Joel B. Pollak

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large and in-house counsel at Breitbart News. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he also has a degree in Jewish Studies from the University of Cape Town. He ran for Congress in 2010 in his hometown of Skokie, IL and worked as a Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute, as well as speechwriter to the Leader of the Opposition in the South African Parliament. He enjoys improv comedy, rock 'n' roll, and the literature of liberal apostates and iconoclasts. His wife Julia is a Ph.D. Fellow at the Pardee Rand Graduate School and his daughter Maya is unbelievably cute.


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The Waxman Race: Handicapping Hollywood's Congressional Primary

Voters in California's 33rd congressional district head will decide Tuesday which of an enormous field of 18 contenders will succeed retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) after 40 years in the House. Poll data is scarce, but all signs point to a close race, with a handful of candidates bunched near the top and the rest hoping for a lucky break. Turnout is expected to be low, making it harder to predict what happens when Hollywood goes to vote. (Carr, left; Williamson, center; Lieu, right) May 28, 2014 5:48 AM PT

CA-33: Candidates Mum on Poll Numbers in Waxman Race

Several candidates in the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) in California's 33rd congressional district are currently polling voters, but none are willing to release their results--at least not on the record. May 27, 2014 1:48 PM PT

Environmentalists are Weakening America

Last week's announcement that China and Russia had signed a 30-year, $400 billion gas deal posed a striking contrast to the Obama administration's dithering on the Keystone XL pipeline. If two rival, backward powers are able to agree to share fossil fuel resources, power economic growth, and undertake the largest and most complicated construction project in the world, why can the U.S. not reach a deal to transport Canadian oil? May 26, 2014 5:58 AM PT

Now That's a Ride: L.A.'s Haughton Drives Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier

Meet Navy Operations Specialist Seaman Anief Haughton, a Los Angeles native and 2011 graduate of Verbum Dei High School. Haughton is one of only four master helmsmen on the U.S.S. George Washington, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier operating from Yokusuka, Japan. Seaman Haughton--soon to be Petty Officer Third Class--has been deployed at sea since graduating from boot camp in 2011 and now actually steers the ship. May 25, 2014 3:29 PM PT

Rodger, Santa Barbara Killer, Played Lottery Obsessively

Santa Barbara mass murderer Elliot Rodger left a 141-page manifesto in which he revealed a hatred of women--and an obsession with the California State Lottery. Several times throughout the text, the disturbed 22-year-old recalls playing the Mega Millions and Powerball games--and his bitter disappointment when he failed to win. May 25, 2014 10:18 AM PT

By the Numbers: Why Waxman's Successor May Not Be a Democrat

It seems almost impossible to think that retiring Rep. Henry Waxman, a one-man liberal institution who has represented the west side of Los Angeles for forty years, could fail to be succeeded by a fellow Democrat. Yet that is precisely what could happen in the 33rd congressional district, where a staggering 18 candidates--ten Democrats, three Republicans, and five independents--will appear on the ballot in the June 3 primary election. May 25, 2014 7:30 AM PT

Analysis: Santa Barbara Killer Was a Narcissist, Not a Reject

Santa Barbara mass murderer Elliot Rodgers claimed that he had acted out of retribution for his rejection by women. Yet even a cursory examination of the videos and the 141-page manifesto left by the 22-year-old suggest the opposite: that he, in fact, rejected others. His account of his life is a meticulous, articulate, and yet absurd effort to construct a world in which he occupies the absolute center of attention, both negative and positive. May 25, 2014 6:44 AM PT

Greuel, Lieu Roar Back in Money Race in Waxman District

Former Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel (D) and State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-26) posted strong fundraising numbers in their final pre-primary reports to the Federal Election Commission, covering the period April 1 to May 14, in the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) in California's 33rd congressional district. May 23, 2014 6:43 AM PT

Opinion: California Deserves More than 'Eyewash' Ethics

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc--Any fan of the popular West Wing television series remembers when President Bartlett asked his staff in the Oval Office the English translation of this Latin phrase. You’ll also remember that our TV President provided the answer: “…after, therefore because of it.”
 
The West Wing approach would seem to be that taken by California State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature when it comes to the issue of ethics as it relates to their friends in the legislative arena.
 
People across California have been shocked and disgusted by the continuing news stories involving State Senators and Assembly members indicted, convicted or accused of various crimes, or the subject of ethical complaints filed by their own staff. I believe that one of the reasons for such revulsion is the fact that we all expect our elected representatives to come to their offices guiding their actions with the words of former Congressman J.C. Watts, who once said, “Everyone tries to define this thing called Character. It's not hard. Character is doing what's right when nobody's looking.”
 
Senator Ron Calderon, 12 years, Senator Rod Wright, 12 years, and Senator Leland Yee, 12 years. These aren’t the number of years each senator has been sentenced to prison. Rather, it’s the number of years each one has served in the Legislature as an Assemblyman and/or Senator prior to their respective indictment or conviction.
 
While it’s difficult to imagine that there are more ways for officials to lower our expectations or our faith in government, those who purport to serve us and not themselves have managed to find it. I’m speaking about the most recent stories that report that instead of removing these officials who have violated our trust it has been decided that taxpayers should fund paid vacations while their respective cases await resolution.
 
What may be even more laughable is the fact that following the move to place the three Senators on a paid vacation, it was decided by the leader of the Senate that what was required to “…repair some of the damage that has been wrought…” was to hold a two-hour ethics training session.
 
Senator Calderon is age 56, Senator Wright is 61, and Senator Yee is 65, so the question becomes at what point in their collective lives did the question of following the rule of law or engaging in ethical behavior become murky? Does anyone truly believe that an ethics training class lasting less time than the average fundraiser held by any one of these politicians would have made a difference prior to being caught by the authorities?
 
It’s time for the people of California to get more than eyewash ethics. It’s time for officeholders who commit themselves to restoring trust or who pledge themselves to “…restoring the Legislature’s honor” to stop talking and start acting. Talk for the purpose of getting elected seems to have resulted in the belief that two hours of training is all that is needed.
May 23, 2014 6:15 AM PT

Poll: Kashkari Still in Third, but Closes Gap with Donnelly

Republican moderate Neel Kashkari has closed the gap with Tea Party favorite Tim Donnelly in the race for California governor, while both trail incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown by a wide margin, a new poll reveals. May 22, 2014 6:20 AM PT

Finally: California Mayor Tells Bullying Victims to 'Grow a Pair'

The mainstream media are all agog and aghast in feigned outrage at Porterville, California mayor Cameron Hamilton's advice to victims of bullying: that they should "grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves." This is timeless and eminently sensible advice, passed down by responsible fathers to their sons, or by caring mothers in the form of karate lessons. Yet it's politically incorrect, in the Obama age, to fight back--at all. May 20, 2014 10:30 AM PT

Macklemore's anti-Jewish Rap: Same Hate

The worst thing about Macklemore's antisemitic performance in Seattle last Friday is not that he dressed up as a hook-nosed, black-bearded Jewish caricature (in a non-ironic fashion). Nor is it that he performed his song "Thrift Shop," driving home the stereotype. Nor is it that Macklemore pulled his stunt despite being fĂȘted by Hollywood as a symbol of tolerance for gays, winning awards and accolades for his 2013 anthem "Same Love." May 19, 2014 2:47 PM PT

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