Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Wink and The Gun

Bill O'Reilly is generally and correctly thought of as one of the worst people currently living. If you follow the link below, however, you will see a man grasping with the complex moral issue of whether or not murder is something that people should be doing on their own, in the streets, after TV pundits tell them to. It's like Dostoevsky!

O'Reilly recently got a lot of heat for calling health-care-provider George Tiller "Tiller the baby killer" on his nightly opinion/hate show. When a fringe lunatic murdered Tiller, Billy was all, "oh, wow, I can't believe that happened! Oh me oh my I NEVER wanted that!"

Since that controversy, O'Reilly must take the unfamiliar position of not advocating murder on his show. He recently had Geraldo--who, by the way, not-so-subtly called for the execution of a private citizen by other private citizens--on the show, and the two of them discussed the finer points of mob justice. Geraldo is all excited about this new era wherein the populace takes the law into it's own collective, righteous, Fox News-watching hands, but O'Reilly must force himself to play devil's advocate and disagree. He is obviously uncomfortable with this new "pro-life" stance, as indicated by his stumbling over phrases like, "Now, we shouldn't actually KILL these people, right?"

I can't find the video of this on youtube or google, so here's a link to Gawker, with video embedded.

For more information on how right-wing pundits can spurn on vigilante justice, see this article by Chip Berlet on Huffpo, or listen to Terry Gross interview him on Fresh Air.

I disagree with parts of Berlet's argument in the Fresh Air interview, particularly when he equates left- and right-wing extremism. Although I don't subscribe to the Truther movement, I have found that--by and large--that community is driven by skepticism of the official government explanation of 9/11, not bigotry, xenophobia, or any of the other wonderhate ideologies that are so often a part of right-wing extremism. That said, the interview is still well worth listening to. Here's a small excerpt from his Huffpo piece:

Demagogues and conspiracy theorists use the same four "tools of fear." These are 1) dualism; 2) scapegoating; 3) demonization; and 4) apocalyptic aggression. The tools of fear are a connected constellation of frames, narratives, and processes used by demagogues to mobilize resentment and undermine the democratic process.

The basic dynamics remain the same no matter the ideological leanings of the demonizers or the identity of their targets. Meanwhile, our ability to resolve disputes through civic debate and compromise is hobbled. It is the combination of demagogic demonization and widespread scapegoating that is so dangerous. In such circumstances, angry allegations can quickly turn into apocalyptic aggression and violence targeting scapegoated groups like Jews or immigrants.

Let's just say it's lucky for this blog that the Irish are now just considered White, because if they were hated like they used to be, I'd be blogging from my mom's basement.

The Coup Has Not Yet Been Tweeted

Iran recently became the cause celebre for keyboard warriors--such as this blog--and well-meaning internet people the world over. We had important work to do! There was retweeting, avatar-color turning (which I did and I'm not apologizing for--yes, it was purely symbolic, but probably better than nothing, if only in a small way), video sharing, location jamming...

The list goes on. For reasons that are not yet clear, the weekend coup in Honduras has not captured the imagination of the world in the same way. While the situations aren't identical, one would think that if Americans can get worked up over a fraudulent election in Iran, they can also get worked up over the military ousting of a democratically elected president of a country that the United States has had a military presence in since the 1980s.

Greg Grandin, professor of Latin American history at NYU and author of Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, spoke on Democracy Now yesterday and had this to say:

The Honduran military is effectively a subsidiary of the United States government.

Yikes! Yowza! Etc. Grandin continued:

Honduras, as a whole, if any Latin American country is fully owned by the United States, it’s Honduras. Its economy is wholly based on trade, foreign aid and remittances. So if the US is opposed to this coup going forward, it won’t go forward. Zelaya will return, if the United States—if Obama and Hillary Clinton are sincere in their statements about returning Zelaya to power.

In a show that Honduras really may be taking its cues from Washington, the NY Times reports today:

In the face of criticism from across the hemisphere, the new government hunkered down in Mr. Zelaya’s old office, ringed by soldiers and defending its actions as a bid to save the country’s democracy, not undermine it.

Acting outside the law to preserve it! I'm pretty sure that the Bush/Obama administrations have used that same rationale to justify suspension of habeus corpus rights. The world is finally looking back to the USA for moral guidance. Shining city on the hill!

Monday, June 29, 2009

With What Will We Cool Our Cocktails?!

Here's a scary picture for all you drunken liberal elitists out there. It's photographic evidence that god doesn't want you to drink so many mixed drinks so he (or rather, He) is taking away your precious ice glaciers for whiskey.

(via Krugman, Original source)

The House just passed a small step forward towards slowing down climate change. Ezra Klein is pessimistic, however.

The flip side to that bit of optimism is that the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill -- am I the only one who wants to see climate change explained to kids by way of the friendly pirate Cap'n Trade? -- probably won't do that much to avert global warming, either.

That said, it's my sense that supporters of Waxman-Markey have spent a lot of time in the last week or two defending the bill in terms of how insignificant its long-term effect on prices will be. I've been one of those people. But I'm not sure it's a good idea. Climate change is a big problem. It will eventually require a big solution. My understanding is that the polling suggests that people don't like it when you tell them this is a big problem and they don't want to be convinced that they need to spend their time worrying about something new. In fact, like kids who want to believe that they're going to the doctor for a lollipop, they want to hear that this is an awesome new jobs program. But it isn't an awesome new jobs program. It's an effort to avert a catastrophe on the only planet we know how to inhabit. And I can't see a successful respond to climate change that doesn't presuppose a majority sharing that belief.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tools Get Much Needed iPhone Tool

When you run (or read) a blog as popular as this one, you're gonna have ladies throwin' theyselves at you left and right. Luckily, some enterprising misogynist has created an iPhone app that will help readers of ComedyandPolitics keep their ladies straight.

Here's the product description, from the website. [ed: Providing link for verification purposes. Don't buy this app.]

Welcome to the famous "The Amazing Girlfriend Manager"!

With this application you can improve your relationships by applying concepts of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) on your girlfriends. Think about your girlfriend as a client! What information and tools you need to improve your relationship? This application is the answer.

Features of this application:
- Allows you to manage multiple girlfriends at the same time (not recommended for moral reasons)
- You can assign a rating for each girl
- Stores personal information, preferences, sizes of clothing, notes and other data for each girl

For each girl you can register:
- Gifts given and received, cost and rating
- Dates, location, cost and rating
- Special dates (first date, first kiss, first trip together, bla bla bla…)

Benefits that this application can bring to you:
- Don’t make mistakes. Check the measurements of the girl before you buy a new pair of shoes or clothing
- Be creative. Do not repeat gifts
- Be more creative. Avoid always going to the same places with the same girl
- Be attentive. Do not forget your special dates
- Be healthy. Do not mix information from two girls
- Be the master. Show to your friends your long list of girls
- Be selective. Through the analysis of ratings and cost of dates and gifts, you can keep only the girls with the best cost-benefit

WARNING: For your own safety, under any circumstances, do not let your girlfriend access this application


Froomkin Throws A Middle Finger Up, Says See Y'all In A Few Weeks

Dan Froomkin's recent firing from the Washington Post resulted in a huge (and much deserved) backlash from the blogosphere.

The Post published his last column today, which includes this fantastic line:

Hopefully, the next time the nation faces a grave national security crisis, we will listen to the people who were right, not the people who were wrong, and heed those who reported the truth, not those who served as stenographers to liars.

Wherever Froomkin eventually lands, take note. He's been one of the best, and we need him to continue to hold Obama accountable. You know, like a journalist.

Wallabies Enter Heroin Phase

I'll pass this story along, because why not. It's a summer Friday afternoon, and these lazy days are fit only for stories of drugged up marsupials. From the BBC:

Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around "as high as a kite", a government official has said.

Lara Giddings, the attorney general for the island state of Tasmania, said the kangaroo-like marsupials were getting into poppy fields grown for medicine.

She was reporting to a parliamentary hearing on security for poppy crops.

Australia supplies about 50% of the world's legally-grown opium used to make morphine and other painkillers.

"The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles," Lara Giddings told the hearing.

"Then they crash," she added. "We see crop circles in the poppy industry from wallabies that are high."

I can tell you from personal experience that you don't want to be around when wallabies are coming down from a morphine high. Lots of crying. Lots and lots of crying.

This is the animal kingdom equivalent of doing donuts in the high school parking lot and then sleeping in an opium field.

King Of Pop Meets Iran

Here's your video for today. It covers everything that is happening in the world right now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Citizen Radio

I recorded a very fun podcast last Saturday afternoon with Jamie Kilstein, Allison Kilkenny, and co-guest Mike Drucker, esquire (probably).

You can listen to it online here, or download it from itunes by searching for Citizen Radio and downloading today's episode. While you're there, subscribe to the show. It's a good one.

The four of us talked for a loooong time, so there will be at least one more part to our conversation, which will air next week.

Drink At Work Video

I was involved in a Drink at Work video that just got posted online, but the computer I'm currently on doesn't have quicktime, so I can't embed it. Here's a link. I haven't seen it yet, so if you watch it tell me if I'm any good in it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Aged News

This is from a few days ago, but it is an absolute must watch from The Daily Show.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
End Times
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorNewt Gingrich Unedited Interview

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

David Angelo Radio

For anyone who's interested, I'll be on the David Angelo Radio program tonight. Listen live, or download it later, here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What Does Internet Mean To You?

Old video, via Wonkette. Favorite part: the reporter doesn't use the definitive article "the" before "internet," so it sounds like he's talking about some robot named "Internet."

Watch and wonder.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


For anyone who's interested, I'll be on Keith and the Girl tonight at 7pm. You can listen live at their web site www.katg.com, or download the podcast later tonight from the same place. It's always a fun time over there, so do tune in if you have a chance.