Skip to content

Ebola on the Rebound?

Once again, it is a comedy show that gives us the most reliable news. Meanwhile, the regular media is continuing to spread fear and stupidity:

Share

How the Media Changed Politics

Fascinating interview with Matt Bai, who accuses his own profession of making politics just that much worse. Watch it:

Share

Late Night Political Humor

“President Obama is facing criticism over an incident yesterday where he was holding a cup of coffee in his hand, and then used that same hand to salute a Marine. Though with all that’s going on in the world, I’m surprised he didn’t salute with a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a cigarette in the other.” – Jimmy Fallon

“There’s a picture of President Obama getting off his helicopter and he’s got a cup of coffee in his hand, and he salutes the Marine guards with the cup of coffee. It’s all part of the new Jerry Seinfeld series, ‘Presidents in Helicopters Getting Coffee’.” – David Letterman

“President Obama is being criticized for saluting a soldier while holding a pumpkin spice latte. Today he sincerely apologized while eating a maple glazed doughnut.” – Conan O’Brien

“The White House posted a video that got people upset. The president saluted two Marines with a cup of coffee in his hand. It’s not the first time Obama’s done something like this. Remember that time he said The Pledge of Allegiance while holding a Hot Pocket? Or when he visited an aircraft carrier with a $5 footlong? The man never learns.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“The Secret Service is considering several new measures to keep people from trying to get into the White House. The first thing they’re going to do to keep people out is put up a sign that says ‘Blockbuster Video’.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama addressed the U.N. today. Coincidentally, on the same day Chris Christie addressed the International House of Pancakes.” – David Letterman

“President Obama said that over 40 countries have offered to help the U.S. fight ISIS. Of course they said it the same way your friends do when they promise to help you move. ‘Yeah just call me, you know, if I’m around. It’ll be fun.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“It’s quite a responsibility for the president to address the U.N. Yesterday he spoke on climate change. Today he spoke on terrorism. And tomorrow he talks about how to buy real estate with no money down.” – David Letterman

“In an interview, Kim Cattrall said there could be another ‘Sex in the City’ movie. An hour later, ISIS surrendered – there’s only so much they can take.” – Conan O’Brien

“The federal government is starting to plan for climate change by making extended forecasts that can help people plan for extreme weather — because what can go wrong when you combine the efficiency of government with the accuracy of weathermen?” – Jimmy Fallon

“The federal prison population has dropped by almost 5,000 people. It’s expected to go back up once the NFL season ends.” – Conan O’Brien

“Today an Indian spacecraft reached the orbit of Mars. Not only did India succeed on their first attempt, they did it on a very modest budget — $74 million for the mission. Which happens to be, truly, $26 million less than it cost to make the movie ‘Gravity’.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Congratulations to India. They were able to keep the mission’s costs down by outsourcing all of the work to themselves. And who knows, if it keeps going, in a few years, maybe we’ll have the first call center on Mars.” – Jimmy Kimmel

Share

Happy Columbus Day!

Columbus Day

“Old World” diseases had a devastating effect on the native inhabitants of the new world. There were no accurate counts at the time, but it is estimated that between 80 and 95% of native americans died from Smallpox alone. In absolute terms, this was more deaths than caused by all wars and even the Black Death. In some areas, such as the island of Cuba, the entire indigenous population died out.

Share

Social Media Citizen Corps

Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow

I suppose social media, like all public opinion, is important. After all, it was largely public opinion that ended the Vietnam War. But unfortunately, social media can be used for evil as well.

Share

Late Night Political Humor

“The White House has been having big security issues lately, after an intruder actually managed to jump the fence and make it inside. The White House actually said they will start locking the doors. When asked if he wanted a key, Biden said, ‘I’m fine just using the doggie door’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“It’s bad enough when you’re president, but now there are guys hopping the fence. They beefed up security at the White House. Isn’t it about time? People were waiting in line to hop the fence.” – David Letterman

“People are still talking about this guy who hopped the fence and ran into the White House. President Obama is calling for a security crackdown. In fact, today he announced a new punishment for anyone who breaks into the White House: Now you have to be president.” – Conan O’Brien

“This guy gets all the way to the front porch of the White House. So they beefed it up. The security people added to the front door one of the sliding chain things.” – David Letterman

“This guy hopped the fence, ran across the White House lawn, and almost got inside the White House. And the Republicans said, ‘Well, let’s nominate this guy’.” – David Letterman

“House Speaker John Boehner is facing criticism over a recent speech where he suggested that unemployed people are lazy. Boehner would clarify his statements, but he was on his second two-week break of the month.” – Jimmy Fallon

“According to a new estimate, Congress has had a full work week just 14 percent of the time since 1978. Congress said they planned to address the report next week because it’s already Tuesday.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“The United States has launched airstrikes against ISIS. It’s being called ‘Operation Approval Ratings.'” – David Letterman

“In an interview, Bill Clinton hinted that his daughter Chelsea’s baby is due in early October. Though it got weird when reporters asked if it’s a boy or a girl, and Hillary said, ‘I haven’t decided yet’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Many of the leaders and assistants to the leaders from around the world were in attendance at the U.N. Climate Summit. They say this was arguably the most high-profile, significant meeting that will in no way change anything whatsoever.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Unfortunately, the leaders of two of the world’s biggest polluters, China and India, did not show up for the summit. That’s like Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep not showing up for the Oscars.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Next week the Supreme Court returns to work and is expected to decide if statements made on social media should be enough to put someone in jail. And if your mom is on Facebook, you know the answer is yes. Something has to stop her behavior.” – Seth Meyers

“According to a new report, Nigeria owes New York City over $500,000 in unpaid parking tickets for its foreign diplomats. Nigeria apologized and said they’ll pay the fines right away if they we send them our bank account number, our PIN, and our mother’s maiden name.” – Jimmy Kimmel

Share

Well what did they expect?

It seems that Republicans have figured out that they are appealing to a shrinking base. So do they, you know, decide to actually support policies that appeal to people who aren’t older white men?

Of course not. Instead, they try to look hip by launching a social media PR campaign. Unfortunately, they don’t really understand social media.

They released a “Republicans Are People Too” campaign, complete with videos trying to go viral and a Twitter hashtag #IAmARepublican. But not only did the internet largely take over their hashtag, the innertubes added their own hashtag #RepublicansArePeopleToo full of sarcastic parodies of the GOP campaign.

Like these tweets:

#iamarepublican because I believe in personal responsibility. Which is why I blame Obama, liberals, blacks, and feminists for everything.

#IAmARepublican because I just gave birth to a new baby corporation and he already has the right to vote.

#IamARepublican because I want to put the “white” back in White House. And if you think that makes me a racist, then you’re the REAL racist.

#IAmARepublican because I value a guy who moves his money to avoid taxes more than a guy who moves his family to pick our fruit.

If that wasn’t bad enough, people immediately did image searches and found that every single person the video presented as “Republicans” who they claim are black, hispanic, asian, who recycle, who read the NY Times, etc. etc. are stock photos. Yes, that’s right, they didn’t even bother to find real Republicans, they just went to Getty Images and bought themselves some minorities for their video.

In fact, they are so lazy that the image captioned “Republicans read the New York Times in Public” is not only a stock photo, the newspaper isn’t even the NY Times.

I think the main problem is that they don’t understand that while traditional media is unidirectional, social media is bidirectional — the target of your PR campaign can (and does) respond and in this case they appear to have taken over with a snark campaign of their own.

Sometimes I worry that the incompetency of the Republicans is the only thing that saves us from them.

Share

Late Night Political Humor

“There were some major security issues at the White House over the weekend. On Friday, a guy got to the front doors of the White House, and on Saturday another guy jumped over the White House fence. Officials are wondering why it’s so easy to get in, while Obama is wondering why it’s so hard to get out.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The Secret Service is under investigation after two different men made it onto the White House grounds this weekend after jumping the fence. Said President Obama, ‘Jumping the fence, huh? Why didn’t I think of that?'” – Seth Meyers

“A man scaled the White House fence and ran across the lawn to the front door. Is it just me or is ‘The Amazing Race’ running out of ideas?” – Conan O’Brien

“The Secret Service is under scrutiny after a man jumped a fence and entered the White House. In their defense, when they saw a crazed maniac running down the White House lawn, they assumed it was Biden.” – Craig Ferguson

“The White House has re-evaluated its security and today they announced they’ll start locking the front door. They’re also going to start asking who’s there when someone knocks.” – Conan O’Brien

“Chicago is reversing its plan to name a high school after President Obama after it received multiple complaints from people in the community. I guess parents were afraid their kids would spend eight years at the school and still not get anything done.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Today was the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. There were 100 representatives from 135 nations in New York City — all here to pay tribute to Derek Jeter.” – David Letterman

“About 400,000 people marched in New York today to draw attention to climate change. They held up signs and banners. They chanted things like ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho, fossil fuels have got to go.’ You know when somebody begins a chant with ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho,’ they mean business.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“The militant group ISIS today released a new audio clip mocking American politicians, including John Kerry and John McCain. And Americans are really upset because they released it directly into everybody’s iTunes account.” – Seth Meyers

Share

Nothing to Fear but…

Clay Bennett
© Clay Bennett

I still think Ebola is more of a psychological plague than a medical one.

Share

A Drug Testing Program that Makes Sense!

Republicans have been passing laws to require drug testing of welfare recipients. Florida tested food stamp recipients for four months in 2012 (until it was halted by a court on constitutional grounds), they found that less than 3% tested positive. In Arizona they tested 87,000 – how many tested positive? One.

So the approx $2.76 million spent drug testing welfare recipients saved less than $80k in those two states. Other states had similar results.

Last October, Congressman Trey Radel (R-FL) was caught buying $250 worth of cocaine from an undercover federal law enforcement officer. He resigned.

This could have been prevented by drug testing. Testing 535 members of Congress at $30 apiece would cost $16,050. Catching just one person (like Radel) could save us from paying his Congressional salary, which is $174,000 a year (and that’s not counting any expense accounts and pension plans, which can run far higher).

So drug testing Congress would actually have saved at least $158,000!

Ironically, Radel (a former conservative talk radio host) voted for drug testing for food stamp recipients. Of course.

Testing welfare recipients — a waste of money. Testing Congress-critters? Profit!

Share

The Simpsons Political Humor

[political jokes taken from episodes of "The Simpsons", collected by Daniel Kurtzman]

“Fox News: ‘Not Racist, But #1 With Racists'” – a new logo for Fox News

“Fox News: ‘Unsuitable For Viewers Under 75′” – a new logo for Fox News

Bart Simpson: “Didn’t you wonder why you were getting checks for doing absolutely nothing?”
Grampa Simpson: “I figured because the democrats were in power again.”

A mock FOX News crawl: “Pointless news crawls up at 37 percent. … Do Democrats cause cancer? Find out at Foxnews.com. … Rupert Murdoch: Terrific Dancer. … Dow down 5000 points. … Study: 92 percent of Democrats are gay. … JFK posthumously joins Republican Party. … Oil slicks found to keep seals young, supple. … Dan Quayle: Awesome.”

“Ironic, isn’t it Smithers? This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail. That’s democracy for you.” – Mr. Burns

“An election!? That’s one of those deals where they close the bars isn’t it?” – Barney Gumbel

“Uh, Lisa, the whole reason we have elected officials is so we don’t have to think all the time. Just like that rainforest scare a few years back: our officials saw there was a problem and they fixed it, didn’t they?” – Homer Simpson

“Lisa, if you don’t like your job, you don’t strike: you just go in every day and do it really half assed. That’s the American way.” – Homer Simpson

“I wish we lived in a place more like the America of yesteryear that only exists in the brains of us Republicans.” – Ned Flanders

Todd Flanders: “Daddy, what do taxes pay for?”
Ned Flanders: “Oh, why, everything! Policemen, trees, sunshine! And let’s not forget the folks who just don’t feel like working, God bless ‘em!”

In the Simpsons episode “The Day the Earth Was Stupid” (a spoof of “The War of the Worlds”) two aliens talk to each other after launching an invasion and occupation:
“The Earthlings continue to resent our presence,” one alien says. “You said we’d be greeted as liberators!”
“Don’t worry, we still have the people’s hearts and minds,” the other alien replies, holding up a heart and a brain. (Watch video clip)

“This doesn’t happen in America. Maybe Ohio, but not America,” – Homer Simpson (after being thwarted by an electronic voting machine in his attempt to vote for Barack Obama)

Mr. Burns, convening a meeting at the Springfield GOP Headquarters: “Welcome fellow Republicans. To start on new business, brother Hibbert will read a report on our efforts to rename everything after Ronald Reagan.”
Hibbert: “All Millard Fillmore schools are now Ronald Reagan. The Mississippi River is now the Mississippi Reagan.”

Krusty the Clown, announcing his candidacy for Congress: “Gentlemen, I am your candidate. There’s just one thing. Are you guys any good at covering up youthful, middle-aged indiscretions?”
Mr. Burns: “Are these indiscretions romantic, financial or treasonous?”
Krusty: “Russian hooker, you tell me.”
Burns: “We’ll say you were on a fact finding mission.”

Reporter: “Welcome to Fox News, your voice for evil. Tonight we’ll be interviewing the top two candidates for Springfield’s 24th congressional district. For the Republicans, beloved children’s entertainer, Krusty the Clown. And for the Democrats, this guy.”
Armstrong: “I have a name.”
Reporter: “Yes, I’m sure you do comrade. I do appreciate you’re being here, you’re usually so mired in sleaze, it must be an effort to come down to the studio.”

“Marge, I agree with you — in theory. In theory, communism works. In theory.” – Homer Simpson

“Ooh! A political discussion at our table. I feel like a Kennedy!” – Lisa Simpson

“My piggybank is not entitled to TARP funds.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag)

“The Pledge of Allegiance does not end with ‘hail Satan’.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag)

“I will not plant subliminAL messaGOREs.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag). This endorsement of Al Gore just prior to the 2000 election made reference to the subliminal message claim during the campaign, in which the word “RAT” briefly appeared in a GOP commercial while Democrats were being mentioned.

“I am not the acting president.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag), which aired during the legal contest over the results of the 2000 presidential election

“The president did it is not an excuse.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag), which aired a day after Bill Clinton was impeached

“No one cares what the definition of ‘is’ is.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag), which was a reference to Bill Clinton’s famous quote during the Monica Lewinsky scandal

“I am not smarter than the president.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag), referring to President George W. Bush

“I will not buy a presidential pardon.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag), which was a reference to the controversy surrounding the last-minute pardons issued by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office

“I will not scare the vice president.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag), which was a reference to Vice President Dick Cheney’s heart condition

“It’s potato, not potatoe.” – Bart Simpson (chalkboard gag), poking fun at Dan Quayle’s infamous misspelling of potato

Share

Psychological Plague

I keep hearing people freaking out about Ebola.

Please stop. Right now, Ebola is more of a psychological plague than a medical one. And you are helping spread the psychological plague.

And most of the things people say about Ebola are myths that have been debunked.

Let’s get some perspective:

causes of death in Africa

Virtually all of the deaths from Ebola have occurred in countries that have big public health problems, poor sanitation, and sub-standard medical facilities.

There have been 33 outbreaks of Ebola around the world in the past, and every one of them has been contained (even in those countries with big public health problems, poor sanitation, and sub-standard medical facilities).

Your chance of contracting Ebola is virtually zero. Don’t believe me? Watch the Director of Infectious Diseases at the NIH shut down the fear mongering coming from Fox News.

If you want something constructive to freak out about, how about deaths caused by drunk driving? Every year, in the US alone, more than 10,000 people die from car accidents caused by drunk drivers. That’s three times the number, in one year, in one country, than the total number of people who have ever died from Ebola in the whole world. And every one of those is preventable.

Or if you want a really easy way to prevent more than 7000 deaths in the US every year, vote out every single politician who voted against Medicaid expansion.

Share

Late Night Political Humor

“During President Obama’s visit to an elementary school yesterday, one little boy actually asked him if he ever fought in the Civil War. Obama told the boy he did not, but he re-enacts it with Congress all the time.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Obama actually told the student, ‘No I was born in 1961.’ Then the kid said, ‘Where?’ Then Obama said, ‘Uh, next question’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“During a speech this week, Joe Biden referred to Asia as the ‘Orient’, just hours after he apologized for using another term that offended Jewish people. The White House calls Biden’s remarks ‘unfortunate’, while Obama calls them ‘a welcomed distraction’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“That’s right, Joe Biden referred to Asia as the ‘Orient’, and also offended Jewish people. Which means he’s one ‘pull my finger’ away from being my grandpa on Thanksgiving.” – Jimmy Fallon

“A recent report says the majority of Americans cannot name the three branches of government — Judicial, Executive, and Legislative. To make it easier, the government is renaming those branches Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney.” – Conan O’Brien

“Today is my 40th Birthday. And I’m not the only one having a birthday. This week, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley celebrated his 81st birthday by going on a 6-mile run. Seriously? I just got winded walking out here from backstage.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The Islamic State is releasing its own ‘Grand Theft Auto’ style of video game. In their version, the worse crime you can commit is letting a woman drive the car.” – Conan O’Brien

Share

Trickle down Charity?

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has put another nail in the coffin of trickle down economics. Using IRS data from 2006 to 2012, they found that as the US economy has come out of recession, while most of the new income has gone to the richest Americans, those people who earn $200,000 or more have actually reduced the percentage of their income that they give to charity by 4.6%.

Meanwhile, middle and lower income Americans (those who earn less than $100,000) have increased the share that they give to charity by 4.5%, even though on average they earned less.

Bottom line? The rich are earning more, paying less in taxes, and giving a smaller percentage to charity. So what, may I ask, is trickling down?

Share

Late Night Political Humor

“President Obama hosted a picnic at the White House today for members of Congress. Obama said it was a great opportunity to gather every member of Congress in one place – so he could turn on the sprinklers. Payback!” – Jimmy Fallon

“The White House picnic was actually held one year after it was canceled. Last year the president had too much stuff going on to make time for a picnic, whereas now he just doesn’t care anymore.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The people of Scotland are voting on whether to declare independence from the United Kingdom. If Scotland votes for Independence, it could have major ramifications. Great Britain is concerned that if they lose Scotland, they could be cut off from a major supply of bagpipes and kilts.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“The official ballot is one line: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ And that’s it. Why is it that I have to go through 18 pages of terms and conditions to download iOS 8 while a whole country can secede from the United Kingdom by checking a box that says ‘Yes’?” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Problems for the NFL continue. Last week Nike suspended Ray Rice’s contract and today they suspended Adrian Peterson’s contract. So now Nike is down to Oscar Pistorius and Kim Jong Un.” – Conan O’Brien

“Hillary Clinton’s supporters are calling on her to be more herself, after some of her recent appearances seemed to be too scripted. Hillary said, ‘I don’t know where you guys get this stuff. Shrug and shake head.'” – Jimmy Fallon

Share