(Samuel L. Jackson describes the joy of the Marvel Playground.)
Observations by and for the vaguely disenchanted.
Risking the wrath of the whatever
from high atop the thing.
"Going to an American hospital, for a veteran, shouldn't require more courage than storming the beach at Normandy."
(The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: "Nooney Tunes")
If you've been irritated for years by Peggy Noonan's self-serving, pompous blatherings, boy, do I have something for you.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart hits another one out of the park.
America tries to recover from two major disasters- Hurricane Sandy and the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.
("The Daily Show" video.)
Before everyone gets their knickers in a twist over Al Jazeera buying Al Gore's Current TV, let's take a deep breath and recall this informative little August, 2010 clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
Quotes of the day- Jon Stewart:
Jon Stewart (born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz; November 28, 1962) is an American political satirist, writer, television host, actor, media critic and stand-up comedian. He is widely known as host of The Daily Show, a satirical news program that airs on Comedy Central. (Click for full article.)
Arizona is the meth lab of democracy.
By the way, when you finish the bottle of Crown Royal, you can still use the pouch to hold your broken dreams.
Divorce isn't caused because 50 percent of marriages end in gayness.
Even the Stock-Pickin' Chicken is right some of the time.
Every country has at least one museum that says “Here's why we chased you out.”
Everyone knows if a Republican comes out of the closet and sees a gay shadow, it means six more years of a Democratic administration.
Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch.
I have complete faith in the continued absurdity of whatever's going on.
I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn't realize is that those people are assholes.
I look at politicians as, they are doing what inherently they need to do to retain power. Their job is to consolidate power. When you go to the zoo and you see a monkey throwing poop, you go, “that's what monkeys do, what are you gonna do?” But what I wish the media would do more frequently is say “bad monkey.”
I view America like this: 70 to 80 percent [are] pretty reasonable people that truthfully, if they sat down, even on contentious issues, would get along. And the other 20 percent of the country run it.
If I'd only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today. Provided I'd started with a hundred million dollars.
If the presidency is the head of the American body politic, Congress is its gastrointestinal tract. Its vast and convoluted inner workings may be mysterious and unpleasant, but in the end they excrete a great deal of material whose successful passage is crucial to our nation's survival.
If they have success, they built it. If they failed, the government ruined it for them. If they get a break, they deserve it. If you get a break, it's a handout and an entitlement. It's a baffling, willfully blind cognitive dissonance.
If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.
If you don't stick to your values when they're being tested, they're not values- they're hobbies.
If you have too many white people at a rally, then your cause is racist. And if you have too many people of color at a rally, you must be asking for something.
It does not matter what we say or do; it matters only what is reported about what we say or do.
It doesn't make it a gotcha question just because it got ya.
It feels like all the people who want limited government really just want government limited to Republicans.
No one's going to march in the streets carrying a sign that says “Be Reasonable!”
Religion is kinda like nuclear power: you split the atom this way, you get electricity; you split it that way, you get an atomic bomb.
Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion. If America leads a blessed life, then why did God put all of our oil under people who hate us?
The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom. That's all it is. All those media companies say, “We're going to make a killing here.” You won't because it's still only as good as the content.
The Jews celebrate Passover by eating unpalatable food to remind them what will happen to their people if they ever leave New York City.
The reason I don't worry about society is, nineteen people knocked down two buildings and killed thousands. Hundreds of people ran into those buildings to save them. I'll take those odds every day.
The Senate seems like the place where smart people go to die.
The wisdom of the masses is not always... wise.
They always throw around this term “the liberal elite.” And I kept thinking to myself about the Christian right. What's more elite than believing that only you will go to heaven?
We declared war on terror- it's not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I'm sure we'll take on that bastard ennui.
We need religion to give grace and comfort to a world torn apart by religion.
Yes, the long war on Christianity. I pray that one day we may live in an America where Christians can worship freely! In broad daylight! Openly wearing the symbols of their religion... perhaps around their necks? And maybe- dare I dream it?- maybe one day there can be an openly Christian President. Or, perhaps, 43 of them. Consecutively.
You have to remember one thing about the will of the people: It wasn't that long ago that we were swept away by The Macarena.
That famous quote by Mythbuster Adam Savage is, simply, the reason why the Republicans were handed their lunch on Tuesday.
Here are two essays which address the issue in a sane, rational manner. The videos that follow, from last night's Daily Show, are a bit more... bombastic.
Ohio really did go to President Obama last night, and he really did win. And really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to over sample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing. And Benghazi was an attack on us. It was not a scandal by us. And nobody is taking away anyone's guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction. And the moon landing was real, and FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in the country are not the same things as Communism.
Listen. Last night was a good night for Democrats and liberals for very obvious reasons. But it was also possibly a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two party system in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing this country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff. And if the Republican party and the conservative movement and the conservative media are stuck in a vacuum-sealed door-locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate between competing feasible ideas about real problems.
Last night the Republicans got shellacked. And they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them in real time, in real humiliating time, not believe it as it was happening to them. And unless they are going to secede, they are going to have to pop the factual bubble they've been so happy living inside... if they do not want to get shellacked again. And that will be a painful process for them, I'm sure, but it will be good for the whole country, left, right and center. You guys, we're counting on you. Wake up. There are real problems in the world. There are real knowable facts in the world. Let's accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let's move on from there. If the Republican party and the conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we'll all be better off as a nation.
And in that spirit, congratulations everybody.
If You're Surprised By The Election Results, You're The Reason You Lost, Or: A Plea for Useful Republicans.
I know the despair you feel this morning, and sympathize, because I've been there. In 2004 my stiff, robotic millionaire lost to a President he should have soundly thumped, and I was so hurt I took a week off from the Internet afterwards. I am completely sympathetic with that slow terror that the country is now in the hands of an incompetent, and the voters don't even know it.
But I noticed a weird difference between the way Republicans and Democrats reacted to a losing candidate. In 2004, when the polls turned against Kerry and it was obvious he was going to lose, the Democrats asked "How can we fix that?" Oh, they asked in their glum, incompetent way, but when I personally talked to other Democrats both in real life and online, we were all pretty cognizant of the fact that Kerry was the underdog.
The Republicans of 2012, however, became increasingly convinced that Romney was going to win.
Everywhere I looked on Twitter and Facebook, I saw my Republican friends- not straw men, but actual people- talking about how terrible Nate Silver's methods were, how these Rasmussen polls showed Romney's real strength, and eventually you got the travesty of UnSkewedPolls.com, which cherry-picked the data and even today has their prediction of not just a Romney win but a landslide, Romney 311 to Obama 227. (Actual result: Obama 332, Romney 206.)
It all crystallized for me when my friend Brad Torgerson said, "Liberals and Democrats have Nate Silver and his 538 blog. Conservatives and Republicans have the U of CO guys. It's an epic cage match of predictive numbers geekery!"
Look there. Right at that post- one not too dissimilar from a thousand other dismissals of Nate Silver and the other aggregated polls. See what Brad did there? The way the guy bringing you news he didn't like was automatically assigned a partisan bias, and the only rational solution was to get a guy on your side with better numbers? As if reality was merely a function of getting enough guys on your side?
That's why you lost.
Stop confusing hard reality for partisan opposition.
It's time to step out of the bubble, dear Republicans, because we fucking need you. I don't trust the Democratic party to run the country single-handedly. I want a Republican party I can rely on for real solutions- and you've become lazy, voodoo-like, dismissing any data you don't like as partisan opposition.
Jay Lake is fond of saying, "Reality has a liberal bias." That's not because reality inevitably verifies liberal thinking, but because the Republican response to anything that challenges them is now to write off the data.
And let me repeat: we need you. I want a counterweight to Democratic power, not a deadweight that refuses to acknowledge the issues. I want a Republican party that will look at the numbers for climate change and not go, "I don't like what those scientists are saying, so I'll call it a silly liberal bias!" but say, "We're business experts, we know how to motivate rich people to do what we want, how do we fix this?" I want a Republican party that will realize while yes, we're spending far too much and should cut down, the results of thirty years of trickle-down theory and tax cuts won't actually provide enough revenue, because we are at the lowest effective tax rates we've had in thirty years.
And yes, you can argue all my statements here. But in that, smart person, you're like a driver with an SUV in Alaska. A person with a car in Alaska is going to get stuck in the snow eventually; that's a fact. But if you have an SUV, you're gonna get stuck way the heck out in the woods where no one can get at you, because you have the strength to do it and won't stop when common sense tells you to. I had a ton of Very Smart friends dissecting all the reasons why Nate Silver was wrong, why his methodology sucked, why these pollsters who said what they liked over here had better ways of slicing the data- and all that flurry of so-called "facts" amounted to was an elaborate justification of personal biases that had no basis in reality.
It's time to stop fighting the obvious. It's time to stop assuming that anyone who presents contradictory data is out to get you.
You should have won, guys. You had a President with an economy in the doldrums, a guy who'd lost a lot of his electoral mojo in the realities of politics. But instead of rising from the grave, you chose a candidate who never actually gave us firm numbers on what expenses he'd cut to fix the economy. You chose a candidate who said he'd get rid of Obamacare, but never actually named the parts he'd destroy. You chose someone who, though all politicians lie, lied a lot more than almost any modern Presidential candidate.
You had a guy who should have sliced Obama to ribbons- and he lost, in large part, because he said, "Trust me" instead of giving us a plan. And you let him get away with it.
You let him get away with it because you're indulging in a great deal of magical thinking. You let him get away with it because facts have ceased to matter; as long as someone tells you something you want to hear, you'll find a way to justify it with pseudo-science and trust and spit and baling wire. You don't like to hear how bad a candidate Mitt was, because you came so close this year, but it's true; the problem is that so much of the country has abandoned listening to reality that you can get massive votes and never touch a fact.
If you can't be honest today, in the aftermath of this great defeat, then you're never going to see the truth.
If you seriously thought that Romney had a good chance of winning, then you're part of the problem. Wake up. I implore you: learn from this. Look at your deepest beliefs, and see whether the numbers support them. Start thinking, maybe those people with data I don't like are right.
If you think the lesson to be learned is "We weren't conservative enough," then you're handing me a great victory in 2016. I want to have a real choice then.
T.F. (The Ferret)
Megyn Kelly teaches Karl Rove the power of scientific gobbledygook.
"If only President Bush could have been so lucky as to have a massive hurricane on his watch, then... oh, right..."
It's just arithmetic.
Categories: Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly, Chick-fil-A, Daily Show, Elections, Fox News, Hypocrisy, Jon Stewart, Karl Rove, Megyn Kelly, Mitt Romney, Nate Silver, News Media, Politics, Rachel Maddow, Sarah Palin, The Ferret, YouTube
The first sentence of the Constitution mentions unions and welfare.
I don't know what to tell ya.
-Jon Stewart (debating Bill O'Reilly)
Fox News is upset that empty-headed puppets are trying to brainwash and
indoctrinate Americans... Perhaps you could sue them. The charge could
be copyright infringement.
The Rumble in the Air Conditioned Auditorium: Bill O'Reilly vs Jon Stewart. NSFW language.
"Why is it if you take advantage of a tax break and you're a corporation, you’re a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something you need to not be hungry, you’re a moocher?”
Jon Stewart and The Daily Show again display why they've won ten consecutive Emmy Awards.
Stewart draws disturbing comparisons between Charlie Gordon in Flowers For Algernon and Mitt's accelerating, inexorable descent into madness...
"...For there are even more on the government dole than even his 49% accounts for. Like those welfare queens at ExxonMobil, AT&T, GE, et al... 250 corporations that from 2008 to 2010 got nearly a quarter trillion in tax subsidies. Although to be fair, at least ExxonMobil and AT&T give us back cheap gas and reliable cell phone service..."
"If they have success, they built it. If they failed, the government ruined it for them. If they get a break, they deserve it. If you get a break, it'a a handout and an entitlement.
It's a baffling, willfully blind cognitive dissonance...
(Watch the top of the video- you can skip the ad after a few seconds...)
"Mitt Romney is a political contortionist. He can shoot himself in the
foot while it's still in his mouth while his head is up his ass. The
exit wound is spectacular. Then for an encore, he gets the other foot."
It's why Al Gore invented the Internet:
Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart debate!
Fact: Of the ten states with the highest percentage of people who pay no income tax, nine are red states.
... and today's youth know the difference...
Mitt Romney was promised that he'd get the majority of delegates in the GOP primaries and would be the presumptive nominee. The guy with the ruddy complexion, sulfurous b.o. and pointed prehensile tail didn't actually say he'd get the nomination. Always read the small print before you sign anything, Mittens. Especially in blood. (Wasn't a variation of this an old Twilight Zone episode?)
The Internet is run by a guy named Heisenberg, and his principles are
-Kevin G. Barkes
Expect a resolution in short order to the Viacom-DirecTV dispute. My mother discovered yesterday that Jon Stewart's Daily Show was missing from her DVR. She was not amused, and called me prior to phoning DirecTV's customer service line. I think she just wanted to be certain that I was in town if she needed bail money. There are stiff penalties for using that kind of language on the telephone, even if you're an 85-year-old retired teacher with a vocabulary that spans two languages and can cause sailors to blush in either.
Speaking of DirecTV and The Daily Show, the program's staff constantly updated the satellite provider's customers on Twitter with Viacom shows they were missing during the blackout:
#OnViacomRightNow Latest episode of Spike TV's "World's Fullest Bras."
#OnViacomRightNow Teen Grandmom Season Premier!
#OnViacomRightNow Nazis vs. Martians on Deadliest Warrior. Go Nazis!
#OnViacomRightNow On Centric, that Soul Train Line dance your uncle was in.
#OnViacomRightNow "Harlan Oaklee's Meth Kitchen" premiere on Spike TV.
#OnViacomRightNow Rick Astley and Adam Ant host VH-1's "Hits of the Reagan Era" special.
#OnViacomRightNow The cast of "Real World: St. Thomas" clean their house and treat each other like human beings. Once in a lifetime, people!
#OnViacomRightNow Roseanne puts special surprise in the LunchBox's loose meat on TV Land. Meanwhile, Darlene broods.
#OnViacomRightNow Snooki tells Jersey Shore housemates she's pregnant, switches to white wine.
Also on Twitter, a Tea Party member called Keith Olberman a "douchback." Better than being a humpbag, I guess.
Andy Borowitz was on a roll, as well:
Judging from Internet comments, the only thing the right wing hates more than healthcare is spelling.
Having your movie attacked by Rush Limbaugh is like having your movie attacked by an obese drug addict.
McCain: "Romney had all his money hidden in Switzerland. Sarah Palin was better, because she had never heard of Switzerland."
I had never heard of Yahoo's new CEO, so I Googled her.
John McCain calls Obama's 1st term "the worst thing I've ever observed." I guess he didn't watch Katie Couric's interview with his VP pick.
To celebrate National Karma Day, a pack of wild dogs just strapped Mitt Romney to the roof of a car.
Bonus birthday quotes of the day- Hunter S. Thompson:
Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author. He first came to popular attention with the publication of Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (1966), although the work he remains best known for is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971), which was first serialised in Rolling Stone magazine.
Thompson became a counter cultural figure as the creator of "Gonzo Journalism," an experimental style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. He had an inveterate hatred of Richard Nixon, who he claimed represented "that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character" and who he characterised in what many consider to be his best book, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail (1972). He was known also for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal drugs; his love of firearms and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism.
While suffering a bout of health problems, he committed suicide in 2005 at the age of 67.
The full Wikipedia article on Thompson is available here.
A collection of Thompson quotes from the KGB Quotations Database is available here.
"I was also drunk, crazy and heavily armed at all times. People trembled
and cursed when I came into a public room and started screaming in
-Hunter S. Thompson
As Dave Barry would say, You Cannot Make Up This Stuff.
(Colbert Report video: Think Citizens United was a joke? You have no idea...)
"Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,
558 U.S. 08-205 (2010), 558 U.S. ––––, 130 S.Ct. 876
(January 21, 2010), was a landmark decision by the United
States Supreme Court holding that the First Amendment
prohibits government from placing limits on independent
spending for political purposes by corporations and unions.
The 5–4 decision originated in a dispute over whether the
non-profit corporation Citizens United could air a film
critical of Hillary Clinton, and whether the group could
advertise the film in broadcast ads featuring Clinton's
image, in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign
Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act in
reference to its primary Senate sponsors."
By giving corporations First Amendment rights and removing limits on donation size, the Court, in the words of President Obama, "gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington- while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates," and "strikes at our democracy itself."
The clip above is simultaneously hilarious, enlightening, and depressing. It's an accurate depiction of how SuperPACs work- although the transfer "ceremony" is optional- and reveals how the Supreme Court gave coporations a blank check.
And, depressingly, it's real. This is what a conservative Supreme Court has done to our election process.
"His plan to fix America is for black kids to start cleaning toilets?"
(Daily Show video: Larry Wilmore analyzes Newtspeak.)
"I didn't know there was a black poverty, Jon, I thought it was just poverty. Okay? We can't even be poor as good as you guys?
"Somehow when black people are poor, it's their fault. They're on welfare and lazy. But down in poor white Appalachia, you're not the problem. It's China's fault or India's fault, or all the money we're spending on black people on welfare. I'm sorry- inner-city government subsidy recipients."
But the trophy goes to The Colbert Report, which reveals the true source of Newt's most audacious ideas:
(Colbert Report video: Stephen discovers Newt's true alter ego.)
Calvin Trillin (b. December 5, 1935):
Americans drive across the country as if someone's chasing them.
As far as I'm concerned, “whom” is a word that was invented to make everyone sound like a butler.
Health food makes me sick.
I don't care where I sit, as long as I get fed.
I never did very well in math- I could never seem to persuade the teacher that I hadn't meant my answers literally.
If Lincoln freed the slaves and preserved the Union, how come “Lincolnesque” just means tall?
In modern America, anyone who attempts to write satirically about the events of the day finds it difficult to concoct a situation so bizarre that it may not actually come to pass while the article is still on the presses.
(Daily Show: Trillin demonstrates how bizarre, concocted satire can become reality.)
Marriage is part of a sort of 50s revival package that's back in vogue along with neckties and naked ambition.
Not as bad as you might have expected.
(his suggested state motto for New Jersey)
The price of purity is purists.
The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served us nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
When someone reaches middle age, people he knows begin to get put in charge of things, and knowing what he knows about the people who are being put in charge of things scares the hell out of him.
"They can't stand that a black man, much blacker than Obama, and a real American black, is this right-winger."-Ann Coulter
"Even I'm offended by that, and I'm a racist."-Jon Stewart
("The Daily Show" video, in which Donald Trump expresses outrage at Jon Stewart's racist impression of Herman Cain, and Ann Coulter notes Republican blacks are better than Democratic blacks.)
The cynic in me sometimes thinks candidates and politicians behave this way because they know the game is rigged, the process is a charade, and it just doesn't make any difference who gets elected.
"All of this back and forth debate implies that there are really
choices in this country- that we really have choices. It’s an illusion.
There is no real choice... Americans are meant to feel free by the
exercise of meaningless choice. You know what the choices are in this
country? Paper or plastic, aisle or window, smoking or no smoking.
These are your real choices. You don’t get to choose anything."
"You had your shot, guys. For one shining moment, you weren't the biggest boobs on television."
(The Daily Show video: Nancy's wardrobe malfunction, Fox and Friends' seventh grade hazing of Chaz Bono continues.)
Only $200,000 a year for food? The threatened extinction of Subway, Bill O'Reilly and the super rich.
("Moneybrawl" clip from "The Daily Show")
Perhaps a different, more direct perspective is needed:
(Clip from an Elizabeth Warren speech in Andover, MA.)
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.
You built a factory out there- good for you! But I want to be clear.
You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.
You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.
You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.
You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.
Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea- God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.
But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney garners sympathy from an unusual source: The Daily Show's Jon Stewart.
("The Daily Show" clip: citing Obi-Wan.)