Standalone HBO Streaming Will Change Everything, Nothing

2000px-HBO_logo.svg

So, HBO has decided that it will offer a standalone streaming service. Currently, those who wish to stream HBO legally must purchase a cable package, then subscribe to HBO, then sign into the service and watch it on a compatible device (laptop, XBox, etc.). This changes that: Out goes the requirement to get a cable package. All one needs is a broadband internet connection—the same broadband Internet connection one uses to stream Netflix and Amazon and Hulu Plus and the rest. This is why “cord cutters” (that is, those who have jettisoned cable or satellite service already) and would-be cord cutters are rejoicing.

Time will tell if this opens up the floodgates and causes the rest of the cable networks to offer similar deals or prompts cable companies to offer unbundling (i.e., allowing consumers to pick and choose which cable channels they would like to pay for, a la carte). I imagine HBO’s direct competitors, such as Showtime, will offer similar services. What about FX and AMC? Could they do the same soon? Given that live sports are virtually the only thing cord cutters say they miss—and one of the major reasons would-be cord cutters don’t get rid of cable altogether—I can’t imagine that Comcast and the rest would allow ESPN or the Turner networks to do what HBO has just done. Live sports programming is just too valuable.*

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The Clinton Money Train Keeps on Chugging

That was then. He's droppin' stacks now. (AP)

“I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” President Obama said in 2010. His potential successor and her philandering husband couldn’t disagree more.

The Clintons can’t stop making money. Hillary recently took home $225,000 for a speech at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas foundation, money she refused to give back after students at the public university protested her exorbitant speaking fee in the face of rising tuition costs.

Bill, meanwhile, just wrapped a six-figure keynote gig at Veritas Capital, a private equity firm. You know, sort of like Bain Capital, which Democrats spent the entire 2012 campaign attacking at as a heartless agent of “vulture capitalism.”

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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read

My must read of the day is “Why the White House Won’t Admit Obama Is a Drag for Democrats,” in the National Journal.

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The Department of Defense Declares A War on Weather

Xerxes has the Hellespont whipped

Yesterday, speaking at an international confab of defense ministers in Peru, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel unveiled his department’s Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap. A letter from Hagel asserts at the beginning of the Roadmap that:

While scientists are converging toward consensus on future climate projections, uncertainty remains. But this cannot be an excuse for delaying action. Every day, our military deals with global uncertainty. Our planners know that, as military strategist Carl von Clausewitz wrote, “all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight.”

Clausewitz, indeed. Side note: this quotation from the great 19th century German theorist of warfare appears to come from the translation of Colonel J.J. Graham, who, sadly, passed away in 1883, his edition have since been superseded by numerous quality 20th century translations. I like to picture Secretary Hagel composing his introduction to the Roadmap late at night in an elegantly appointed Northern Virginia study, perhaps by a roaring fire—strike that: too much carbon—with a snifter of brandy near at hand, suddenly reaching for his dog-eared and much beloved Graham translation of On War. Sure, his aides make gentle fun of this stubborn refusal to consult more contemporary editions—but the old fox is set in his ways.

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The NYT Lies About the Origins of the Iraq War

Wikimedia Commons

I was going to write something about this really horribly argued New York Times piece on WMD in Iraq, but Gabriel Malor over at Ace of Spades beat me to it. In short, the Times highlights the suffering of American troops who were exposed to WMD during the Iraq War (which is a good journalistic thing to do!). …

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George Clooney’s War On Women Continues

AP

George Clooney votes for and financially supports Democrats who want free and unfettered access to abortion on demand so we know he has a “get out of jail free card” from feminists everywhere for any roguish behavior he me exhibit. But his latest anti-woman action might just crack that firewall.

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Watch The 5 Most Ridiculous Entries in MoveOn.org’s Video Contest

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As Lachlan reported last week, the left-wing activist group MoveOn.org is running a contest to see who can produce the best campaign ad highlighting “the importance of money in politics, and why we need to fundamentally reform the way elections are funded.”

The leading contender thus far is, ironically, an ad produced by a conservative nonprofit group attacking liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, who is by far the largest donor to outside spending groups in the current election cycle. The ad has roughly 15 times as many votes as the second place entry.

Objectively speaking, the anti-Steyer ad is clearly the most professionally made, although that’s a pretty low bar. The other, more conventionally left-wing videos are fairly ridiculous, as you might expect. Here are 5 of the most entertaining examples:

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The Two Best Tarantino Knockoffs

The Way of the Gun

In an effort to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino’s breakout hit, several of the folks at Grantland are highlighting their favorite Tarantino Knockoffs.*

Chris Ryan, in choosing The Way of the Gun, wins the argument. It is the best of these films, hands down. Christopher McQuarrie’s script crackles with life. It is, probably, best remembered (and most loved) for its legendary opening scene (NSFW for reasons of awesome language):

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More Stimulus Problems for Kay Hagan

AP

Senator Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) has come under fire in recent weeks over stimulus funding that directly benefitted businesses owned by her husband and son. The Carolina Journal reports new details that could cause further headaches for Hagan, whose lead in the polls has started to fade:

REIDSVILLE — JDC Manufacturing, a company co-owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband Charles “Chip” Hagan, lowered the total cost of a 2010 stimulus-funded energy project but kept all of the savings, sending none back to taxpayers who had funded the stimulus grant.

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Memo Reveals Liberal Billionaire’s Efforts to Suppress the Vote

Tom Steyer (AP)

Left-wing billionaire Tom Steyer is the single largest donor to outside spending groups in the 2014 election cycle. He’s contributed more than $42 million thus far, which is almost as much as the top 33 Republican-leaning donors combined.

However, all that spending hasn’t been enough to significantly boost Democratic candidates. So Steyer’s dark money group, NextGen Climate, has come up with a backup plan: suppressing the vote.

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The Biggest Problem with ‘Affirmative Consent’ Laws No One’s Really Talking About

Prof. August approves of California's dumb new sex laws

So, California passed a dumb law that requires college students to obtain “affirmative consent” during intimate relations. Want to kiss? BETTER ASK. Want to screw? BETTER ASK IN TRIPLICATE. Etc.

The whole thing calls to mind one of a Simpsons episodes. In it, Homer and Marge break up (in flashback) because Marge is entranced by a rather awful PC college professor, who woos her thusly:

Professor August: If I were to approach you for a kiss, would you construe that as harassment or give your willing consent?

Marge: Consent, of course.

Professor August: Ah. Continuing in that line of thought, may I kiss your mouth with my mouth?

Marge: Just do it already!

Life aspires to parody, as always.

There has been a great deal of writing on this stupid and dreadful and (as we’ll see momentarily) pointless bill.

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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read

My must read of the day is “Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes take their talking points face to face,” by Sam Youngman, in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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Watch This Wendy Davis Staffer Drag a Disabled Man Across a Stage

AP

Wendy Davis is not backing down after her campaign released a widely condemned ad featuring a prolonged, ominous shot of an empty wheelchair. (Davis’s Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, is a paraplegic.)

On Monday, Davis’s campaign organized a press conference in an effort to prove that some of her best friends are confined to wheelchairs. “Greg Abbott got his justice. Why doesn’t he believe that a rape survivor or a person with a disability or a victim paralyzed forever…should get justice too?” Davis said. “What makes Greg Abbott think it’s okay to deny them, his fellow Texans, the justice that he rightly went to court to receive?”

But things got a little awkward at one point when one of the disabled speakers was dragged across the stage in a chair by (presumably) a member of the Davis campaign.

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On Columbus Day, Left-Wing Legislatures Embrace Confederate Doctrine of Nullification

AP

Real Americans across the country are celebrating Columbus Day, but in a handful of left-wing strongholds, a dangerous ideology is afoot:

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What’s the Matter with Jim Amos?

James F. Amos

General James Amos, the 35th commandant of the Marine Corps, will come to the end of his term of office this week. Marines, as a matter of custom and temperament, are well known for revering their commandant. Difficult questions of doctrine or procedure within the Corps may be settled by asserting, without a shred of irony, that “the commandant wants it this way.” Famously the most disciplined of the services, this respectful and admiring deference for the leader is part of what it has traditionally meant to be a Marine.

Which makes it all the more strange that Jim Amos is so widely—and, on social media, openly—disliked by Marines.

Over the weekend there was a new outbreak of criticism about the man, inspired by an 80-page report prepared by a critic of the commandant, a former Marine and lawyer named Lee Thweatt.

The Marine Corps Times has the story:

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