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Feb. 20th, 2007

Hermione laughing



Iran Demands Western Nations Halt Enrichment

"'That ... we shut down our nuclear fuel cycle program to let talks begin. It's no problem. But justice demands that those who want to hold talks with us shut down their nuclear fuel cycle program too. Then, we can hold dialogue under a fair atmosphere, [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad said...'We say how is it that your (nuclear fuel) production facilities work 24 hours a day, but you feel threatened by our newly established complex and we need to shut it down for talks, he asked."

Ooooh Ahmadinejad...I totally give you props for being such a snarky bastard.

This whole thing would be endlessly amusing and insanely funny, if it weren't for the fact that it involves the potential for serious nuclear catastrophe that is being "negotiated" by two equally arrogant, equally petulant, equally myopic "leaders." Oh, and the fate of the already tenuous stability of the Mid East region hangs in the balance.

Are we moving to Mars yet?
Tags: ,

Feb. 13th, 2007

STFU dementor


Do Unto Others

Teaser: The problem here is selectivity. To Exasperated selectively holds single mothers accountable for their possibly ill-conceived conceptions. OBVIOUSLY, these women have no room to complain, because, unlike To Exasperated et al, they made mistakes! And mistakes should be punished! Thumbscrews for everyone!

What about corporations? What about airlines getting BILLION DOLLAR bailouts from the government because the companies made bad business decisions? What about banks? Remember the savings and loan scandals/debacles of the 80's and 90's? Anyone? Bueller? What about this godforsaken atrocity that is Iraq? (Oh yes, I went there.) Bush & Co. made HORRENDOUS mistakes with that one, and yet, oh, it's okay, have a cup of tea and some non-binding resolutions and all will be better in the morning - the taxpayers will get your bill.

Do Unto OthersCollapse )

As a sort of related note, and something that's just been irritating me lately - the next person I hear bleating about MY TAXES MY TAXES OH MY GOD MY TAXES, you know what they're getting?


Feb. 6th, 2007

STFU dementor


Why Me?

Admin note: My sincerest apologies for sort of falling off the earth there for a while. Between grad school applications, the holidays, post-holiday crap, a kidney infection, and work, I didn't have much time to read the news, let alone be snarky about it. I'm still pretty terrifically busy, so I'm going to intensify my search for a co-blogger, to kind of help me out and take some of the pressure off me. Interested? Leave a comment! I'm also playing around with some formatting changes, so stay tuned for those!

Teaser:The nurse told me Abbott has a program in place for the transition of Humira to market, wherein patients whose insurance will not cover Humira, or will charge a significant amount to do so, can continue getting the drug from Abbott for free. Additionally, there is an income component, where the cost of Humira is considered vis-a-vis a person's income, and this too can qualify the patient for free medication. Obviously, this was great news. But my happiness was followed by a single question: Why me?

Not full of self-pity, I promiseCollapse )

It's violating my inner economist.

Dec. 1st, 2006

Hermione laughing


Friday Free-For-All

The method-behind-the-madness of the Friday Free-For-All is simple: I provide a quotation, statement, statistic, or piece of news, without any commentary of my own. The readers are free to merrily discuss, debate, deride, or mock in whatever way they see fit -- hopefully it will at least tangentially pertain to the posted item, but hey, it's a free-for-all -- who knows!

Today's delicious Free-For-All is a little bit longer than usual, and comes courtesy of midtermmockery, who gave me the idea.

First, the quote:

"I haven't seen him move to start criticizing the Democrats in congress. We'll have to watch that closely, because I don't think 'The Daily Show' has been fair and balanced. And if they're going to maintain their credibility as a reliable source of comedy, they better start being fair and balanced."

-Bob Kohn, author of the book Journalistic Fraud: How the New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted, said as a guest on MSNBC's Scarborough Country.

Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEWjSpV1Gps

Okay, now, before I get into the meat of this Free-For-All, while I was searching for documentation of the quote, I found several other bits of information about this. Firstly, it appears that The Daily Show is a favorite whipping boy of Joe Scarborough. Apparently, any time he wants to theoretically make a point about liberal media bias, he shows a clip of Jon Stewart. Because we all know that Comedy Central is a vanguard of top news reporting and any news show WITH A COUCH is obviously the mouthpiece of America's left.

His - and other conservatives' - defense is that whenever O'Reilly or Fox Network responds to The Daily Show, Stewart's response is, "C'mon guys, we're not even real news!" Which is meant to deflect any criticisms directed toward the show by making Fox and O'Reilly look like stiffs - in sort, attacking the attacker rather than the argument.

But Stewart's kind of got a point. Why the fixation on a show with a sole purpose of mocking the news? Isn't there oh, I dunno, a WAR or something to talk about?

Commonwealth Common Sense blog made similar points about the wah-wah'ing of Scarborough et al, and linked to several articles and reports that found:

-Viewers of The Daily Show were more informed and more politically active than viewers of network evening news or other late-night talk shows, like Jay Leno or David Letterman
-Contary to Scarborough's complaint that The Daily Show makes young people cynical and less likely to vote, the youth vote turned out in higher numbers in 2004 than in 2000.

An Indiana University report found that Jon Stewart and The Daily Show are as trusted and as substantive as network "real" news. At first, this might seem to bolster Scarborough's point that Stewart can't hide behind the couch, so to speak, when faced with criticism - BUT, good ol' Joe is missing a big point.

Jon Stewart doesn't hide behind the couch. He fires right back. Witness the frequent clashes between Jon and Bill O'Reilly (search YouTube for videos - there are too many to link.) And the fact that IU found people believe The Daily Show to be as substantive as network news should be an indicator of how utterly low and worthless the "real" news has become - like Stewart said on Crossfire, he's a comedian, why are "real" journalists leaving it up to him to do THEIR jobs?

As for trusted...well, for me, I trust The Daily Show because I think they are probably one of the only media outlets that don't have some ulterior political motive for their reporting. He tells it like it is. Which brings us back to Kohn's quote.

"A reliable source of comedy?" WTF? Comedy needs to have a reliable source? And A LATE-NIGHT COMEDIC NEWS PROGRAM WITH A COUCH needs to be fair and balanced? At least Comedy Central doesn't pretend to be objective, like some other "real" news networks.

Okay, I'll stop editorializing now - I realize this has kind of morphed into a post-combined-with-Free-For-All. So what do you think? Is The Daily Show harming democracy? Does Kohn have a point? Does The Daily Show count as "news" or does it hide behind the mantle of "fake news" in order to deflect criticism? Does Fox News have a legitimate complaint, or are they just going after the only show that actually isn't afraid to tread a different path than the almighty Rupert Murdoch? Will conservative pundits ever grow the #$#@^%$#$#! up? Who do you trust - Joe Scarborough and Bill O'Reilly or Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? Is The Daily Show and The Onion all that's left of actual, investigative journalism instead of "infotainment"?


Nov. 22nd, 2006

Got ink


Wednesday Free-for-All!

The method-behind-the-madness of the Friday Free-For-All is simple: I provide a quotation, statement, statistic, or piece of news, without any commentary of my own. The readers are free to merrily discuss, debate, deride, or mock in whatever way they see fit -- hopefully it will at least tangentially pertain to the posted item, but hey, it's a free-for-all -- who knows!

"Bwuh?" you might be thinking, because it is not Friday, and Free-For-Alls are on Fridays! Ah yes, but as this is a special week of massive overeating in the name of some fictionalized notion of history tradition, things are a bit wonky. Firstly, I'll be out of town visiting the (future) in-laws. Secondly, Friday I will be shopping, and thus, too tired/frustrated/annoyed/murderous to post our dear Free-For-All. So enjoy it a few days early!

Here it is:

What are, in your opinion, the top three most pressing issues/problems facing the world today? Facing the nation?

My vote is for bears.


Nov. 17th, 2006


Friday Free-For-All

Our gracious Polibock moderator type person allowed me to be the substitute teacher for the usual Free-For-All. The ground rules were to post three questions -- one from each side of the issue and then a...I'll say 'grab bag' question. But, since I was stuck on the fence between two different issues I've been thinking about this past week, I had to tweak the rules a little. It's a one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others situation. Let's play!

"When [a profound change in the social consciousness] is not compelled by a constitutional imperative, it must come about through civil dialogue and reasoned discourse, and the considered judgment of the people in whom we place ultimate trust in our republican form of government. Whether an issue with such far-reaching social implications as how to define marriage falls within the judicial or the democratic realm, to many, is debatable. Some may think that this Court should settle the matter, insulating it from public discussion and the political process. Nevertheless, a court must discern not only the limits of its own authority, but also when to exercise forbearance, recognizing that the legitimacy of its decisions rests on reason, not power. We will not short-circuit the democratic process from running its course."

~ The NJ Supreme Court's recent decision [Mark Lewis and Dennis Winslow, et al. v. Gwendolyn L. Harris, etc., et al. (A-68-05), pg. 62] requiring the state to provide same-sex couples the same rights and benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoy. The court left the decision on what to name same-sex unions up to the legislature, allowing there to be a difference in names so long as the rights, benefits, burdens and obligations were the same.

So the questions are as follows:

1) Is it appropriate for a court to effectively make a sweeping change in social policy, or should it be left to the legislature? And why?

2) Is there a difference between "gay rights" and "equal rights?" If so, elaborate.

3) On a completely unrelated note, is anyone else amused, in light of his Strom Thurmond controversy a few years back, by Trent Lott being elected the Senate Minority Whip? Or am I the only one who immediately had a vision of the federal government’s new immigration plan: Senator Lott chasing illegal immigrants down K Street with a strap.

** I kid Senator Lott. He’s good people. Loves freedom. Et cetera and so on.

Nov. 16th, 2006


“A Rosetta Stone of Jaundiced Journalism”

On Wednesday’s edition of his nightly news program, Keith Olbermann referred to Fox News as "a Rosetta Stone of jaundiced journalism" (in front of a mock Fox graphic that reads "Faux News Channel") among reports that the network sent directives to their staff to "be on the lookout for any statements from the Iraqi insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospect of a Dem-controlled congress." And the madness continues...Collapse )

Nov. 15th, 2006

Got ink


Gone again!

I know, I know, I'm a mean, nasty, neglectful moderator. I'm going away to Chicago this evening, and won't be back until Monday night.

HOWEVER, fear not, my gentle readers. I have not left you in isolation. The gracious midtermmockery will again be filling in for me, with a post tomorrow and a Free-For-All on Friday.

See, that makes you feel a little better, doesn't it?

Nov. 10th, 2006

Moon witch


Friday Free-For-All

The method-behind-the-madness of the Friday Free-For-All is simple: I provide a quotation, statement, statistic, or piece of news, without any commentary of my own. The readers are free to merrily discuss, debate, deride, or mock in whatever way they see fit -- hopefully it will at least tangentially pertain to the posted item, but hey, it's a free-for-all -- who knows!

Before the Free-For-All, a few announcements.

1. A great big gooey thank you to midtermmockery, who really stepped up and filled in for me for the awesomely hilarious live commentary. Way to bring the funny - especially on such short notice! You win a cookie.

2. Happy Veterans' Day! And if any of you poor souls are at work in the District as I am, shout loudly - my office is so desolate I feel like I'm on a deserted island. I'd insert a 'Lost' joke here, but...I don't watch the show.

3. A belated Election Day Analysis and Commentary will be up HOPEFULLY this afternoon. If it's not, though, just consider it the first broken campaign promise of the season.

And now, to the Free-For-All!

Very simple:

Did you vote in the 2006 midterms and are you happy with the results?


Nov. 7th, 2006


Let the Games Resume!

And we're back. And by we, I mean me.

Color commentary. Still delicious, still freedom-flavoredCollapse )

Alright, so it's midnight and that's the end of the line for me. Here's what we know as of now:

1) Democrats will probably take the House
2) The Senate is stil up for grabs
3) Anyone with at least a passing interest in national politics could have told you all of these things about three weeks ago
4) Expect recounts and lawsuits in Virginia
5) There are still 53 minutes to place your bets on James Carville biting J.C. Watts in the face
6) I will surely be fired from Polibock by morning, seeing as I stopped being funny about an hour ago



Let the Games Begin!

I'll be doing a running guest commentary on the midterm elections for Polibock today. I got a late start on this because...well...I just got recruited about 10 minutes ago. Moving along.

Color commentary is delicious, like freedomCollapse )

....Alright, I think I've thrown up in my mouth enough for the last two hours, so I think now's a good break for dinner. I shall return later with election results and subsequent hilarity.
White lotus


Happy Election Day!

....and we're back. Sort of. Grad applications are still trying to thwart me at every turn, but I couldn't let such a momentous occassion as INDECISION 2006 (yes, I shamelessly steal borrow from The Daily Show) go by without a Polibock post. However, since I am up to my ears in research (literally - you should see my office!), I bring you our first-ever guest blogger, midtermmockery, who will so graciously be providing live commentary on the day as the results roll in, and the tears start to fall! Look for the first post shortly, and enjoy!

(Theoretically I'll be back full-time next week [at least, I better be...], but you can look for a Free-for-All on Friday at the very least. Thanks for hanging with me!)

Oct. 17th, 2006

Lotus toes



I will be taking a break from Polibock for the next two weeks, so that I can finish graduate school applications (oooh joy.) It would be really awesome if I could get a guest blogger to write a couple pieces during that time -- hit me up with a comment if you're interested!

See ya back on Nov 5! And don't forget to register to vote!

And now, a Mike Luckovich comic, courtesy of The Washington Post:

Oct. 10th, 2006

Got ink


The Opposite of Congress

Looks like somebody finally cottoned on.

Teaser: Mark Twain had a saying: "If pro is the opposite of con, is progress the opposite of Congress?" That poll in article above shows that approval for Congress is at an all-time low, hovering around 32 percent. Perhaps it's a reflection on Congressional leadership, as similar numbers were in 1994, but really I think Americans have just lost all faith in their lawmakers. They are jaded and cynical and politicans -- both Democrat and Republican -- have done such a wonderful job of destroying any faith or hope in the system that it appears that Congress is really just a formality. Coupled with the President's unprecedented use of signing statements and executive overstretch, our legislative branch has been reduced to nothing more than an antiquated curiosity, a pretense at letting the mere citizenry feel like they actually have representation in government.

The Opposite of CongressCollapse )

Oct. 6th, 2006

Hermione laughing


Friday Free-For-All

The method-behind-the-madness of the Friday Free-For-All is simple: I provide a quotation, statement, statistic, or piece of news, without any commentary of my own. The readers are free to merrily discuss, debate, deride, or mock in whatever way they see fit -- hopefully it will at least tangentially pertain to the posted item, but hey, it's a free-for-all -- who knows!

GA Mother Seeks to Ban Harry Potter, calling it "evil" and a conversion tool of Wiccans

Congress Sets Aside $20M for Victory Party, because nothing says "victory" like "oh look, Iraq's on fire in the inferno of civil war and the Taliban are re-emerging in Afghanistan"

Kim Jong Il Wants to Blow Some Shizzie Up

Scholar Denied Visa, Entry to US, on suspicion of "having an opinion while Arab." (This is Ramadan's opinion piece, but there are plenty of news articles from Sept 25 if you want an "unbiased" source.)

Reporter Sought by DHS for...Being a Reporter (This is from Greg Palast's website. This story exploded all over the blogosphere, as a Google search reveals, but I can't seem to find any "mainstream media" reports about it. I'm not sure if that's terrifying or not. Anyway, since this is Palast telling what happened to him, I suppose it's not verified.)

Today's Free-for-All question: Has the world just gone completely ^&%#$@#$@$%@!ing nuts?!

Oct. 3rd, 2006

Lotus toes


Government for Sale


What my awesome MS Paint-created-and-Powerpoint-edited-(because I don't have Paintshop or Photoshop on this computer)-awesome ad up there is trying to convey is this: our government is for sale, and the bidding is high.

Show me the Mooonneeeeyyy!Collapse )

Admin note: Before anyone starts hollaring about America not being a democracy -- I'll loan you my civics book. America is a representative democracy(or indirect or liberal democracy, pick your term), which is, in fact, a type of democracy. I get a little tired of the argument "America's not a democracy, it's a republic!", mainly because it doesn't address the issues at hand and pretends like a direct democracy is the only kind in which people actually have a say in government. I could also go off about how such things as referenda, initiatives, and recalls function as modern direct democracy, but I'll just mail you my civics book instead. /pedantry

Sep. 26th, 2006

Lotus toes


Torture Lite

Teaser: The recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate offers evidence that the war in Iraq has caused an increase in terrorism, fostering anti-American sentiments and giving credibility to al Qaeda's cause, retired generals are lambasting the administration, Republican senators are trying to reign in their overly-ambitious president, and even Colin Powell is outraged at the prospect of the US engaging in torture. Everything we know points to what our guts should already be telling us: it's wrong. Period. No ifs. No buts. The most nauseating factor in all this is that we've actually bandied about as if there's something redeeming about torture.

We don't torture -- We Freedom Tickle!Collapse )

Sep. 22nd, 2006

dementor coffee


Friday Free-For-All

The method-behind-the-madness of the Friday Free-For-All is simple: I provide a quotation, statement, statistic, or piece of news, without any commentary of my own. The readers are free to merrily discuss, debate, deride, or mock in whatever way they see fit -- hopefully it will at least tangentially pertain to the posted item, but hey, it's a free-for-all -- who knows!

The House recently passed a voter ID bill, which would require people to provide a photo ID that proves citizenship in order to vote in federal elections. In a vote almost entirely along party lines, the bill is part of piecemeal legislation concerning illegal immigration.

The 24th Amendment to the Constitution establishes that: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax."

The ostensible rationale behind the bill is to prevent voter fraud by the way of deceased voters miraculously returning from the dead, false identification, and -- in the case of states with restrictions on felons -- preventing criminals and illegals from voting. A quick Google news search reveals that the jury is still out on how much of a problem this particular type of voter fraud actually is, and that courts in several states have already struck down similiar ID bills.

Do these new ID's present a new form of "tax," and as such, are prohibited by the Constitution? Are they in fact a necessary step in making our elections fair and just? Is it just election-year pandering? Go!

Sep. 20th, 2006

Hermione laughing


Jamie's Photo Snark of the Day - Hillary Clinton


Thought I'd play fair and put up one from the other side of the aisle, hee hee.

Sep. 19th, 2006

Sag adjectives


Come, All Ye Faithful* (*some restrictions apply)

Teaser: Religion, as an expression of personal beliefs, is one of our most valued rights as Americans, but to kowtow to religiously-based political pressure from one particular group, at the expense of all others, is not just censorship -- it is the tyranny of the majority that the Founding Fathers (OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE!™ ) actively sought to defeat. (Not gonna lie, I was really tempted to write "Justice League of America" just before "Founding Fathers." Is it too early for Constitutional blasphemy?) There is a temptation to say, "Well, the majority of Americans are Christian, and thus, the majority should rule the land." This is true of elections -- this is NOT true of our Constitutionally-endowed rights. The framers placed freedom of religion, speech, and press first, first, among all the other ideals they upheld for a reason. These rights, so casually flung around and used as cloaks for bigotry and greed, are the essence of our nation, for they alone set us apart as a place where the rights of the minority would be held sacred.

Come, All Ye FaithfulCollapse )

Oooh some edits!
This is some intriguing information that I just couldn't fit into the piece:

-Over 300,000 Americans (in 2001) self-identifed as Pagan, Wiccan, or New Age. Humanist came in at around 90,000 -- but yet the objection to the VA recognizing the pentacle often includes complaints that the VA can't just recognize any little symbol that "30 or so people get behind" (to quote from one illustrious Elliot in the Morning caller). There goes that

-The average percentage of American adults that self-identify as Christian is declining, especially among Protestants.

-Claims that evangelical Christianity is America's fastest growing religion (I'm assuming they mean with born-agains) are also debunked -- Wicca has experienced a 143% growth rate from 1990 to 2001. And that's just literally Wicca -- not including those who identify as Pagan or non-Wiccan witch.

(Info from American Religious Identification Survey, http://www.gc.cuny.edu/press_information/current_releases/october_2001_aris.htm)

A bit meandering today, not as focused, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!

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