Tom Cruise = Awesome
July 31st, 2015

It’s unfortunate that my little ode to Tom Cruise had to run during Santino’s confinement, because he would be all over it. Possibly even in agreementI’mRonBurgandy?



Great Moments in Law Enforcement
July 27th, 2015

An Iraq vet finds himself on the business end of an unwarranted raid by the Fairfax, Virginia police. The worst part of the story is when he goes to talk to the police brass afterward and asks why the cops didn’t consult with the apartment complex’s security department before breaking down a door, pointing weapons at an innocent civilian, and then handcuffing him:

I noted that the officers could have sought information from the apartment complex’s security guard that would have resolved the matter without violence. But he played down the importance of such information: “It doesn’t matter whatsoever what was said or not said at the security booth.”


The best part is the kicker:

Rhoads, the Fairfax County police lieutenant, was upfront about this mind-set. He explained that it was standard procedure to point guns at suspects in many cases to protect the lives of police officers. Their firearm rules were different from mine; they aimed not to kill but to intimidate. According to reporting by The Washington Post, those rules are established in police training, which often emphasizes a violent response over deescalation. Recruits spend an average of eight hours learning how to neutralize tense situations; they spend more than seven times as many hours at the weapons range.

Of course, officers’ safety is vital, and they’re entitled to defend themselves and the communities they serve. But they’re failing to see the connection between their aggressive postures and the hostility they’ve encountered in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and other communities. When you level assault rifles at protesters, you create animosity. When you kill an unarmed man on his own property while his hands are raised — as Fairfax County police did in 2013 — you sow distrust. And when you threaten to Taser a woman during a routine traffic stop (as happened to 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas jail this month), you cultivate a fear of police. This makes policing more dangerous for everyone.

I understood the risks of war when I enlisted as an infantryman. Police officers should understand the risks in their jobs when they enroll in the academy, as well. That means knowing that personal safety can’t always come first. That is why it’s service. That’s why it’s sacrifice.


“40 to 50 Percent of Everyone in America Is Gay”
July 23rd, 2015

(According to a bunch of people at the San Diego Pride Parade.)

You have to watch this video, courtesy of Galley Friend J.E. It might be the finest entry of the progressive-on-the-street genre.

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The Case Against Twitter
July 21st, 2015

She doesn’t mean to be doing it, but Valentina Palladino makes a pretty good case against Twitter in the course of explaining why she thinks Android is better than iPhone:

I would probably tweet more if I had the Twitter widget, too. Currently, by the time I open the Twitter app and scroll through my most recent updates, I’ve either forgotten what I wanted to tweet about or overthought the verbiage of my 140 characters. There also isn’t a Twitter widget for the notification window in iOS, making it nearly impossible to get a full snapshot of your feed’s activity.


JVL Elsewhere
July 21st, 2015

Come for the shame-faced defense of Ashton Kutcher . . .

Stay for the story about my kid crapping herself at Chuck E. Cheese.



Twilight of the Gawker
July 21st, 2015

As a general rule, I don’t like to see anyone lose their job. People have rent to pay and kids to feed. And I don’t follow Gawker much at all, because it was clear almost from the start what kind of publication it was and what sort of creature Nick Denton is.

That said, if I had spent a few years collecting string on Gawker I would have really enjoyed doing a piece like this from Ryan Holiday. It is . . . awesome.

Gawker isn’t going to die from its current imbroglio–there will always be a pack young liberal writers in New York willing to do anything for $40,000 a year.

What might kill Gawker is the Florida jury hearing Hulk Hogan’s civil suit against the company. Politics aside, all people of good will can be rooting for them to drop the big leg.


The Ashley Madison Hack
July 20th, 2015

So Ashley Madison, America’s premier website for married people who want to have an affair, has been hacked, with all of the pictures, personal information, and credit card details of its members now in the hands of hackers. This is going to be the biggest blackmail scheme in the history of history. Or, as a buddy of mine quipped, “Well, all those guys who signed up for Ashley Madison wanted to get fucked.”

One side note, though. Ashely Madison claims to have 37 million members. Does this seem at all plausible to you? Let’s do a quick rundown through the demographics:

(1) There are only 129 million married people in the United States.

(2) Of those, there are only 79 million in the prime affair cohort of 25 to 55 years of age.

(3) That means that Ashley Madison is claiming that almost half of all married people in their prime years are using the site? Are you kidding? (And that leave aside the fact that the bottom income quintile is probably less likely to use Ashley Madison because of money and internet access.)

(4) One more data point: The hackers say that the reason they’ve taken Ashley Madison down is that the site offered to erase all of a member’s user data for a one-time $19 payment, but that the company never actually erased the data. Further, they claim that in 2014, the company made $1.7 million from these non-erasure fees. But that’s just 89,000 people. Which is just 0.2 percent of 37 million. It strikes me that a site like Ashley Madison would have a much higher user churn rate than 0.2 percent, no?

All of which is to say that the 37 million users number seems highly dubious. Like, internet bubble circa 1999, dubious.


The Caitlyn Jenner Connundrum
July 16th, 2015

Galley Friend X emails a smart-aleck observation and a serious question:

So here’s maybe my favorite random example of ridiculousness around the whole Jenner thing. A week ago I clicked a click-bait article on “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Airplane!” Check out item #6:

6. David Letterman, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Caitlyn Jenner auditioned for the role of Ted Striker

Some of comedy’s biggest players auditioned for the lead of Ted Striker, which was eventually nabbed by Robert Hays. It’s tough to picture Letterman, Murray, or, before her transition, Caitlyn Jenner taking over the pilot’s seat, but we have that nagging feeling Chase would have totally owned the role. No offense to Hays, of course.

So Caitlyn Jenner auditioned for the Ted Striker role? Let me get this straight: the director of Airplane! originally opened that role to both men and women? That wouldn’t make any sense, since one of the major plot lines was Striker’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend. Or are they saying that Striker’s character would had been a lesbian?
Which then leads Mr. X to his serious question:
All of which makes me wonder the following: “Caitlyn” Jenner says that she is attracted to women and has never been with a man.
Does that mean that all of Caitlyn’s ex-girlfriends were in a same-sex relationship with Caitlyn? Are they automatically bisexual?
Or does this mean that it’s now possible for one member of a couple to be in a same-sex relationship while the other is in an “opposite-sex” relationship?
Just curious.
We know the real answer, obvs. But I’d be curious to know what the SJW/Identity Politics line is.
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