Thursday, July 31, 2014

Their Stupid

A teacher has been fired from an English-language school in Utah for using the word “homophone” in a sentence.  This is not from The Onion:

Homophones, as any English grammarian can tell you, are words that sound the same but have different meanings and often different spellings — such as be and bee, through and threw, which and witch, their and there.

This concept is taught early on to foreign students learning English because it can be confusing to someone whose native language does not have that feature.

But when the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda.

Tim Torkildson says after he wrote the blog on the website of his employer, Nomen Global Language Center, his boss and Nomen owner Clarke Woodger, called him into his office and told him he was fired.

As Torkildson tells it, Woodger said he could not trust him and that the blog about homophones was the last straw.

“Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality,” Woodger complained, according to Torkildson, who posted the exchange on his Facebook page.

I’ll bet he thinks drinking homogenized milk turns you gay.

HT to J.M.G.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fiendish Plot

As I noted briefly yesterday, a lot of people are watching the World Cup, including President Obama.

Of course that drove some folks around the bend at Fox News.

“I’m suspect. I am suspect. Because here’s the thing: why at a time when there’s so many national issues and international issues of such prominence, I am a little suspicious of yet another bread and circus routine. Let’s roll out the marijuana, pull back the laws, and get people even more crazy about yet another entertainment event.

“I think this is to distract people. This is like Rome. This is like Rome. I can see why Obama would love the World Cup…. I think it’s interesting that at time when there’s so much to pay attention to of such great import people are playing games – more than ever.”

Yes, why isn’t he answering questions about Benghazi!?

Ann Coulter got in her $0.02 by knocking soccer in general as un-American, further proof that her attempt to be the Andrew Dice Clay of punditry struggles on.

I wonder how long it’s going to take them to figure out that President Obama is doing this on purpose just to drive them to the point that they’re reduced to a mass of gibbering idiocy.  I realize that’s not a long drive for some of the more creative, but it’s gotten to the point that it’s like playing throw the invisible ball with a dog.  Hours of fun.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Common Knowledge

Wow, this is off the rails even for an upstate Florida Republican:

Common Core may not be a well-intentioned set of improved educational standards, as supporters would have you believe, but instead a trojan horse designed to turn every schoolchild in Florida, if not America, gay.

This ominous warning came at an anti-Common Core event in March courtesy of Florida State Rep. Charles Van Zant (R). Speaking at the “Operation Education Conference” in Orlando, Van Zant warned that officials implementing Common Core in Florida are “promoting as hard as they can any youth that is interested in the LGBT agenda.”

Their aim, Van Zant warned, was to “attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can.” He then apologized to the crowd for having to be the bearer of bad news. “I really hate to bring you that news,” the Florida Republican said, “but you need to know.”

No, sorry, that’s not from The Onion, more’s the pity.

I hate to break it to you, Mr. Van Zant, but the copy of the LGBT Agenda Monthly that I got when I came out in 1976 didn’t have that in it.  But then, I only got the paperback.  (I hear it’s on Kindle now.)  Some of the topics covered were: “Coordinating Your Accessories,”  “Having The Talk with Mom & Dad,”  “How To Disco Without Sweating” (it was the ’70′s, after all), and “Barbra: The New Judy?”  Nothing about recruiting.  For one thing, the paperwork is a nightmare.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bundyfest

I heard about this event a couple of days ago but waited to see if it was for real or from The Onion.  Apparently it’s for real.

bundyfest 04-23-14

Come celebrate TOTAL FREEDOM at BUNDYFEST, just across the road from the Cliven Bundy Ranch, in Bunkerville, Nevada! 240 bands, 24 hours a day, for a SOLID ROCKIN’ MONTH!!!!
*NO PERMITS REQUIRED
*CAMP ABSOLUTELY ANYWHERE
*FULL NUDITY NOT A PROBLEM
*GAY-FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE
*PENIS ERECTION CONTEST: Erect the largest penis in the open desert, win valuable prize! (tbd)

BACKGROUND: For years, we paid permitting fees to hold Burning Man on the beautiful Playa in Northern Nevada. But now, Cliven Bundy has shown us a NEW WAY! ABSOLUTE FREEDOM! Bundy has declared the entire area surrounding Bundy Ranch as a TOTALLY RULES-FREE ZONE! ANYTHING GOES! WOO-HOO!!!

Why should Burning Man end on September 1st? Swing down to Vegas for a few days for some R&R, a few good buffets, and then HEAD ON UP TO BUNDYFEST! All 50,000+ Burning Man participants are invited to attend — and as many more as can make the trip from anywhere in the world! 100,000? 250,000? THE SKY IS THE LIMIT AT BUNDYFEST! The desert surrounding Bundy’s ranch is LIMITLESS!

Sounds like fun.

(PS: BYO outhouse.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hey Your Shoe Is Unhinged

The latest conspiracy theory from the right is that the incident where some poor misguided soul threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton was staged for her benefit.

Rush Limbaugh jumped on board the crazy train Monday, telling listeners that he can “totally relate” to those who believe that “everything the Clintons do is staged or choreographed.” While he has not studied the incident in detail, he believes what people told him about Clinton’s reaction not being “natural.”

“I’m sorry, I’m ill-equipped to comment,” Limbaugh said, proceeding, of course to comment at some length. “Maybe it’s because, in my subconscious, I think it was staged, or set up, or whatever. … I don’t know why anybody would be throwing a shoe at Hillary unless — maybe it’s an attempt to make the Benghazi people look like nuts and lunatics and wackos.”

The Benghazi people don’t need any help in looking like nuts and lunatics and wackos.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What The Heil Is Wrong With This Picture

Via the San Jose Mercury News, not The Onion:

Trail Life Boy Scouts

This is the response by anti-gay Christians to the half-assed concession by the Boy Scouts of America of allowing openly gay boys into scouting, but not adults.

Trail Life has established units in more than 40 states, mostly from Boy Scouts and parents who feel their old organization has lost its way. It has about 600 units up and running or in the process of registration, executive director Rob Green said. As many as half of those who have expressed interest were not affiliated with the Boy Scouts beforehand, Green said.

It is still a tiny movement compared to Scouting, which has nearly 2.5 million youth members and remains a powerful force in American life, even with a 6 percent drop in membership last year.

Trail Life promotes itself on its website as the “premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers and citizens.”

And for the Fatherland.

Update: John Stemberger, chairman of Trail Life, wants the AP to remove the photo from its archives and says that the image was “unintentional.”

Unfortunately the reporter (either intentionally or unintentionally) caught this photograph at the exact angle which makes their arms look like they are in some kind of a stationary mid-air salute– which they are not.

He went on to note that “”several unfriendly blogs online are likely still carrying the highly misleading photo.”  Hey, I’m a Quaker.  You can’t get more Friendly than that.

HT to Balloon Juice.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More GOP Outreach

After effectively killing immigration reform, the Republicans have decided it’s time to reach out to Hispanics.

Seven months after the Republican National Committee (RNC) released a report recommendation to reach out to the Hispanic population, the Republican National Committee has hired “Hispanic Engagement Staff” in seven states. The latest push by the Republican Party to engage Hispanics comes at a time when the party is perceived as out of touch with Hispanic interests.

On Monday, the RNC released a statement, indicating that it would hire Hispanic State Directors and Hispanic Field Directors in California, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

Buena suerte, vato. (Good luck, fella.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Going To The Dogs

The Obamas got a new puppy.  And Tucker Carlson is scandalized.

It’s a dog named “Sunny.” Apparently it’s a girl and it was born in 2012 in Michigan, where the unemployment rate was 8.8 percent last month. It is the Obamas’ second dog, after “Bo.”

[...]

“A Portuguese Water Dog can range in cost wildly. On average, one will pay between $1,400 and $2,000. President Barack Obama has this breed of animal,” according to an answer on Ask.com.

With the addition of Sunny, the Obamas now have two black Portuguese water dogs.

The Obamas do not have any white dogs.

You cannot make this stuff up.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Restoration Theatre

Jennifer Rubin’s puff piece heralding the restoration of George W. Bush’s reputation in celebration of the opening of his presidential library brought much mirth, not to mention a fair share of gob-smacking and head-desking.

Scott Lemiuex at LGM:

Shorter Designated Republican Stenographer Jennifer Rubin:  “George Bush was the greatest.  With notably rare exceptions, there were no terrorist attacks on the American homeland when George W. Bush was president.  And hundreds of thousands dead and trillions of dollars spent attacking a country that posed no threat whatsoever to the United States is nothing compared to the horrors of the deficit.  And don’t kid yourself, George W. Bush hated deficits.  You think there would be unfunded wars or corporate boondoggles* with him in the White House?  Please.”

*Verbatim Jen Rubin: “He is responsible for one of the most popular and fiscally sober entitlement plans, Medicare Part D.”  I swear.   This is performance art, right?  Almost every line could be a “verbatim” bit.

To her credit, she did not say, “Well, at least our guy is white.”

Thursday, February 21, 2013

There Are Friends…

This is just plain hilarious.

A couple of weeks ago, the conservative Web site Breitbart.com reported that former Senator Chuck Hagel had received financing from a group called “Friends of Hamas.’’

“Senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively that they have been informed that one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas,’ ” the Web site reported, noting a White House spokesman “hung up,’’ when asked about it.

The hang-up was apparently enough of a confirmation to give the report ample attention, especially among conservative pundits.

“There was a report that came out last week, not confirmed yet,” Andrew McCarthy, a National Review contributing editor and former federal prosecutor, said on “Lou Dobbs Tonight’’ on the Fox Business Network, “that one of the groups behind the speeches may have been an outfit called ‘Friends of Hamas.’ ”

[...]

Yet, there has been no evidence that any such group exists. And on Wednesday, a reporter with the New York Daily News, Dan Friedman, said he believed he was the inadvertent source of the rumor, born of a joke he made while speaking with a Republican aide on Capitol Hill.

“Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. So I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the ‘Junior League of Hezbollah, in France’? And: What about ‘Friends of Hamas’? The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically,” Mr. Friedman wrote.

The Breitbart report, he said, hit the following day, leading him to check back with his initial Capitol Hill contact. “The person denied sharing my query with Breitbart but admitted the chance of having mentioned it to others,” Mr. Friedman wrote.

Ben Shapiro, who wrote the original Breitbart post, is strenuously denying that his report came from a joke originated by Mr. Friedman. “Our Senate source denies that Friedman is the source of this information. ‘I have received this information from three separate sources, none of whom was Friedman,’ the source said.”

Hey, Ben, pull my finger.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Reading

A Different Language — Former Congressman Tom Allen on the modern GOP.

Nothing I had learned about politics before my election prepared me for the intense polarization of contemporary congressional politics. When I first went to Washington to work for Sen. Ed Muskie in 1970, Republicans and Democrats debated public issues vigorously, but there was more genuine give-and-take and mutual respect, and the players did not treat politics as a blood sport. Six years on the Portland City Council taught me that most local issues could be resolved without petty or partisan combat.

Dwight Eisenhower accepted the major legislation of the New Deal. John Kennedy started the legislative push for a substantial tax cut. Lyndon Johnson came from a Senate known for working across the aisle. Richard Nixon signed clean water and clean air legislation. Ronald Reagan raised taxes many times to deal with mounting deficits created by his 1981 tax cut; George H. W. Bush did the same, to resounding criticism from the Right. Bill Clinton antagonized elements of his Democratic base by supporting a balanced federal budget, free trade and welfare reform.

George W. Bush was different. His election in 2000 was, in hindsight, stage two of the Newt Gingrich revolution. Senator Lincoln Chafee (R.-R.I.) recalled, shortly after Bush’s election, that Dick Cheney quickly laid out to a small group of moderate Senate Republicans, “a shockingly divisive political agenda for the new Bush administration, glossing over nearly every pledge the Republican ticket had made to the American voter.” In his first term, President Bush abandoned international treaties, invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and drove through two massive tax cuts that primarily benefitted wealthy Americans.

Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign employed “microtargeting” as a part of their successful strategy of mobilizing the Republican base instead of reaching out to the middle. That political strategy was consistent with the Bush administration’s style of governing and the way Gingrich and Tom DeLay controlled Congress: Drive through the most right-wing policy that the Republican caucus could support; only move legislation that has the support of a substantial majority of the majority party; take no prisoners.

As I listened over the years to baffling arguments in committee, on the House floor or in private conversations, I lost hope in our capacity for bipartisan agreement on our major public policy challenges. On budgets, taxes, health care and climate change, the evidence that mattered to us made no difference to our Republican colleagues. What Democrats took as well-established fact, Republicans understood as easily dismissed opinions. When we wondered, “Do these guys believe what they say?” our answer was usually no. But if the Republicans didn’t believe the things they were saying, they were extraordinarily gifted performers on the House floor.

Major Dilemma — Matthew O’Brien on liberal arts majors and the economy.

Is our college students learning?

Rarely is the question not asked nowadays. Graduates now face a tough labor market and even tougher debt burdens, which has left many struggling to find work that pays enough to pay back what they owe. Today, as my colleague Jordan Weissmann points out, young alums aren’t stuck in dead-end jobs much more than usual (despite the scare stories you may have heard). But that’s a cold comfort for grads who borrowed a lot to cover the high cost of their degrees.

There are two, well, schools of thought about why freshly-minted grads have had such a tough time recently. You can blame the smarty-pants majors or blame the economy. In other words, students can’t get good jobs either because they aren’t learning (at least not the right things) in college, or because there aren’t enough good jobs, period.

This is far from an academic debate. If recent grads can’t find good work because they didn’t learn any marketable skills, there’s little the government can do to help, besides “nudging” current students to be more practical. And that’s exactly what conservative governors in Florida and North Carolina are considering with proposals to charge humanities majors higher tuition than, say, science majors at state schools.

But there’s an obvious question. If liberal arts majors “didn’t learn much in school,” as Jane Shaw put it in the Wall Street Journal, why haven’t they always had trouble finding work? Are there just more of them now, or is this lack of learning just a recent phenomenon?

Breaking News — Jim Romenseko with a story about The Onion that should be from The Onion.

When WSFA-TV (Montgomery, Ala.) reporter Jennifer Oravet read in The Onion that PR firm Hill & Knowlton was advising the U.S. to cut ties with Alabama, she went to work, made a phone call and posted her findings on Facebook:

“I contacted the PR firm listed in this article, they claim the article is ‘ficticious’ and have no involvement in the alleged study.”

Actually, Jennifer, all Onion articles are fictitious. (Just one c.)

Did she know that when she put in the call to Hill & Knowlton? I called WSFA to find out and was told that Oravet is taking the day off. A newsroom colleague – she wouldn’t give me her name – insisted that the reporter/anchor knew the Hill & Knowlton/Alabama story was fake from the start.

“It doesn’t sound like it based on her Facebook post,” I said.

“Did you see her report?” the colleague asked.

I said I had, and figured she had been set straight about The Onion before going on air. Wrong, I was told — Oravet always knew it was a satirical paper.

WSFA Facebook commenters have their doubts, too. One writes:

“I don’t know what’s better, her original post, or her backpedaling to ‘cover up; her mistake. I’ve done dummy things like that (most recent when I applauded Beyonce at the inauguration… lip sync anyone?) but come on, admit you’re stupid sometimes just like the rest of us.”

Another person writes:

“LOL, so I read through the comments and I see that someone “demands” we give [her] a break. Seriously?? Someone takes the Onion as serious and we should give a break??? Eff that, this was a fail of epic proportions and should be exploited to the nth degree. There’s honestly no coming back from this! Only in Bama!”

I’ve emailed Oravet for comment, hoping she occasionally checks in on days off. I also called and emailed WSFA news director Scott Duff earlier this afternoon.

Doonesbury — Baby, baby.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

No, This Is The Stupidest Thing You’ll Read

Earlier this week I shared the wit and wisdom of Megan McArdle, who said the solution to school shootings was teaching the kids to gang-tackle the attacker, thus making it easier for the coroner to find the bodies.  I called it “probably the stupidest thing you’ll read today.”

My apologies to Ms. McArdle.  Or at least I should tell her to get out of the way; she’s been overtaken by Charlotte Allen at the National Review, who says that the reason all those kids died was because there weren’t enough men and well-built 12-year-old boys at Sandy Hook Elementary.

In this school of 450 students, a sizeable number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K–6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female. There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees. Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely. According to reports, she activated the school’s public-address system and also lunged at Lanza, before he shot her to death. Some of the teachers managed to save all or some of their charges by rushing them into closets or bathrooms. But in general, a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm. Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel. Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.

Seriously, where does she get this shit?

Over at SFDB, Rick posted about a gun-stroking blog where, in one breath, one commentator lambasted teachers for being lazy, overpaid slackers and tools of the teachers union, then suggested that they spend all their time off in the summer getting training in firearms.

Two questions: who would pay for that, and, more importantly, does this person really want to arm a group of people that he just branded as incompetent thugs?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Probably The Stupidest Thing You’ll Read Today

Megan McArdle at The Daily Beast says that to prevent another schoolhouse massacre, kids should rush the attacker.

I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.

Apparently she was serious.

Not that I would wish that sort of thing on anyone, but the next time it happens, let’s all turn to Ms. McArdle and tell her, “You first.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tax Cuts For Sperm?

Michigan legislators skate very close to The Onion’s territory:

State legislators in Michigan held a hearing on Tuesday to consider House Bills 5684 and 5685, which would allow taxpayers to receive tax relief for unborn fetuses past 12 weeks’ gestation. The proposed legislation is an odd push for Michigan Republicans, partly because Progress Michigan notes the state slashed tax credits for children last year — meaning that although parents living in Michigan do not qualify for additional tax breaks to offset the cost of caring for their own children, they could soon be able to claim a tax credit for an unborn fetus.

The standard line is that the right-to-lifers care very much about a child from conception to birth, but after that, hey kid, you’re on your own.  That was supposed to be a joke.

Monday, November 19, 2012

That’s The Ticket

This is the funniest thing I’ve read in a very long time.

The Republican Party has been doing a lot of hand-wringing and finger-pointing since the presidential election. Half the conservative columnists and bloggers say the GOP lost because it overemphasized social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. The other half says the party didn’t emphasize them enough. And everyone denounces Project ORCA, the campaign’s attempt to turn out voters via technology.

But I’ve got a suggestion for cutting short the GOP angst: Sarah Palin for president in 2016.

You think I’m joking? Think again.

This is Charlotte Allen, writing in the Los Angeles Times, not The Onion.  She informs us that the former half-term governor who quit her job to promote herself and get paid a shitload is truly ready to handle the challenges of America for us because, well, she is.

Hardly anyone could be more blue collar than Palin, out on the fishing boat with her hunky blue-collar husband, Todd. Palin is “View”-ready, she’s “Ellen”-ready, she’s Kelly-and-Michael-ready.

A Palin “war against women”? Hah! Not only is she a woman, she’s got a single-mom daughter, Bristol, to help with the swelling single-mom demographic. On social issues, Palin, unlike Romney, has been absolutely consistent. And let’s remember that most Americans, whatever their view of choice, disapprove of most abortions.

Gay marriage? Palin opposes it. But she is also a strong advocate of states’ rights, and I’m betting she’d be fine with letting states and their voters grapple with the issue on their own. Remember that all of America didn’t swing toward approval of gay marriage on Nov. 6. Three reliably blue states and their voters did. If she were smart, Palin would recruit a member of her impressive gay fanboy base — yes, she has one — to help run her campaign. I nominate Kevin DuJan of the widely read gay conservative blog HillBuzz, a Palin stalwart since 2008.

She’s got it all!  She looks good on the TV, she’s got women’s issues covered because her daughter had sex, and she’s got a gay friend.  So if she doesn’t make it, she could have her own reality show.  (Oh, wait…)  Besides, the Republicans have always gone gaga for stars (except all those Hollywood liberals, y’know), and she’s a perfect fit to fill the shoes of the saint.

Ever since the 1990s, Republicans have been looking for the next Ronald Reagan. Reagan is now revered in bipartisan circles, but during his presidency he was, like Palin, ridiculed by liberals. They cited “Bedtime for Bonzo” and sneered at his no-name college degree.

Sarah Palin is the new Ronald Reagan: charming and affable and unwilling to back down if she’s right. I can’t see what’s wrong with that.

I know it would be comedy gold, and I know that she would rack up the worst election results for the GOP since Barry Goldwater, but it’s not going to happen.  Why would she give up the cushy life free of any consequential responsibility to actually work for a living?  Forget it.  Besides, the job only pays $400,000 a year, and she could make more money doing her schtick twice a week on Fox.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Not From The Onion

Michael (“Heckuvajob Brownie”) Brown, failed ex-head of FEMA under George W. Bush who completely screwed up Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, on President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy:

“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown says. “Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”

Yeah: he’s saying President Obama responded too quickly.

There’s never a large polo mallet around when you need one.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Where Is The Rain, Mr. President?

No, this is not from The Onion:

Boehner’s Office Says Obama Avoiding Personal Responsibility For Drought

On its website and in an email Monday, House Speaker John Boehner’s office said President Obama needs to take personal responsibility for the drought ravaging the Midwest.

Obama, “continues to blame anyone and everyone for the drought but himself,” reads a release from Boehner’s office posted online and distributed to reporters Monday. The quote was attributed to Boehner himself in a Financial Times story. The online post and the press release came from Boehner spokesperson Kevin Smith.

Um… yeah. I got nothing.

Where Is The Rain, Mr. President?

No, this is not from The Onion:

Boehner’s Office Says Obama Avoiding Personal Responsibility For Drought

On its website and in an email Monday, House Speaker John Boehner’s office said President Obama needs to take personal responsibility for the drought ravaging the Midwest.

Obama, “continues to blame anyone and everyone for the drought but himself,” reads a release from Boehner’s office posted online and distributed to reporters Monday. The quote was attributed to Boehner himself in a Financial Times story. The online post and the press release came from Boehner spokesperson Kevin Smith.

Um… yeah. I got nothing.