White Stuff People Hate
March 18th, 2015

#2: Fat white people. Here’s hip-hop star Azealia Banks keeping it real:

“Like, I hate fat white Americans. All the people who are crunched into the middle of America, the real fat and meat of America, are these racist conservative white people who live on their farms. Those little teenage girls who work at Kmart and have a racist grandma—that’s really America.”

Greatest GIF Ever?
March 18th, 2015


Essence of Cena from Max Landis’ epic Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling.

Portrait of a Useful Idiot
March 18th, 2015

I’m not sure what the real scandal is here: That we have a state-college full professor dumb enough to believe that the CIA “gave” Hugo Chavez cancer, or that Penn State – Abington considered “Women’s Agency In Hysteria and Its Treatment” and “Defending the Self In a Total Institution: Staff Prompting and Patient Burlesque” to be actual academic credentials.

Either way, you cannot miss this interview with Penn State Professor Karen Halnon. Sample awesome:

Can you comment on your arrest and on the videos of you on the plane that are circulating?
I do have a comment. I know that I expressed an act of civil disobedience. But that act was necessary.

Why so?
I’m very knowledgable about that part of the world. I teach about U.S. imperialism in Latin America. And the U.S. has declared war against Venezuela. That means military aggression. They tried to take out Hugo with a coup, and then they took him out with cancer. . . .

What is the revolution revolting against?

The problem is U.S. military global domination. And they want the oil. And they want the water. And so I found that this act was a necessary Thoreau-like act of civil disobedience. I had to speak out now. The situation is dire and urgent, and any sacrifice I make for my own self, if it saves lives — there have been far too many lives lost due to U.S. global military domination. . . .

But what of the cigarette? One reporter who covered your actions said that lighting a cigarette on a plane is just a little better than yelling “BOMB!”

Why did I have a lighter if there is such great national security? It was right in the top of my book bag.

Listen, the point is, I am a sociologist, and I live in an intellectual world. A sociologist always thinks in terms of symbols. And every revolutionary I know smokes. It was identifying with the revolutionary cause. And then, beyond that, it is a symbol that the United States is a smoking gun. The action was necessary. They are going to kill many more people.

She’s like Ward Churchill minus 30 IQ points.

Exit question: Isn’t it problematic that Halnon is accusing our first black president of declaring war on Venezuela?

White Stuff People Hate
March 17th, 2015

#1: Books written by white men, and possibly white women. No really, this is a thing:

The internet has been abuzz recently with debates over reading lists and reading habits. Writer K. Tempest Bradford caused a bit of a stir when she challenged readers to stop reading straight white cisgendered male authors for a year. Sunili Govinnage generated her share of outrage when she reported on her year spent deliberately not reading white authors. And in late 2014, the phenomenally successful #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign took Tumblr and Twitter by storm, sparking a conversation about which books get published and read, and which don’t, and what these choices are doing to children’s literature.

Many of the responses generated by these articles and initiatives have been supportive — even from those white male authors ‘targeted’ for exclusion. Neil Gaiman, whose novel American Gods appears crossed out in red at the top of Bradford’s piece, told “anyone hoping for outrage”that he thought Bradford’s suggestion was “great” . . .

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” Was a Lie
March 17th, 2015

Don’t take my word for it–that’s the conclusion Jonathan Capehart reaches in a somewhat courageous essay on the Justice Department Ferguson report. There may be a temptation to dismiss this as Menchu-ism, but I don’t think Capehart is peddling “fake, but accurate.” He’s taking the time to point out a totally under-reported aspect of the DoJ file to what will be a hostile audience on his own side in order to correct the record. That’s an honorable thing.

As I’ve said from the beginning, it should not be difficult to understand that the Ferguson case was problematic on all sides–Brown was a bad actor; Wilson was, at best, not a great cop; the locals behaved criminally by rioting; the police behaved worse in their response; and outside agitators poured gasoline on the fire–but that the criminal justice system, especially the police and their unions, are in dire need of reform.

This is not an either/or proposition.

The Greatest Thing Ever
March 16th, 2015

Courtesy of Santino, here’s a Max Landis production on the greatness of pro wrestling.

Now that description alone should be enough to melt your eyeballs. But it’s like he’s made this thing just for me. Because it’s not just an appreciation of wrestling–it’s an appreciation of Triple H. And it’s not just an appreciation of Triple H–it’s an appreciation of Triple H featuring:

* Awesome callbacks to The Death and Sleep of Superman.

* The single best explanation of Ric Flair, ever.

* The funniest t-shirt send-up of John Cena, ever. (I want “Spoiler: I Win” and I want it now.)

* Probably two dozen insanely hot girls dressed in really clever send-ups of various WWE stars.

* An absolutely money Paul Bearer impression.

* The best middle-brow defense I’ve ever seen of wrestling as story-telling artform.

Insane amounts of awesome. Go now. Commit the full 24 minutes. You won’t regret it.

About the Eagles
March 12th, 2015

Had a funny conversation with Galley Friend T.V. the other day. She asked me if I was worried about the crazy moves the Eagles had made. I told her that the Shady McCoy thing might look bad, but could turn out to be a Belichickian masterstroke, because slot-backs seem to be easy to find these days and not worth committing big financial resources for. Then she said: “Haven’t you heard? They traded Foles.”

And my head basically exploded.

I asked T.V. whether or not there was unrest on the Philadelphia street. Her reply:

After the press conference Kelly ran yesterday the majority of the WIP team, and the callers, think Kelly is an arrogant boob. He is either a pure genius with a brass set of cajones, or a total moron. He picked up good players IF they come on the team healthy. Bradford has missed the majority of the last two seasons with torn ACLs. All you needed this year to have a competitive team was a lineman, a safety and two corners. Still waiting on those to magically appear!

My hubby, ever the conspiracy theorist, thinks the Cowboys are paying Chip to tank our team. I am not quite ready to walk down that road. Yesterday, because of all the Oregon players that have been picked up, Steve was joking and saying that Huey, Dewey, and Louie are going to be our receivers and that Donald Duck is our running back. He referred to Lurie as Scrooge McDuck and said that Chip’s new nickname ought to be Daffy.

It’s always a good sign when the gallows humor sets in during the free-agent period after a 10-win season.

In other news, Galley Brother B.J. informs me “For who? For what?” doesn’t exist in the ether of the internet. There’s no video or audio surviving. I suspect it must be buried in the Channel 7 Action News tape archive somewhere. They ought to put an intern on that, for posterity’s sake.

Mary Katherine Ham on the IRS and the Tax Code
March 12th, 2015

As this kids say: This.

I don’t know if I’m offended or amused by the Washington Post writer who thinks that filing your taxes is easy because Internet! It takes me a full working weekend every year–that’s just about 2 percent of yearly weekend time–to taxes every year and that’s with the help of the wise souls at Intuit. I think it’s literally true that if I didn’t have software help, I would be incapable of filing my taxes on my own.

Now, I’m willing to believe that my taxes are more complicated the median filer because I’m a writer. But not that much more complicated. And we do seem to hear a lot about how in the future more and more workers will be freelancers of one sort or another.

What’s so punishing about the complexity of the tax system is that it extracts not just money, but time. I’d consider it a major quality-of-life improvement if I could give the IRS the same amount of money every year (or even a little more!), but do so in an hour.