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Here’s how much the anti-Trump crowd has overplayed the “OUTRAGE!!!” card: I saw a story headlined “Comcast Dealing With Major Outage Nationwide,” and at first thought it said “Major Outrage Nationwide,” so I ignored it.
Las Vegas crazy
A paranormal researcher claims to have found a spot near Las Vegas where time slows down. I’ll bet someone immediately fills it with slot machines.
INTERESTING READ: Billy Ainsworth and the Bands
Kudos to Capitol Gazette
We now know more about the man who burst into the office of the Capitol Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, Thursday with a shotgun, killing five people and seriously injuring several others. I won’t print his name, as is my custom with such people, but it appears not to be terrorism nor politically-motivated. It's personal: he’s held a grudge against the paper since 2012, when it ran an article about his conviction for criminal harassment. He sued the paper for defamation and lost in 2015. Ironically, the writer of the article that allegedly sparked his vendetta no longer even works there, and it’s unclear whether any of his victims had anything to do with the story that angered him or even knew about it.
Meanwhile, a big salute to the staff of the Gazette, who despite being traumatized and losing staffers to death and injury, vowed that the next day’s edition would come out, and they worked at home and got it out. In a time when journalism has been driven into low regard among the public by some of its more visible practitioners’ bias, egomania and lax regard for fact-checking, the Gazette staff just reminded the world what real journalistic professionalism and courage under fire look like.
Not in our Party
A Republican Congressional candidate who won his primary in North Carolina was revealed to secretly have a website that promotes white supremacy. The state and national Republican parties immediately repudiated him and will give him no support, but they wouldn’t have anyway: he’s a fringe outsider running in a district so blue that the Democratic incumbent ran unopposed last time. He won the GOP primary with nearly two-thirds of the vote (only 824 votes) mostly by just putting his name on the ballot. Still, I expect the media will treat him as representative of all Republicans, whom they will try to claim are all secretly white supremacists.
Meanwhile, in New York, in another heavily blue district, a fringe outsider who openly proclaims herself to be a full-blown, open-borders socialist defeated the incumbent by a wide margin. She’s already talking about running for President and turning America socialist. In response, she was immediately praised by Bernie Sanders, a fellow socialist who nearly won the party’s national presidential nomination, and became a media darling,
If you can’t see a double standard, then you have one.
Harlan Ellison RIP
One of the greatest and most prolific writers of our age, Harlan Ellison, has died in his sleep at 84. While most renowned for science fiction, he wrote about 50 books (including the cult classic, “A Boy and His Dog”) and over 1400 articles, comic books, essays, scripts and more, some outside the sci-fi field. He wrote landmark episodes of such series as “Star Trek” and “Outer Limits,” while fighting bitterly with the producers and denigrating the results. He also received partial credit for the “Terminator” movies after suing the producers, claiming they stole the killer robot idea from him.
If you’re sensing a theme, it’s because Ellison was almost as famous for his pugnaciousness as for his writing. He had a highly-developed sense of injustice and a short fuse, feuding with practically everyone he crossed paths with, from Frank Sinatra to “Star Trek” creator, Gene Roddenberry. It’s amazing he died in his sleep at an advanced age, considering he once described his own personality as “bellicose” and admitted, "I go to bed angry, and I get up angrier every morning."
It’s a shame he couldn’t be happier and more content in life, but at least he channeled that anger into some iconic stories, several of which are recounted at the linked obituary. One surprising detail: he denied being anti-technology and claimed he just hated the uses technology is put to. Despite doing so much to popularize science fiction, he refused to own a computer. He tapped out all those classic futuristic stories, iconic sci-fi scripts and angry letters on a manual typewriter.
A new study found that grandmothers who babysit their grandkids are less likely to suffer a number of mental health problems, from dementia to depression. I’m guessing the study was written by OMWNAB: “Overworked Moms Who Need A Break.”
In public hearing, Rosenstein exhibits bizarre behavior and refuses to answer questions
After the frustration of FBI agent Peter Strzok’s behind-closed-doors hearing on Monday, in which he managed to avoid answering the important questions, we got to have a public hearing of FBI Director Christopher Wray and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in which they managed to avoid answering the important questions.
Still, they communicated more than perhaps they know, because we learned a lot about what we’re dealing with. And it’s not good.
These two have been stonewalling for many months. To set the scene, here’s a refresher from Kim Strassel in the Wall Street Journal from a little over a month ago, lamenting “the Justice Department’s unprecedented contempt for duly elected representatives, and the lasting harm it is doing to law enforcement and to the department’s relationship with Congress.” It explains how both the President and Congress have been forced into an adversarial position with the DOJ, and how political judgments with no authority are being used to inhibit them --- especially President Trump --- from taking action in perfectly constitutional ways. A key observation that relates to Thursday’s hearing is that the DOJ is refusing to tell Congress who did the heavy redacting of documents that turned out to have nothing to do with national security but that obviously was done to hide information that put them in a bad light. Strassel’s conclusion is that Trump should refuse to be boxed-in legally and just declassify everything possible.
Now we come to Thursday’s hearing. Tension was in the air, as members of Congress who have been waiting in some cases for A YEAR for documents expressed their fury. When Rosenstein was pressed on information regarding the redactions, he implied that his job was above the pay grade of those underlings (who still remain nameless) who do the redacting, huffing, “I’m the DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL...OKAY? I’m not the person doing the redacting.” OKAY, Mr. Rosenstein, but you’re that person’s boss, and you have the constitutional duty to supply that information to Congress. They also have the right to know who that person is so they can question him or her.
When asked if it might be appropriate that he recuse himself, given his huge conflicts, Rosenstein bizarrely smirked and chuckled, saying only that he would be "happy" to recuse himself if it were appropriate.
Trey Gowdy, who has come to life since the release of the IG report, made it clear that he is fed up. In fact, he went ballistic, saying, “If you have evidence of wrongdoing by any member of the Trump campaign, present it to the damn grand jury. If you have evidence that this President acted inappropriately, present it to the American people...whatever you got, finish it the hell up, ‘cause this country is being torn apart.”
Rosenstein refused to comment on FISA applications, or even to answer the question of whether not not he read the one he signed. Showing that we are indeed through the looking glass, he denied in an extremely confrontational exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan that he is keeping information from Congress, saying the impression that he has done so is “not accurate.” In another exchange concerning Peter Strzok’s refusal to answer questions in Wednesday’s hearing, he chose to be flippant: “How do I know, sir? I mean, you interviewed Mr. Strzok, I didn’t.”
So, enough of this. Why won’t Trump order Rosenstein to declassify documents and provide them to Congress? Andrew C. McCarthy, appearing Thursday evening with Laura Ingraham, hypothesized that Trump has received advice --- “I don’t think it’s particularly good advice” --- not to act and force disclosure because that might be interpreted as obstruction of justice.
“That’s nuts,” he said. “I don’t see a legal obstruction, but I think that’s where they’re at.”
On Thursday, Rosenstein was given one more chance to cooperate with Congress, as a resolution was passed 224-184 in favor of imposing a seven-day deadline on the DOJ for the production of documents under subpoena. But we all know the DOJ is not going to cooperate with this. Whoever is doing the stonewalling and redacting of information is making the department look so bad, it’s hard to imagine how much worse for them the release of it might be. What in God’s name are they hiding?
President Trump is going to have to step in and pry it out. He appointed both Rosenstein and Wray and is their boss. At this point, considering how sick most Americans are of this, I don’t see how he gains political advantage by dragging out his own victimization. And how transparency can be redefined as obstruction is beyond me.
Hollywood in Focus
After Chris Pratt stunned Hollywood by encouraging young people to be positive, work hard, pray, defend the weak and know that God loves them at the MTV Movie Awards of all places, the “Jurassic Park” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” star surprised fans again by showing up in person at a charity showing of “Jurassic World” to benefit cancer-stricken children of police officers. He also shook hands and posed for photos with the crowd. Turns out his brother is a sheriff’s deputy who helped set up the event.
In a related story, Chris Pratt is rapidly becoming my favorite celebrity. Think of Peter Fonda and Robert DiNiro and imagine the exact opposite.
Speaking of Peter “Why isn’t this lowlife in jail for making terroristic threats?” Fonda, his new movie made a total of $30,395 in its debut weekend on only five screens. Despite his unconscionable Twitter rants about President Trump’s son and my grandchildren (which he’s since deleted and apologized for – and I don’t care), Sony Pictures went ahead with plans to release the film, claiming that yanking it would be unfair to the many other people who worked on it and didn’t call for innocent children to be kidnapped, raped and murdered.
I’m not going to mention the name of the film, since I don’t want to give it any publicity, and it’s obviously not necessary to gin up a boycott (one Twitter user sarcastically noted that the studio probably could have made as much money by looking for dropped change under the theater seats.)
As much as I disagree with Sony’s decision, I admit that studios do face a difficult situation, and one that arises all too often, when they spend years and millions of dollars creating a movie, then spend millions more on publicity, only to send the star out to promote it, and he/she/xi immediately goes on a talk show or social media and spouts some incredibly offensive or insane political opinions that alienate at least half the potential audience. The only way to avoid this would be to lobotomize the actors (some of them act like they’ve already had that done) or more practically, avoid hiring performers who are famous for shooting off their mouths about Trump or Republicans and hitting their employers in the bankbook.
The first step to doing that, though, would be for Hollywood to admit that that’s the problem. Despite a mountain of evidence that leftist propaganda and hostility to at least half of America is killing box office returns and TV ratings, they just keep doubling down on stupid. Most recently, they’ve managed the mind-boggling feat of tanking the most bulletproof franchise in history, “Star Wars,” by putting it into the hands of a feminist producer who appears to be openly hostile to the very concept of boys’ adventure tales and to male fans. She’s simultaneously trashed everything fans loved about the series while filling it with “woke” messages about evil white men, female empowerment and "woke," gender-fluid robots (robots should only have hydraulic fluid.)
The reason it’s called “escapist entertainment” is because audiences loved escaping to a galaxy far, far away that was nothing like our overly-politicized present; to bask for a couple of hours in a place where there is no Maxine Waters or Stephen Colbert, and the Storm Troopers don’t enforce PC speech codes. (Although granted, Hillary Clinton does seem well on her way to morphing into Darth Vader.)
Thanks to the “woke” messaging, the unthinkable has occurred: the production of more “Star Wars” films has been put on hold while the studio tries to figure out what went wrong. Yet they blindly refuse to acknowledge the Wookie in the room: the injection of inappropriate “progressive” politics that is the #1 reason fans are complaining all over the Internet, and not just in “Star Wars” movies. Apparently, Hollywood’s Trump Derangement Syndrome and leftwing echo chamber have made them incapable of dealing with reality in any arena, even if it drives them into bankruptcy.
They’ll also probably dismiss the dismal box office for the Peter Fonda movie by claiming that it was just a small, human drama that was never going to be a big moneymaker in the comic book blockbuster era. Then how do they explain the massive success of small, human dramas aimed at the neglected Christian, conservative or just Middle American market (you know, those of us the Hollywood studios call Flyover Country Deplorables, but whom they used to call “our audience”)? I mean films such as “I Can Only Imagine,” “God’s Not Dead,” “The Case for Christ,” “Miracle From Heaven” and “Soul Surfer.” Those can’t possibly all have been big hits just because none of them had Peter Fonda.
Although I’m sure it helped.
INTERESTING READ: Billy Ainsworth and the Bands