Times special marathon section certainly gave that impression, too.
Google "who won the New York City marathon?" and Shalane Flanagan's name comes up first. And don't get me wrong: Her time of 2 hours 26 minutes 53 seconds was impressive. And she was the first American to win the women's race in 40 years. Not bad.
But a woman did not finish first in the NYC marathon. Flanagan's time was 16 minutes slower than the winner of the New York City marathon men's race, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor of Kenya.
Kamworor's win is buried by the Times, relegated to page 3 of the special section. The Times, and the rest of the media, neglects to note that five American men beat their self-declared winner Flanagan.
But never mind, the headlines all tell the same story: A woman won the NYC marathon!
"American woman wins NYC Marathon for 1st time in 40 years," CNN reported. A reader has to get six paragraphs in to realize Flanagan won the women's title.
"An American Woman Just Won the NYC Marathon for the First Time Since 1977," wrote Time.
"1st American woman to win NYC Marathon in 40 years calls victory a ‘pinch me' moment," said ABC News.
ESPN doesn't even mention there were two different races, with different start times.
The headlines all seem surprising and uplifting (Go USA!). Until you realize that of course a woman won the women's race. It actually happens every year.Read Less
Yesterday saw the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Park for Lost Tourists. As has been reported, the Eisenhower memorial project has been a mess from the beginning, and now in the usual silly ceremony of shiny shovels shoved into dirt the mess is moving from the noumenal to the phenomenal—it’s not just a …Read More
Yesterday saw the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Park for Lost Tourists. As has been reported, the Eisenhower memorial project has been a mess from the beginning, and now in the usual silly ceremony of shiny shovels shoved into dirt the mess is moving from the noumenal to the phenomenal—it's not just a bad idea anymore, folks. Frank Gehry's steel "tapestry" will, eventually, hang from massive concrete pillars clad in limestone condoms and depict the "Cliffs of Pointe du Hoc," which is the arty way of saying Normandy, emphasis on the rocks. While we agree that if you squint you can tell these are cliffs, we aren't sure we'd say that's the obvious interpretation, and we certainly wouldn't say the tapestry is a monument to Gen. Eisenhower's leadership at D-Day without being told. So, here are five other things the big net actually looks like:
1. The thing you pulled from the drain
You know what we're talking about and don't pretend you don't. It's hair and nail clippings and floss and God knows what else suspended in a viscous film of soap fats and toothpaste phlegm. It looks like someone put a desiccated rat through a taffy pull and dipped it in oil; you hope they're going to burn it because—damn, do I have to keep looking at this?—burn it already! Unfortunately the thing you pulled from your drain doesn't light, so you have to choose between flushing (please, oh, please, go down) and the trashcan, hoping it won't in fact crawl back out.
2. Your little cousin's Thanksgiving plate
This is actually your plate but we're all friends here; no one wants you sent back to the kids’ table. Mashed potatoes, turkey fibers, stuffing with the celery picked out—before it goes down the gullet it's the best building material there is. Mix and mash and fork scratch and knife pat your way to a castle. Cranberries make for great little soldiers, and so maybe this is indirectly a decent tribute to Ike; after all, Gehry insisted on including a youthful statue of the president at every stage of the design process—did young Eisenhower play with his food? Considering the decorum of the man, probably not. You, sorry, your cousin, will just have to shape up.
3. A much-abused steel sponge
Not a hard connection to make, considering the materials—"steel tapestry," ah, yes, looks just like the Bayeux—but we're being thorough here. The question this raises, though, is what exactly gave this steel sponge such a beating? What enormous pot was Frank Gehry scouring? A puzzle, until one remembers Gehry's other work and realizes that those tortured structures didn't look so soul-killing by accident. They were designed to cry out to heaven for justice. Something had to scrape away any humanity or proportion or natural order they may have once accidentally contained. Looks like now we know what did.
4. Our collective aesthetic scab
Maybe we're being too harsh with Gehry; he is, after all, a "starchitect," and surely wouldn't deconstruct conventional monumental architecture just to be sadistic. There must be a reason for his violence against normal standards of beauty and civic narrative construction. Perhaps this tangle of wire is a representation of postmodernity's aesthetic scab. The terrors of the twentieth century wounded our collective psyches, and artists, seeking authenticity, gleefully joined in, picking at the scab every time our bleeding stopped. Maybe Gehry's just showing us how self-aware he is, as he violates all the classical sensibilities President Dwight D. Eisenhower held in honor.
5. That weird water stain in your apartment
We got a little high-concept there for a bit, so let's bring things back down to the concrete, in this case, maybe literally. It might be in your laundry facility, or by the building's dumpsters, or just on the ceiling in a corner, but it's an unexpected discoloration that looks damp somehow even when it's dry. It doesn't smell, and you don't think it's why you keep getting sick, but you also didn't know concrete or plaster or linoleum could turn that color—is that Xanadu? Anyway, you should probably talk to somebody about this.Read Less
In the latest episode of The Substandard, we talked a bit more about Halloween—my expertly drafted mix of sugar and chocolate decisively CRUSHED Jonathan V. Last in the candy draft vote, it should be noted—and I ranted about Suburbicon and Hollywood’s reliance on the wicked, evil, no good very bad suburbs as a setting and plot device. A bit more on that after the embed:Read More
In the latest episode of The Substandard, we talked a bit more about Halloween—my expertly drafted mix of sugar and chocolate decisively CRUSHED Jonathan V. Last in the candy draft vote, it should be noted—and I ranted about Suburbicon and Hollywood's reliance on the wicked, evil, no good very bad suburbs as a setting and plot device. A bit more on that after the embed:
Look, as a child of the suburbs I thought that trashing the burbs was kind of cheeky and fun. But then I, like, grew up? And realized it was a weak trope that is all-too-often hackishly deployed? Anthony Lane, as is his wont, said it quicker and more effectively than I did in my review:
As a seasoned moviegoer, you know what to expect. Whenever your gaze is led down ranks of immaculate houses, from lawn to shining lawn, you brace yourself for a glimpse of the dark underbelly of middle-class America. (Anybody wishing to see the belly itself, or clinging to the now scandalous notion that some folks who dwelt in the belly led decent and untraumatized lives, will have to rely on a secret stash of sitcoms.)
It's just so … predictable. Unless you're going to do something interesting or amusing with the idea (like the Coens in A Serious Man or Raising Arizona) or something actually scary (like the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks or Poltergeist) just let it go, guys. We get it: Los Angeles and Hollywood are where you go to flee the soullessness of suburbia. Sure, you have to put up with some rapes and harassment and other CRAZY SHENANIGANS, but hey: It's totally worth it!
Anyway, Suburbicon is bad. Don't go see it.Read Less
BY: Andrew Kugle
Vanity Fair’s Gaberiel Sherman published a bombshell story Wednesday saying the president’s allies fear that impeachment or removal from office is a real possibility. MSNBC covered Sherman’s bombshell report as “breaking news.” When I was reading the story, I started counting up all of the anonymous sources Sherman quotes. It was a rare instance for Sherman actually to name his …Read More
Vanity Fair's Gaberiel Sherman published a bombshell story Wednesday saying the president's allies fear that impeachment or removal from office is a real possibility.
MSNBC covered Sherman's bombshell report as "breaking news."
When I was reading the story, I started counting up all of the anonymous sources Sherman quotes. It was a rare instance for Sherman actually to name his source. There were two instances where sources went on the record: former Trump aide Sam Nunberg and Trump ally Roger Stone. The rest were based on conversations with people close to the administration or who were briefed on some phone call.
Here are all the instances, Sherman uses anonymous sources for his explosive 956-word report:
- "The first charges in the Mueller probe have kindled talk of what the endgame for Trump looks like, according to conversations with a half-dozen advisers and friends of the president."
- "For the first time since the investigation began, the prospect of impeachment is being considered as a realistic outcome and not just a liberal fever dream. According to a source, advisers in the West Wing are on edge and doing whatever they can not to be ensnared."
- "One person close to Dina Powell and Gary Cohn said they’re making sure to leave rooms if the subject of Russia comes up."
- "The consensus among the advisers I spoke to is that Trump faces few good options to thwart Mueller."
- "‘Trump wants to be critical of Mueller,'" one person who’s been briefed on Trump’s thinking says. "‘He thinks it’s unfair criticism. Clinton hasn’t gotten anything like this. And what about Tony Podesta? Trump is like, When is that going to end?'"
- "According to two sources, Trump has complained to advisers about his legal team for letting the Mueller probe progress this far."
- "Speaking to Steve Bannon on Tuesday, Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call."
- "When Roger Stone recently told Trump that Kushner was giving him bad political advice, Trump agreed, according to someone familiar with the conversation."
- "One Republican explained Trump’s best chance for survival is to get his poll numbers up."
- "‘The establishment has proven time and time again they will f— Trump over,' a Bannon ally told me."
- "In a series of phone calls with Trump on Monday and Tuesday, Bannon told the president to shake up the legal team by installing an aggressive lawyer above Cobb, according to two sources briefed on the call."
- "‘Mueller shouldn’t be allowed to be a clean shot on goal,' a Bannon confidant told me. ‘He must be contested and checked. Right now he has unchecked power.'"
- "Two weeks ago, according to a source, Bannon did a spitball analysis of the Cabinet to see which members would remain loyal to Trump in the event the 25th Amendment were invoked, thereby triggering a vote to remove the president from office."
- "‘One thing Steve wants Trump to do is take this more seriously,' the Bannon confidant told me. ‘Stop joking around. Stop tweeting.'"
Using anonymous sources isn't a bad thing for reporters. It's sometimes necessary. But Sherman takes it to the next level. One paragraph has three sources saying different things:
One paragraph has 3 instances of anon sources. The media has echoed it repeatedly today. pic.twitter.com/0gWgaeTI4a
— Andrew Kugle (@AndrewJKugle) November 1, 2017
It is also unclear how many sources are actually cited in Sherman's story. For example, he cites a "Bannon confidant" as well as a "Bannon ally." Are they the same person?
This isn't the first time Sherman has published White House intrigue based on anonymous sources.
Once, he reported that officials speculated what Secretary of Defense James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly might do if Trump ordered a nuclear strike.
"One former official even speculated that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. ‘Would they tackle him?' the person said," Sherman wrote.
In the same story, Sherman speculated that Kelly was unhappy at the White House and would soon leave or be fired from his job. The story was shared on cable news and by reporters on Twitter:
Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision. Today, speculation about Kelly’s future increased after Politico reported that Kelly’s deputy Kirstjen Nielsen is likely to be named Homeland Security Secretary—the theory among some Republicans is that Kelly wanted to give her a soft landing before his departure.
The next day, Kelly appeared at the White House press briefing and contradicted Sherman's reporting.
According to my sources within the media, reporters rely on anonymous sources only if it drives a specific narrative about Trump.Read Less
The subject line of the email read, “My four rules.” It was from Barack Obama, regarding this week’s inaugural summit of the Obama Foundation in Chicago. Not having been lectured to by Obama in, oh, about a week, I opened the link.
“In true dad fashion,” Obama writes, “I came up with a set of rules” to guide the activities of the foundation, participants in its summit, and you, too. “I think they’re relevant to our everyday lives.” Maybe. They don’t seem to have been entirely relevant to Barack Obama’s presidential life, though. He observed only one of them.Read More
The subject line of the email read, "My four rules." It was from Barack Obama, regarding this week's inaugural summit of the Obama Foundation in Chicago. Not having been lectured to by Obama in, oh, about a week, I opened the message.
"In true dad fashion," Obama writes, "I came up with a set of rules" to guide the activities of his foundation, participants in its summit, and, while he's at it, you too. "I think they're relevant to our everyday lives." Maybe. They don't seem to have been entirely relevant to Barack Obama's presidential life, though. He observed only one of them.
Rule Number One: "Listen to the People Around You."
"If possible, find someone who's not like you—who doesn't look like you, think the way you do, or share the same set of experiences as you—at least on the surface." Listen to what they have to say. What then? Well, feel free to ignore them. That's what Obama did when his national security team counseled him not to release classified memos regarding past use of enhanced interrogation techniques, to send more troops to Afghanistan in 2009 and not declare a timetable for withdrawal, take a harder line against Bashar Assad in Syria, keep troops in Iraq past December 2011, not to draw a red line he couldn't enforce, and to move more quickly to combat ISIS when it arose in 2013-2014. But hey, look, who's keeping track?
Rule Number Two: "When You Disagree, Don't Be Disagreeable."
"Have a point of view, be rooted in your experience, and don't be afraid to share—but listen and be open, don't be partisan." From the guy who said, "You're likable enough, Hillary"; "They're bitter, they cling to guns or religion or to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment"; "The election's over, John, I won." From the guy who attacked Paul Ryan to his face without giving the congressman a chance to respond, whose administration used confidential tax information to attack a political opponent, who continually framed political questions in an absurd and patronizing manner designed to portray himself as the paragon of virtue and prudence and his adversaries as greedy warmongers, and who told Jon Stewart that only "lobbyists, money" opposed his Iran deal.
If I have forgotten any other examples of Obama being disagreeable, please let me know so I can add them to the list.
Rule Number Three: "No Selfies!"
Yes, he wrote that with a straight face.
Rule Number Four: "Have Fun."
Obama often spoke of his frustration at congressional Republicans, his failure to sway public opinion, gun laws, and the U.S. Constitution. But here, at last, is one rule he observed.
Self-awareness isn't a quality we look for in presidents these days, is it.Read Less