The North Korean government issued a statement on Sunday threatening the White House, Pentagon and entire U.S. mainland of "bold counteraction" over accusations that the government of Kim Jong Un is responsible for the hack on Sony Pictures that forced the film studio to cancel the release of "The Interview."
"The army and people of the DPRK are fully ready to stand in confrontation with the U.S. in all war spaces including cyber warfare space to blow up those citadels," read the message by the Policy Department of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK.
"Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the 'symmetric counteraction' declared by [President Barack] Obama." more >>
I've found the entire Interview cancelation fiasco deeply disturbing. It's one story if Sony faced a vague threat and canceled the movie in a panic, a cancellation that would also have the collateral effect of perhaps appeasing the hackers and preventing the further release of damaging e-mails. But the collapse of will here was far more systematic. It wasn't just Sony. Every major theater chain pulled out. Major online streaming services indicated they wouldn't run it. Another studio, Paramount, canceled the small-scale screenings of an entirely separate film, Team America: World Police, a movie that's been viewed countless times in theaters and online without incident.
Particularly disheartening is the fact that the cancellation came from corporations that have gained enormous market share precisely because they're very, very good at determining what the American consumer wants. Was this corporate cowardice, or were the corporations reacting to years of accumulated information and experience about the American movie-goer? I think it's a combination of both.
Regarding corporate cowardice, the irony is that we're talking about an industry that routinely applauds itself for "speaking truth to power" or for it's own "courage" when it makes films that their fellow progressives love but might anger a few people in Tennessee and Alabama. It's not courage when you seek the acclaim of your peers at the expense of the feelings and mores of people who will do no more than publicly criticize your product. So, now, in the face of a miniscule "real" threat, we see the stuff Sony and Paramount are made of. And it is weak stuff indeed. more >>
I left Washington State about 20 years ago for Arizona. A Washington native, I had become fed up with the left-wing politics of Seattle. A couple of years ago, I moved back to the Pacific Northwest. A lot had changed while I was gone, and very little for the better. The only "improvement" I noticed was more greenery everywhere. The environmentalists had gotten so many restrictions passed on logging and burning dense forestation that the Evergreen State had started to look like a jungle.
Everything else had gone downhill. The roads and traffic had become horrendous, especially in the Puget Sound area around Seattle, since there was no longer enough money to keep up with maintenance and expansion, and the left-wing politicians had prioritized mass transit over road infrastructure and planning. This is despite the fact that Washington has one of the highest gas taxes in the country, resulting in high gas prices. Republican legislators in the state side with the Democrats on many issues, including higher taxes for education and gas. Legislation is now being considered that would tax drivers per mile. Seattle has the eighth worst traffic congestion among large U.S. cities, even though it is only the 22nd largest city. Consequently, drivers have lost their reputation for being the nicest in the nation.
Driving in downtown Seattle is dreaded as much as driving in larger cities like Washington, D.C. and New York City due to congestion and parking. The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, which has been under construction in downtown Seattle since summer 2013, making traffic a nightmare, was never approved in any general election or referendum, and has been the subject of multiple lawsuits. It is scheduled to be completed in 2016, but no one believes it will on time due to unions, and it is frequently compared to Boston's corrupt "Big Dig." more >>
For the last few weeks I have been warning that the nationwide protests against police brutality have resulted in the demonizing of the police, as if cops in general have become the bad guys. Now, with reports that onlookers were "clapping and laughing" after the execution-style murder of two Brooklyn cops, those anti-police sentiments cannot be denied.
In my December 15th article, "Can a White Man Speak to Black Americans," I responded to those who have assured me that it is only the bad cops who are being criticized and that the protests have not stirred up wider, anti-police, anti-authority attitudes. To the contrary, I pointed out, "more and more policemen are fearing for their lives as they go about enforcing the law and doing their jobs, as protesters have even thrown rocks and explosives at them."
It turns out that those fears are now justified. more >>
Parents in Farmville, North Carolina want to know why their children were given a Common Core vocabulary assignment in an English class that promoted the Prophet Muhammad and the Islamic faith.
"It really caught me off guard," a Farmville Central High School student who was in the class told me. "If we are not allowed to talk about any other religions in school – how is this appropriate?"
The Islamic vocabulary worksheet was assigned to seniors. more >>
Atheist author and activist Sam Harris has taken aim at the head of the National Institutes of Health, arguing that he's an example of an intelligent person pushing religion.
In a recent podcast, Harris cited former director of the Human Genome Research Institute, Dr. Francis Collins, as "a bit of a Bible-thumper."
"He believes in evolution, thankfully, but he also believes that immortal souls and free will were just downloaded onto the hard drive of only one species of primate at some point in history by an almighty God," Harris commented. more >>