Category Archives: Useful Idiots

They probably couldn’t get a good Obama selfie from the moon…

White House Reporters Lodge ‘Formal Complaint’ Over ‘Intense Secrecy’ Surrounding Moon Landing Event

I swear, Obama’s like Forrest Gump insinuating himself in historical pictures and texts…

obama-on-moonAt a time of bad news and sagging approval ratings, a meeting between President Barack Obama and the crew of Apollo 11 to mark the 45th anniversary of the moon landing might seem like a welcome change — but instead became a story about the White House’s lack of transparency.

The White House Correspondents Association made a formal complaint to White House press secretary Josh Earnest asking why the meeting was closed to reporters and TV cameras, and only open to still photographers for less than a minute.

“On behalf of the correspondents association I just want to lodge a formal complaint about Apollo 11 event today,” WHCA board member Major Garrett, a CBS News reporter said during the briefing.  ”The astronauts were among the most visibly televised national heroes this country has ever known. That entire program is financed by the American taxpayer. The stills presentation of that, limits to television coverage of that event, we believe that that is a classic definition of something that should have the broadest press coverage imaginable.”

Earnest responded,”Understood. These are legitimate American heroes. On that, you and I can agree.”

Later in the briefing, ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl asked why the White House has such “intense secrecy” for this event.

“It’s merely a scheduling matter,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. Obama was signing a bill on job training before departing for three days of fundraising on the west coast.

Yet more proof “you can’t fix stupid.”

UN agency returns rockets to Hamas

I’ve really made an effort over the years to continue to try to find something nice to say about the United Nations, since I still believe that a properly run, responsibly directed international body could accomplish a lot of good in the world. But when you read stories like this one, it’s pretty difficult to maintain a sunny outlook.

United Nations agency that last week found rockets in a Gaza school operating under its auspices has handed that weaponry over to Hamas, Israeli officials said Sunday, accusing the organization of actively helping the terrorist organization potentially attack Israeli civilians.

“The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel.

A different senior official said UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, charged with overseeing humanitarian efforts in Gaza, has been suffering from “battered-wife syndrome” for years and currently “attempts to ingratiate itself with Hamas.”

Double Face Palm material.

In Defense Of Old Racist Art

Censorship, once a very dirty word in liberal circles, has undergone a makeover of sorts and, in its new guise of social responsibility, it is making an unfortunate comeback.

Let’s be clear: Chan is not saying “‘The Mikado’ offends me so I won’t go see it.” She is saying, “‘The Mikado’ is offensive so nobody should see it.” Is the offense taken by Chan regarding “The Mikado” really more genuine or reasonable than that of some Muslims regarding the work of Salman Rushdie? Why? What makes the offense she takes more objectively actual? Why should her ideas about what is and isn’t offensive be foisted upon everyone? In fact, there is no objective standard anywhere that can transform her opinion on this matter into a fact.

Ultimately, what makes the proposal of simply not performing or reading old works of racist art so insidious is that no generation is the sole caretaker of the canon. The influential works of the past helped to create our culture, whether we like it or not. Erasing them from our history books, or stages, or syllabi, cannot reverse their impact. The original impetus for the liberal program of historical and cultural revision was to highlight the complexity of our past—to expose the fact that some founding fathers held slaves, or that westward expansion came with a horrific toll on native populations, or that the heroic Franklin Delano Roosevelt interred Japanese citizens. It is precisely this critical lens with which we now teach Western Culture that prepares us to see works like “The Mikado,” or “The Merchant of Venice,” and place them in context. Studying Western culture is like putting a puzzle together and, frankly, we cannot do it without all the pieces.

We need to stop pretending that Western culture is the villain in human history. This is the story being told in every graduate Master of Fine Arts program in America; it is a story widely accepted by the artists and administrators running the cultural ground game. “The Mikado” is not a threat to anything. In fact, it has served as an inspiration to several generations of musical theater artists. Do we share Gilbert and Sullivan’s opinions and commentary on race? Of course we don’t. Can we appreciate their contribution to art without condoning racist attitudes? Yes, we can. Liberals who find themselves compelled by the siren call of censorship should wake up. And conservatives who think these subtle intrusions are a mere distraction should wake up, too. This is exactly where culture is won or lost.

Can everyone please stop posting photos of dead Palestinian children all over the internet?


Harrowing photos of dead or injured Palestinians kids are appearing everywhere. They’re being splashed across newspapers, under headlines such as “The terrible price Palestinian children pay for Israel’s war with Hamas”, “Palestinian children play amid the rubble in Gaza”, and “WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: Four Palestinian children killed in Israeli bombardment of Gaza”. They are all over Twitter and Facebook. Photos of those tragic four kids killed by an Israeli bomb on a beach in Gaza have been retweeted thousands of times. Many of the photos being published under the Twitter hashtag #GazaUnderAttack feature children wailing, howling, covered in blood, battered, bruised and sometimes even dead. They all get retweeted an incredible amount, alongside broken-heart emoticons or phrases such as “Grieve for the children of Palestine” and statements like: “Every time I close my eyes, I see the innocent children of Palestine running, I hear them scream.”

It all has the look and feel and sound of moral pornography, designed less to enlighten people about what is going in Israel-Gaza – war harms children? Who didn’t know this? – than to provide something shocking for us all to stare at and be collectively horrified by. There is a terrible irony to this widespread publishing of photos of battered Palestinian children – the aim seems to be to show that we the right-minded folk of Twitter and the Western media really care, but the question it immediately raises in my mind is this: “Well, if you care about children so much, why didn’t you publish photos of dead kids from the Congo? Or Aleppo? Or Sri Lanka? Do you only care about one group of children – Palestinians – and no others?” So a photo-sharing frenzy aimed at advertising our caring tendencies actually has the opposite effect: it makes one wonder why this alleged caring instinct is so picky, so partial , attaching itself firmly to the child-victims of one conflict but rarely finding expression in relation to any other conflict.

There is also something dehumanising in the constant sharing of photos of screaming or distressed or dead Palestinian children, in the speed with which they have been turned into memes or political products to be swapped between web surfers and tweeters. Is there a danger that these terribly unfortunate children, victims of a war not of their making, have been transformed in death into props for the expression of a cheap online emotionalism, turned into mass-produced and mass-shared images for use by people who are determined to show the world how sensitive they are to other people’s suffering? It is one thing to show us the reality of war. (Though even here, one has to note the media’s double standards. It is very rare for the media to publish very harrowing photos of injured or dead children from warzones, so why do they do it in relation to the Palestinian territories? Could it be because these photos bolster today’s consensus narrative about Israel being a psychopathic bully picking on the pitiable, allegedly childish nation that is Palestine?) But it is another thing entirely to turn that reality of war into carefully cropped photos with highly emotive, self-aggrandising words attached, to be spread across the internet like a modern-day version of those half-moral, half-prurient Victorian magazines that contained horror stories about child prostitution and child murder that were ostensibly about raising awareness but were really about tickling people’s emotions. It is awful that Palestinian children have been killed; it’s also awful that the minute they die they become photographic fodder for Twittermobs who want to holler their hatred for Israel and their pity for Palestine.

In short, these photos have little to do with shedding light on the current conflict in the Middle East, and instead are about turning the spotlight on to ourselves so that we can narcissistically declare to anyone who will listen: “This photo made me weep. Aren’t I good?”

Mommy Police With Real Handcuffs

Nanny states on steroids…

A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

You can argue that driving is necessary, but it seems to me that raising independent children is also necessary. Arresting parents who allow any child younger than a college freshman to spend time alone amounts to a legal mandate to keep kids timid and tethered. This should not be an object of public policy.

What is truly bizarre is that the cops cuffing these women were most likely raised with exactly the freedom they are now punishing. Do they think their parents should have been put in jail? Or have the intervening years rendered tweens unable to figure out how the car doors work?

I’m not saying that parents should take their toddlers into the wilderness and leave them there to hike their way out. What I can’t understand is how our society has lost the ability to distinguish between that and letting your pre-teen hang out in the car for a half-hour or spend some time in a nearby park. As Jessica Grose says, if this had been illegal in 1972, every single mother in America would have been in jail. Yet millions upon millions of us lived to tell the tale.

Don’t give up your day job, sweetie…

Wrong Abe: Model Bar Refaeli Quotes ‘Star Trek’ Character, Not President Lincoln

Four score and seven years ago, supermodels didn’t stumble over their social media messages.

The lovely Bar Refaeli tried to join the debate this week over the current bloodshed in the Middle East. Only in trying to evoke the spirit of President Abraham Lincoln she cited an actor playing the 16th president on an episode of Star Trek.

There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. there is nothing good in war, except its ending -Abraham Lincoln,” Refaeli posted, with the hashtag #stopterror, alongside an Instagram photo of herself on the beach.

The only problem: The quote was never actually uttered by Honest Abe. Rather, in “Star Trek” season 3, episode 22, Captain Kirk and Spock encounter a Lincoln figure who imparts these words.

The Cut and Paste President


that’s the problem when the president is utterly dependent on his speech writers and teleprompter programmer that he’ll relentlessly stick to the script on such a grim news day, one in which 23 Americans were reported killed.

Meanwhile, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also ignoring the disaster in the Ukraine while “briefing” the press today, Allahpundit speculates that goal by Mr. Obama and Psaki is to make the White House appear as if “They’re in control of the narrative, not the media — or at least they want to be. In reality, [Fox's Sheppard Smith] and Jennifer Griffin are laughing at them and going back to covering the crash. Baffling, but this is where we are with two and a half years to go.”

Update: Jim Geraghty adds, “Some Days, It Feels Like We Don’t Have a President:”

This is the president who didn’t address the country for three days after the attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, who gave a “shout-out” to an audience member moments before his first comments on the Fort Hood shooting, and who attended a campaign rally on September 12, 2012, when most Americans awoke to the news of the murder of four Americans in a terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.

I understand the Obama White House never wants to look like they’re overreacting. They behave as if it’s impossible to underreact.

Note the empty chair in the photo at the bottom of Jim’s post.

Flashback: In sharp contrast to all of the above, “This is how an American president should address Russian aggression.”

From a liberal’s point of view…

Hillary: This plane thing is really Europe’s problem

Thanks, Hil. Your brilliance is illuminating…

No, Obama’s caution is another example of the president refusing to address crises in a timely fashion due to what he probably believes is an attachment to the doctrinal fantasy that the United States is overextended in the world. Hillary Clinton confirmed that when she told Charlie Rose on Thursday night that this whole plane mess is really Europe’s problem.

“As you know, the Europeans have tried to figure out the best way forward,” she said when asked how the United States should respond to clear evidence that pro-Russian separatists using Russian hardware killed nearly 300 foreign civilians. “From my perspective — and I have the benefit of not being in the government — if there is evidence linking Russia to this, that should inspire the Europeans to do much more.”

After noting that the world should put “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin on notice” and not “stand idly by,” Clinton reassured Rose that the United States would stand idly by.

“So Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this,” said the former secretary. “It was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals.”

That sucking sound you hear is the rapid formation of a power vacuum in Europe as the United States signals its noninterest in matters of regional and global security.

After all, what does it really matter?

Who cares? It’s not like they had to pay for it…

This Energy Department blunder cost taxpayers at least $56 million

Having offices work together is difficult in the private sector, but in parts of the federal government it comes with a $56 million price tag.

The U.S. Department of Energy has lost more than $56 million due to poor coordination during implementation of a new telephone system, according to the DoE inspector general.

The telephone system — known as Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP — enables “the transmission of voice communications primarily over the Internet.”

But transitioning to the new Internet-based communications system across more than 14 department offices, as well as getting parts of it such as “hardware, support services and licensing costs” coordinated, hasn’t gone smoothly, the inspector general said.

“We acknowledge that upgrading to a VoIP solution is likely to improve the department’s telecommunications infrastructure. However, the path the department is on is not fiscally sustainable or efficient,” the IG said.

At Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee, for example, all four sites with the VoIP system implemented it differently, meaning they all work differently. That’s not what department officials had in mind when they adopted the new system.

Kansas incorrectly gave $41 million in childcare benefits to ineligible families


Three-fourths of Kansas‘ subsidized childcare services were given to non-U.S. citizens or families with too-old children, according to a federal watchdog.

The childcare services go to low-income families and are funded by federal taxpayers through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

However, policies at the Kansas Department for Children and Families for processing claims and determining the eligibility of families were not always effective in 2011, according to the HHS inspector general.

Seventy-five of 100 randomly selected claims reviewed had at least one eligibility miscue, which led to an estimated $40.9 million going to unqualified families, according to the inspector general.

The agency does not require program applicants to present physical evidence — such as a passport or birth certificate proving citizenship status — to prove their eligibility, the inspector general said.


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