Friday, April 24, 2015

No one at Rolling Stone apparently found it curious that Erdely stumbled upon festering rape scandals at the 3 institutions that comprise the trifecta of left-wing hate objects—organized religion, the US military, and that bastion of male privilege, fraternities

Allow me to offer some unsolicited advice to Rolling Stone and the journalistic community at large
begs Benny Huang regarding the utterly debunked “Rape on Campus” article that failed to meet the most basic standards of journalism and for which no one will actually lose their job. (Thanks for the link, Instapundit.)
This abominable piece might never have been published if Rolling Stone had made some room on their staff for a conservative voice.
The problem with [Sabrina Rubin] Erdely’s article is that it appealed to her confirmation bias. “Jackie,” the anonymous “victim” of a fraternity house gang rape that never happened, told Erdely a story which Erdely was inclined to believe because it reinforced her notions about typical rape scenarios. Erdely admitted that she had gone in search of a campus rape story, asking around for anyone who had been victimized and would consent to being the subject of an article. It was Erdely’s intention, in her own words, to demonstrate the “pervasive culture of sexual harassment/rape culture” on college campuses. Lo and behold, she found what she was looking for.

Unfortunately for the brothers of Phi Kappa Psi, a story about a rape on campus was not, in and of itself, enough to satisfy Erdely’s hunger. According to Alex Pinkleton, a friend of “Jackie’s” and a victim advocate at the University of Virginia (UVA), “I just didn’t like that it seems like she [Erdely] was looking for a story that had to be in a fraternity.”

Had to be in a fraternity? Why? Would it have been any less horrific if it had happened, say, at a conference of College Democrats? No, but Rolling Stone would not have covered it if it had.
It should be noted here that Erdely had done at least two rape stories prior to “Jackie’s”—one concerning the US Navy and the other a Catholic parish in Philadelphia. No one at Rolling Stone apparently found it curious that Erdely stumbled upon festering rape scandals at the three institutions that together comprise the trifecta of left-wing hate objects—organized religion, the US military, and that bastion of male privilege, fraternities.
[In all three stories,] Healthy skepticism was put on hold. Erdely had so much faith in “Jackie’s” story that she even agreed not to contact the accused for their side of the story. She apparently didn’t think anything was fishy about a source who demanded anonymity and didn’t want anyone to take the most basic measures to corroborate her story. Erdely then submitted a gut-wrenching article to her editor who didn’t ask too many probing questions.
Neither did the fact-checking department, for Pete’s sake. The negligent party here is Coco McPherson, Rolling Stone’s chief fact-checker. From Columbia’s report: “McPherson read the final draft. This was a provocative, complex story heavily reliant on a single source. She said later that she had faith in everyone involved and didn’t see the need to raise any issues with the editors.”

She had faith in everyone involved. That’s code for “the story felt right.” It felt right because McPherson shared Erdely’s prejudices that fraternities are hives of sexual violence and Women Don’t Lie™.

Couldn’t they have gotten someone else to fact-check the piece? Someone who might, I don’t know, have checked some of the facts? I think a conservative might have done a better job of it, though not because conservatives don’t also suffer from confirmation bias. Everyone does. That being said, it doesn’t require a person with no blind spots at all to point out the holes in this story; it merely requires someone who doesn’t share the author’s.
Yet no one fitting that description could be found at Rolling Stone or most other publications for that matter—the Atlantic, the New Yorker, the New York Times, etc. And that’s the way they like it. The people who run big name media outlets, with few exceptions, have the same ideological bent. Holding all the most fashionable opinions is the price of admission to this hermetically sealed world. It actively resists change to the extent that even the embarrassing “Rape on Campus” debacle won’t precipitate a shakeup at Rolling Stone or even a reevaluation of policies and practices.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Graphic Novel Anthology on the German Occupation of Denmark

One week from now, coinciding both with the 75th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's invasion of Denmark and with the 70th anniversary of the liberation, appears a 250-page graphic novel anthology, announces Serieland, the subject of which is the German occupation of Denmark during World War II.

Among the stories in Knivsæg by almost 50 mainly Danish authors and cartoonists (the Fahrenheit book can be ordered at Arnold Busck) is an 11-page contribution by Erik Svane and Dan Greenberg (as can be seen in Miwer's video trailer at 0:51), the duo which is hard at work to bring you The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln.

From Fahrenheit:
Det er 70 år siden, Anden Verdenskrig sluttede i Danmark, og vi har allesammen hørt fortællinger om besættelsen. Nogle historier har vi fået fortalt af forældre, bedsteforældre, onkler og tanker, andre har vi hørt fra venner og kolleger. Langt de fleste historier handler om sabotage, en mangelsituation eller rationering, eller de er en personlig fortælling, der giver indblik i familiens historie. 
Men KNIVSÆG har vi, der ikke oplevede kringen, sat os for at genfortælle nogle af dens historier i tegneserieform. Vi håber, at antologien – hvis bidragsydere tæller både nye kræfter og garvede navne – udover at formidle et syn på besættelsen også kan give et spraglet og vidtfavnende signalement af talentmassen inden for den danske tegneserie lige nu.
Germany's occupation of Denmark — Timeline
Tidslinje over Danmarks besættelse 1940-1945  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Visiting Cuba, leading Democrat asks for "a dialogue on the issues that we agree with and the issues that we disagree about"; this is what the Cuban people has wished for for the past 60 years

Andrew Cuomo has become the first US state governor to visit Cuba since a thaw in relations began last year 
reports the BBC.
A number of US officials and politicians have visited the Communist-run island since the thaw in relations was announced on 17 December, but Mr Cuomo is the first state governor to do so.

He travelled with a delegation of New York-based companies which he said he hoped would become some of the first to operate in Cuba.

Mr Cuomo also said engagement and full relationships were the best way "to have a dialogue on the issues that we agree with and the issues that we disagree about".
Nice, Andy. As usual, Democrats ignore love the foreign governments and the élites that make them up, ignoring the plight of the common people that live under such régimes (see Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, Bagdad, etc, etc, etc…).

T'is Cuban opposition members who would like to have, and would have liked to have had for the past 60 years, to have a dialogue with the Castro brothers on the issues that they agree with and the issues that they disagree about.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lafayette Ship Replica Sets Sail for America

With champagne, fireworks and a presidential blessing, a painstakingly built replica of the frigate once used to bring French troops and funds to American revolutionaries is setting sail for Boston
reports the Associated Press.
Saturday night's celebratory sendoff for the $27 million Hermione seeks to retrace the 213-foot frigate's trans-Atlantic journey in 1780, when its namesake under Marquis de Lafayette's command helped to lay the foundation of French-American relations.
Lafayette persuaded French King Louis XVI to provide military and financial support to George Washington's troops. Lafayette set sail on March 21, 1780, arrived 38 days later in Boston, and played an important role in the revolutionaries' ultimate defeat of Britain.

 … The ship is the fruit of nearly two decades of brainstorming, fundraising and toil. Using captains' logs and manuscripts from the era, maritime experts and historians ensured that workers used the same construction materials and methods as those used to build the original.

 … Volunteer crew members will sail the frigate, with "Hermione" carved across its stern, across the Atlantic.

 …The relationship born of Lafayette's journey has also been lasting. Even in times of modern diplomatic tensions, American presidents routinely refer to France as "our oldest ally."

"If it hadn't been for that French intervention at that time," [said Miles Young, president of the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America], "the war of independence probably wouldn't have been won."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Contempt of Congress? These Days, It’s No Big Thing

In a sane world, destroying subpoenaed evidence would end a politician’s career
notes Benny Huang.
What Hillary Clinton did was a crime yet she won’t pay any legal penalty any everyone knows it. She’ll play it off, deriding it as a FOX News story that only the nutroots still talk about. “Email server” will probably become a sexist code word, much the same way that “Obamacare,” “golf,” and “apartment” have become racist code words during the Obama years. Hillary will intimidate those few reporters who have the nerve to ask her about it and she will then waltz effortlessly to the Democratic nomination, if not the White House.
There was a time when flipping Congress the bird was considered something of a serious transgression, but no longer. Hillary Clinton is the third Obama administration official or former official to blow off congressional investigators and the third to escape legal punishment. The first two were Attorney General Eric Holder and IRS official Lois Lerner. In both cases, the accused party was charged but the Justice Department refused to prosecute.

Attorney General Eric Holder was charged with contempt of Congress in 2012 when he refused to furnish the House Oversight Committee with tens of thousands of pages concerning the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal. Operation Fast and Furious was an ill-conceived initiative involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that deliberately allowed straw purchasers to buy more than 2,000 guns and transport them across the Mexican border to drug cartels. One of those guns was used to murder a US Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry. The total number of Mexican victims is more difficult to calculate but can probably be counted in the hundreds.

Holder doesn’t think he should be required to provide any additional Fast and Furious documents because he’s already provided thousands of pages. The fact that he’s withholding tens of thousands of pages isn’t supposed to matter. He willingly gave up the ones he wanted Congress to see, so what difference does it make if he’s still clinging to the incriminating ones? At one point, his Justice Department even offered to furnish a “fair compilation” of the outstanding documents if congressional Republicans agreed, in advance, to end their investigation.


 … Lois Lerner has about the same amount of respect for Congress as Holder, which is to say none at all. When she was at the IRS, her office deliberately targeted conservative organizations for special scrutiny, often failing to grant their status after years of examination while similar liberal groups were rubber-stamped. Groups that contained the words or phrases “Tea Party,” “patriot,” or “9/12” were singled out, as were groups that were critical of government policy. Groups were asked if any of their leaders had intentions of seeking public office in the future, even what they prayed about.

The whole operation had the appearance of either an intelligence gathering operation, a fishing expedition to find any excuse to deny the tax-exempt status, or an attempt to keep opposition groups tied up with onerous paperwork. A combination of all three is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.

 … Last week we learned that Eric Holder is exercising his “discretion” in the Lerner case. He has decided that her unqualified declaration of innocence does not preclude her pleading fifth amendment. She can have her cake and eat it too.

So Hillary Clinton is in good company. She won’t go to jail; she won’t even be forced out to pasture, as disgraced old politicians used to be when caught violating the law and their oaths of office. She’s a new breed of politician, characterized by her shamelessness, just as we are a new kind of voting electorate, ready to elect her the next president. Congress is a joke and defying its subpoenas carries no penalty.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Poisson d'Avril: The French Sense of Humor

The French have a wonderful sense of humour
writes Stephen Clarke.
Of course they do. Anyone who’s seen the film La Cage aux Folles, about a gay nightclub owner whose son wants to marry the daughter of a right-wing religious politician, or Ridicule, about the need to be good at repartee if you want to attract the attention of Louis XIV at court, will know this. If they can speak French, that is.

It’s not the same as the British sense of humour, that’s for sure. The traditional French idea of an April Fool’s joke is (or rather was, because it’s rarely played these days) to stick a paper fish on someone’s back without them knowing. Yes, très drôle.
The Telegraph writer is being facetious, naturellement, but a variant on this joke — not necessarily played on April 1 — is far funnier; stick a piece of paper on a friend's back as you take leave of him or her and giving his or her name, for instance, "Je suis Isabelle" or "Mon nom, c'est Isabelle."

As Isabelle walks down the sidewalk, she hears her name being called out (by a perfect stranger), and turns in bewilderment, for she cannot see anybody waving to her, let alone anyone trying to get the attention of some other woman named Isabelle. As she continues her walk, she regularly hears "Isabelle!" called out, turns, and sees no one interested in her or in any other similarly-named woman, as the perfect strangers in question immediately return to playing innocent bystanders and doing their own thing.