The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is paying a researcher $17,500 to make students at New Mexico State University wear a fat vest for “weight sensitivity training.”

The 20-pound fat vest will be worn for an “empathy exercise” so non-obese students can experience what it is like to be obese. The premise of the project is to fight “weight prejudice.”

Al Qaeda Seizes Territory from Moderate Syrian Group

Al-Nusra Front fighters in Syria

BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Fighters linked to al Qaeda have seized territory from a moderate Syrian rebel group in a three-day campaign that has expanded their control into one of the few areas of northern Syria not held by hardline Islamists.

Review: Richard Estes’ Realism

Richard Estes, Jone's Diner, 1975 / Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Giorgio Vasari, introducing his Lives of the Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, wrote that “the ravening maw of time…has…blotted out and destroyed the names of all those who have been kept alive by any other means than by the…pens of writers.”

Let us hope he was wrong. If the reputation of any of today’s artists is to survive time’s maw, it will be in spite of many of those who write about art, and especially of those who write the blurbs accompanying art objects in museums. Take as an example the current exhibition at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum on one of the founders of Photorealism, Richard Estes.


A Two Minutes Hate ('1984')

Not so long ago, in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, a woman by the name of Madeline Janis spent 751 words of precious editorial-page real estate bemoaning the fact that she didn’t like her dying father’s politics. Miss Janis, a progressive lioness, wrote that her dad routinely refused to engage her in arguments. Instead, he preferred enjoying her company and talking about less contentious topics. Yet while moving him into an assisted-living facility, she came across his dark secret. The villain owned a collection of Rush Limbaugh hats. Janis told her father he should throw them out.

I Went to Mark Begich’s Carson City Resort

Credit: Lachlan Markay

CARSON CITY, Nev.—Not far from Lake Tahoe, just around the corner from the Comstock Casino, within two miles of no fewer than nine trailer parks, is a resort owned by a U.S. senator.

It bills itself as a resort, anyway.

Democrat Sen. Mark Begich’s home state of Alaska is proudly not of the mainland. “Outsider” is a political epithet in Alaska, one Begich has used against Republican challenger (and former state attorney general) Dan Sullivan.

Russian Arms Sales to Syria, Iran Add to Middle East Instability


Putin’s Russia has revived its once flagging global arms sales business and is using those sales to revive its defense industrial base. Second to only the United States with about a 26 percent share of the global arms market—the United States has a 30 percent share—Russian arms sales in 2013 generated some 13 billion dollars for government coffers according to the pro-government Russia Today.

Iowa GOP: Bruce Braley and Hillary Clinton are Anti-Entrepreneur

Bruce Braley

Iowa Republicans say presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s recent rhetoric about businesses dovetails with recent comments by Rep. Bruce Braley (D., Iowa), who accused Iowans at start-up companies of drinking beer in the afternoon and not coming up with any ideas.