Back in college, my time-management skills were about as terrible as they are today (although I didn’t have the benefit of an ADHD diagnosis back then, whatever that benefit might be.) I would occasionally find myself facing a due date for a paper—for which I had not even started preparing—that was, in the context of the time, “tomorrow.” This necessitated that time-honored college tradition, the “all-nighter.” I couldn’t tell you how many of those I pulled back in the day. (Left entirely to my own devices, I think I’d still be primarily nocturnal, but that’s a story for another day.)
Unlike many college-age kids, though, I was never very good at going without sleep altogether. Upon wrapping up my 5-to-7-page tome comparing and contrasting Henry Kissinger’s The White House Years to William Shawcross’ Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon & the Destruction of Cambodia at around 4:00 a.m.*, I still felt the compelling need for sleep. I developed a technique I referred to as “the sneak” (mostly because I was too tired to think of a better name for it.) Continue reading
Apparently the Republican debate tonight, in which ten candidates will be participating, will be limited to a total of two hours, including commercials. If we assume 18 minutes of commercials per hour (it seems like most hour-long TV shows are around 42 minutes long without commercials), that means that, if we ignore the time needed for the moderators to ask questions, each candidate will get 8 minutes and 24 seconds total—assuming they divvy up the time evenly.
The ten participants, according to Politico, are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.
A summary of recent polls at Real Clear Politics shows Christie in last place out of this set of ten candidates, with 2.4 percent.
I have a suggestion for Gov. Christie. Continue reading
How does one advertise a product aimed at bowel evacuation? It is difficult to go wrong with unicorns, but you don’t want to stray too far from your central message. The people behind the Squatty Potty decided to hearken back to the centuries-old urban legend about soft-serve ice cream actually being the poop of enchanted unicorns. (You might just want to stop reading here.) Continue reading
What it’s like to live on $2 a day in the United States, Chico Harlan, Washington Post, September 11, 2015
It’s worth pondering for a moment just how difficult it is to survive on $2 per day. That’s a single gallon of gasoline. Or half a gallon of milk. If you took a D.C. bus this morning, you have 25 cents left for dinner. Among this group in extreme poverty, some get a boost from housing subsidies. Many collect food stamps — an essential part of survival. But so complete is their destitution, they have little means to climb out. (The book described one woman who scored a job interview, couldn’t afford transportation, walked 20 blocks to get there, and showed up looking haggard and drenched in sweat. She didn’t get hired.)
Edin is a professor specializing in poverty at Johns Hopkins University. Shaefer is an associate professor of social work and public policy at the University of Michigan. In several years of research that led to this book, they set up field offices both urban and rural — in Chicago, in Cleveland, in Johnson City, Tenn., in the Mississippi Delta — and tried to document this jarring form of American poverty.
Batman: Arkham Knight Has a Serious Problem With Women, Denny Connolly, Game Rant, June 2015 Continue reading
If you don’t know by now that you should always Google the subject matter of a meme before re-posting it, then you are either (a) too young to use a computer yet, or (b) hopeless. That said, it is now becoming clear that you shouldn’t always trust a debunking of a meme.
A series of images making their way around the web show huge numbers of people piling onto some rusty, rickety ships. The description often accompanying the image suggests that these are Syrian (or Libyan) refugees headed for Europe, with sinister suggestions for what that implies…
The terrifying cost of the Planned Parenthood hoax: “I have never seen such a volume, intensity and escalation of hate speech”, Bob Cesca, Salon, September 12, 2015
What’s also perfectly clear is that a series of horrendously edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of ghoulish criminal activity has effectively amplified the anti-choice outrage machine, which has to include the well-known terrorist fringe of the movement. As with the connection between the protest and the attack, there’s no way to know at this point whether the terrorist or terrorists responsible were specifically incited by the videos, but it’s reasonable to conclude that the videos, while being fraudulently produced, have touched off a new chapter of unmitigated sanctimony and bug-eyed fury over Planned Parenthood and other clinics that offer reproductive services for women.
Of course, the fakery of the videos, as well as the reality that Planned Parenthood saves considerably more lives than abortion services performed is irrelevant in the face of single-minded automatons who are feverishly motivated by the very thought of an aborted fetus. Nothing, in their minds, morally outweighs the photographic images of fetuses. Nothing. Yes, it’s all very graphic to laypeople, but the procedure shouldn’t in any universe morally justify threats or acts of terrorism. The same can be said about too many congressional and state level Republicans who are wasting untold millions of dollars in taxpayer revenue to investigate Planned Parenthood based on completely false charges. No wonder Florida Governor Rick Scott scrubbed the results of his investigation when they ended up showing zero wrongdoing on behalf of the clinics.
Bernie Sanders’s speech at Liberty University wasn’t a stunt. It’s core to his campaign. Andrew Prokop, Vox, September 14, 2015 Continue reading
The new racism embodied in total contempt for Obama, Wendell Berry, Lexington Herald-Leader, September 13, 2015
Nobody can doubt that virtually all of the president’s political enemies would vehemently defend themselves against a charge of racism. Virtually all of them observe the forms and taboos of political correctness. If any very visible one of their own should insult the president by a recognized racial slur, they would all join in the predictable outrage. But the paramount fact of this moment in the history of racism is that you don’t have to denominate the president by a recognized racial slur when his very name can be used as a synonym.
This subtilized racism is not only a perhaps unignorable lure to Republican politicians; it can also be noticeably corrupting to Democrats.
In Kentucky, for example, where Obama is acknowledged carefully to be “unpopular,” candidates of both parties have been, and still are, running “against Obama.” If the president comes into the state to visit, some Democratic candidates, like Republican candidates, become conspicuously busy elsewhere.
5 Surprising Things I Learned Infiltrating An Armed Militia, Harmon Leon, Cracked, August 03, 2015
The sound of gunfire rang off in the distance. Tense and paranoid, the backroom of the Westside Pistol Range felt like an Alex Jones discussion board come to life. Amalia arrived late with a lot on her mind. She shuffled through a handful of notes from her independent research on a nightmare anti-Utopian vision of America in which citizens are rounded up by their own government and placed in giant concentration camps. “They could just take us — because they kind of own us!” she stated with certainty.
The group listened intently. A large man behind me chimed in, his words accented by gunshots: “When the banks fail, they can confiscate our assets and not pay us back,” he said. Then he added that what Amalia mentioned could be found in a secret military manual called Civilian Management.
The 15 members present were frustrated, and wanted to take control of their lives in an America which they see as spinning out of control. Most importantly, these patriots wanted to hold on to their guns, so as to be armed against “unconstitutional” orders from an increasingly tyrannical government.
These are the Oath Keepers, a nonpartisan (but libertarian-leaning) organization whose members call themselves “Guardians of the Republic.” Founded in 2009 by Yale-educated attorney, former army paratrooper, and Ron Paul staffer Stewart Rhodes, their mission is to defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. The Oath Keepers’ core membership is largely comprised of active duty and retired police officers, firefighters, and military. Since Hurricane Katrina, they’ve feared that martial law will be instigated during future disasters and land every American in a 24/7 FEMA camp. Their motto: “Not on our watch!”