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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State Bar: No Comment on Lawyer who Gave Electrical Shock to Witness

The California State Bar is not commenting on whether it would discipline a California attorney who gave an electric shock to a witness during testimony in a Utah state court. The attorney, Don Howarth, gave an expert witness a trick pen with a AAA battery that shocked him. The point was to show, contrary to the expert's testimony, that the same current could give a shock to cows grazing on land above underground power cables. May 13, 2014 5:48 AM PT

Toyota is Leaving, but Sriracha Hot Sauce Will Stay in California

Toyota may be leaving for Texas, but Sriracha Hot Sauce is staying put. That is the latest news from the troubled condiment manufacturer, whose plight has become a cause célèbre for locals irritated by the state's onerous business regulations, but which in the end could not afford the distance from the peppers needed to make its signature product. The company may, however, expand into other states, according to NPR. May 12, 2014 5:45 AM PT

Pants on Fire: Politifact in Texas-Sized Blunder Defending Wendy Davis

Politifact Texas hit Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott May 6 with its worst rating--"pants on fire"--for claiming that Democrat rival Wendy Davis raised money for a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. That member was Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who hosted Davis at her annual "Ultimate Women's Power Lunch" fundraiser on May 5. The fact is that Schakowsky was indeed a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, as Breitbart News readers can confirm in the documents below. May 12, 2014 4:46 AM PT

Sandra Fluke May Have Met Her Match

Free-birth-control advocate Sandra Fluke began her campaign for the California State Senate after something of an anticlimax. She had intended to run for the congressional seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). Party elders, however, intervened, and she decided to set her sights on state office, declaring instead for the State Senate seat currently held by Democrat Ted Lieu, who is one of the contenders to succeed Waxman. May 11, 2014 1:40 PM PT

Roommate: Chuck Schumer 'Has Not Made His Bed in 30 Years'

Retiring congressman George Miller, a Bay Area Democrat and lieutenant to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, told a local NBC News reporter that his roommate, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), "has not made his bed in 30 years." May 11, 2014 6:35 AM PT

Almonds, Rice Suffer Drought's Worst Effects

The extended drought in California--one of the worst in the state's history--is hitting the Central Valley farming region, and several key crops in particular. The Sacramento Bee reports that almonds, the state's largest farm export in dollar terms, are in danger throughout the San Joaquin Valley, and also reports that rice paddies are being fallowed and farmers are turning to substitute crops such as popcorn in the Sacramento Valley. May 11, 2014 6:11 AM PT

Roske Drops Out, Endorses Independent Williamson in Waxman Race

Brent Roske, a television producer and director who was running as an independent, has dropped out of the race for the congressional seat held by retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and endorsed fellow independent Marianne Williamson. The Williamson campaign released a video of Roske's endorsement at its campaign headquarters on May 9, and welcomed his support as a sign of that campaign's growing momentum. May 11, 2014 5:51 AM PT

Blue State Blues: Why Do America's Rich Hate Themselves?

President Barack Obama's fundraising pilgrimage to California touched all the liberal stations: Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and La Jolla. Two patterns stood out: first, that Obama continues to be heckled by friendly audiences; and second, that America's richest political donors not only tolerate attacks on wealth but enjoy them, nodding and murmuring their approval when the president tells them they are the greatest enemies. May 9, 2014 6:47 PM PT

Kashkari Campaign Blasts 'Preposterous' Donnelly 'Sharia' Claim

Republican Neel Kashkari is still blasting rival Assemblyman Tim Donnelly’s claim that he was involved in encouraging sharia-compliant finance--that is, banking in accordance with Islamic law--in his role overseeing the Wall Street bailout at the U.S. Treasury, and specifically through a conference on Islamic finance in 2008. May 9, 2014 2:21 PM PT

What Really Happened at Kashkari 'Sharia' Seminar?

Debate over sharia, or Islamic law, has suddenly seized California in the midst of an election year. In Beverly Hills, Hollywood A-listers are boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel to rebuke the owner, the Sultan of Brunei, for harsh anti-gay laws passed recently in his country. And in the race for governor, Tim Donnelly has called out rival Neel Kashkari for his alleged support for Islamic banking during his tenure at the U.S. Treasury. May 9, 2014 8:48 AM PT

Opposition Advances in South African Elections

South Africa's leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) made historic strides in that country's national and provincial elections this week, reaching record high of 22% support nationally and nearly 60% in the Western Cape province, where it governs. However, the DA failed to break through the 30 percent barrier or to push the ruling African National Congress (ANC) below 60 percent. The ANC finished with over 62%. May 9, 2014 8:11 AM PT

Kashkari Campaign Misleads About Sharia Finance Conference

An adviser to Republican Neel Kashkari's gubernatorial campaign incorrectly described a 2008 conference that Kashkari addressed on sharia-compliant finance on Thursday in a fierce radio debate with rival Republican Tim Donnelly. Kashkari aide Aaron McLear called into KSCO AM 1080 during an appearance with Donnelly, saying that "What actually happened was Neel was teaching Islamic bankers how to promote free market principles in Islamic societies under Sharia law." In fact, a review of the conference agenda indicates the opposite was true. May 9, 2014 5:53 AM PT

Sultan of Brunei Loses $2 Million in Beverly Hills Backlash

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, is consistently ranked among the richest men in the world. When he last visited Los Angeles in December 2011, police halted traffic on the 405 freeway--normally one of the busiest roads in the U.S.--during rush hour to allow room for his motorcade as he visited his California properties (see photo above). Yet he has suffered millions in losses in recent gay rights protests at the Beverly Hills Hotel. May 8, 2014 11:29 PM PT

Obama Heckled at Silicon Valley Fundraiser: 'You Screwed up My Ending'

President Barack Obama took his message of fighting economic inequality to an audience of wealthy Silicon Valley executives who gathered at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose on Thursday evening. A heckler interrupted the president, shouting, "Freedom for Ethiopia!" Obama scolded: "You kind of screwed up my ending." May 8, 2014 10:01 PM PT

Obama Complains to Hollywood Donors of 'Frustration'

President Barack Obama told donors at an exclusive Hollywood fundraiser for the Democratic Party that he needed their help to undo the "frustration" of politics in Washington. There is "an anxiety, and a sense of frustration," the president--now in his sixth year of office--complained, according to a report in Variety, adding that "the challenges out there remain daunting and we have a Washington that’s not working." May 8, 2014 5:53 AM PT


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