Humor Libertarianism Politics The Bush Legacy The Opinionsphere

Are You A Libertarian If…

DarkSyde at the Daily Kos lists the “Top 10 Signs You Might Not Be A Libertarian.” It captures the silliness of the claims some people make – especially those who only fled the label “Republican” as George W. Bush became less popular:

[I]f you think government should stay the hell out of people’s private business — except when kidnapping citizens and rendering them to secret overseas torture prisons, snooping around the bedrooms of consenting adults, policing a woman’s uterus, or conducting warrantless wire taps, you are no Libertarian.

Check it out. Funny, yet true – the best combination.

Barack Obama Gingrich Health care Humor Palin Videos

Colbert: “The bill’s a thousand pages! There’s no way of know what’s in it!”

[digg-reddit-me]Stephen Colbert lays bare the pure cynicism behind Newt Gingrich’s refusal to acknowledge the silliness of Sarah Palin’s claim that Obama is createing “death panels” in what I think is my favorite response to the crescendo of wingnuttery on the right over health care:

Death Panels
Health care Humor Politics The Opinionsphere

Prominent Liberal Blogger: Obama acting exactly as if he does have a secret “death committee”!!!

[digg-reddit-me]In the ultimate Yglesias Award Nominee: Prominent liberal blogger Matt Yglesias (many of whose posts are ghost-written by the AntiChrist, George Soros himself) admitted1 yesterday that, analyzing what Obama has been saying about health insurance reform, it’s clear:

[T]hat’s exactly what Obama would say if he did have a secret “death committee” plan. [emphases in original]

Finally, a liberal with the inside scoop admits it. The T-4 program has commenced!!>!>!> George Soros will be supervising who lives and dies! The secret Muslims have taken over the White House and the Holocaust of the born-again is upon us.

It’s time to panic everyone!!

But be sure to make your way to your local Congressperson’s or Senator’s office first. That’s the only way to stop this Nazi-Communist-Muslim-Godless-Chicago-style-Kenyan-America-hater! He’s out to kill your children and your grandparents for being burdens on society – and he just fucking hates babies! He actually considers every live birth to be a missed opportunity for abortion!

This bill also will hurt small businesses profit margins, perhaps causing some to close!

Another godless liberal blogger has admiringly pointed out that even with admidst these Hitler-style antics by Hitlerbama, our Great Leader, Sarah Palin is urging restraint, as he summarizes her message(s):

Indeed. Obama’s evil death panels would kill my baby Trig, but let’s be sure to keep the discourse civil.

What a selfless woman! She is sooooo right! But it’s important to make sure to make your “civil” disagreement with Obama’s plan to run a Holocaust on American soil in front of your local representative. Panic – but do so in strategically-wise places.

[Legal disclaimer: Civil discourse is essential to our society, blah, blah, blah. This post is in no way intended to promote violence or otherwise mislead or induce panic despite the clear meaning of the text contained herein. The following is not supposed to be used as a list of suggestions for the most effective and media-savvy means of opposing health care reform: I’m not saying people should bring guns when they go to “discuss” health care with their Congresspeople – but all patriotic Americans stand behind the right to bear arms strongly. I’m not saying people should make death threats to supporters of the bill, though all patriotic Americans know the freedom of conservative speech is under attack!!>! I’m not saying we should hang supporters of the bill in effigy, but all patriotic Americans know group activities can build group spirit. I stand behind Sarah Palin when she chastized reporters, saying “Goshdarnityall, troops are dying for your freedom. So stop making things up!>!?!” Which is why I’m encouraging all of y’all not to lie about health care reform – but instead to express the “truth” about the government-sponsored euthanasia and abortion and gang rapes (see sections 34.1, 23.2, and 104.4 of the bill for reference) that the bill the Democrats are pushing will mandate.]

[Image by Floyd Brown licensed under Creative Commons.]

  1. There’s no need to follow the link. Just trust that I’m providing adequate context. []
Humor Law

Souter’s Books

Katie Zezima in the New York Times:

Justice Souter told a Weare neighbor, Jimmy Gilman, that the two-story farmhouse was not structurally sound enough to support the thousands of books he owns, according to The Concord Monitor, and that he wished to live on one level. [my emphasis]

Wow. That’s gotta be quite a collection.

Barack Obama Humor Politics Videos

Bill Maher Takes On The Birthers

[digg-reddit-me]I haven’t commented much at all on the “birther” movement. It just seems too stupid to discuss. And yet, a recent poll shows that 42% of Republicans believe that Obama was born in America. But Bill Maher made a good point tonight – which I think is worth sharing:

An appropriately somber message delivered with humor: ignoring stupidity doesn’t make it go away.

Health care Humor Politics Videos

Bill Maher Explains Why Profits Don’t Need To Be Part of Our Health Care System


Bill Maher – as is his wont – perfectly parries the conservative arguments defending our “capitalist” health care system by linking it to capitalism in general:

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But Bill, the profit motive is what sustains capitalism.”

Yes, and our sex drive is what sustains the human species, but we don’t try to fuck everything!

There are exceptions, rule, and regulations to everything. Maher – by bringing the matter back to sex – demonstrates that the radical capitalist ideology that seeks to impose itself on every facet of life is in fact just that – an unpragmatic and radical ideology. And he makes the case that liberals and the others in the majority who are opponents of this radical capitalism that the profit motive is a good thing – just like sex drive – but like sex, it needs to be constrained in order to be productive and not destroy our society.

Humor Law

Justice Ginsburg Loses a Shoe

Emily Bazelton in interviewing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the New York Times magazine this weekend prompts Ginsburg to tell this small, charming story behind how a rumor about her health had gotten started:

[S]ome reporter said something like, it took me a long time to get up from the bench. They worried, was I frail? To be truthful I had kicked off my shoes, and I couldn’t find my right shoe; it traveled way underneath.

[This image is in the public domain as it is an official work of the U.S. government.]

Humor Politics The Opinionsphere

Stay Classy, Sarah Palin: Palin Insinuates David Letterman is a Child Rapist

[digg-reddit-me]As I’m not sure how much attention this has already gotten, let me start with a brief overview of the Palin-Letterman feud that apparently got going a few days ago.

Letterman, after joking that Sarah Palin herself “Bought makeup from Bloomingdale’s to update her ‘slutty flight attendant’ look,” then went after her family’s famous fecundity:

One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.

Given Bristol Palin’s public figure, I think it’s well within the bounds of taste for a late-night humorist to go after her. I mean it’s undeniable that she cuts a bit of a ridiculous figure, as a self-appointed role model for abstinence and single mother. The 14 year old daughter  – on the other hand – doesn’t deserve to be so ridiculed.

The Palin family then made the assumption that Letterman was referring to their younger daughter – and furiously, Todd Palin responded:

Any ‘jokes’ about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too.

And Sarah Palin decided to go with a more political response – calling on the familiar Nixonian contrast between Hollywood/NY and “real Americans” like her:

Laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands – that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone’s daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.

Letterman seeming a bit shocked by all this replied:

These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl…. Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes.

But the Palins apparently have no use for apologies – and ignore Letterman’s assertion that they had made the wrong assumption about who he was referring to. Rather than seeing this as closed, and protecting their daughter’s privacy by letting it go, they instead make their 14-year old daughter the punch line in a zinger designed to keep this story in the news. They insinuate David Letterman is a child rapist, rejecting Letterman’s offer to appear on his show by saying:

[I]t would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.

Even if David Letterman were referring to Willow – which he denies and which the joke was not clear about – what possible purpose, aside from political advantage and publicity, does it serve for the Palins to keep this going? The whole reason the outrage over Letterman’s joke hits a nerve is that even bringing up an older man taking advantage of an underage girl is taboo – especially if one is referring to a particular girl. Even bringing it up is dangerous. And this is precisely what the Palins are now doing – repeatedly – for no other reason than to advance Sarah Palin’s career. They’re using insinuations of child rape as a political weapon, as zingers. This is not a subject to be trifled with – or politicized. It’s wrong. Period. This isn’t a Hollywood versus the heartland issue. This is something we all agree on.

But unfortunately, when the Palins see an opportunity to divide Americans and demonize millions Americans, they apparently cannot let the chance slip by – even if it is in the best interest of their daughter.


Conan: “It’s almost like a sight gag that I’m in L.A.”

Bill Carter interviewed Conan O’Brien for the New York Times on his debut tonight:

When he walks out, Mr. O’Brien said, his fans may be surprised. “I think the overwhelming feeling at first will be: ‘Oh, he’s got real lighting now.’ ” He said he had one word for what he wanted in a new set (besides better lighting): elegant.

“And they did that,” he said. “It’s very elegant.” But his fans shouldn’t worry: “You can still be a jackass in an elegant space.”

Mr. O’Brien expects to mine his personal dislocation for comedy. “I can’t go anywhere without people saying, ‘Good luck in L.A.’ Or, ‘What’s it like in L.A.?’ Osama Bin Laden is in a cave somewhere saying, ‘I wonder how Conan will be in L.A.’ ”

Mr. O’Brien said the move would definitely affect the show. “It should be different,” he said. “The only way to survive in television is to reinvent yourself.”

He added, “I can’t radically remake my personality, but this should change me in ways that I changed during the ‘Late Night’ show — in ’93, and ’96 and ’98. What’s nice is there does seem to be something funny about me being in L.A. It’s almost like a sight gag that I’m in L.A.”

Gotta say – I’m really looking forward to what O’Brien will do with this – and I’m especially happy to see Andy Richter back.

[Image licensed under Creative Commons courtesy of bunnicula.]

History Humor Iraq Morality National Security Reflections The Bush Legacy The Opinionsphere The War on Terrorism

Must-Reads This Weekend

Nuclear Porn. Ron Rosenbaum writes about how hard-core our nuclear fantasies have become in an essay for Slate:

I love airport best-sellers because I see them as our Nostradamuses, the literary canaries in the dark coal mines of our paranoia. They sniff out and serve up fictionalized but “realistic” prophecies of coming doom of one sort or another. Perhaps it’s that in their visions of total world immolation they diminish in the mind of said traveler the possibility of something so trivial as a 757 engine malfunction.

The Awakening. David Rose investigates the Sunni Awakening in an article for Vanity Fair. The big news: apparently the initial approach by the Sunni insurgents offering to work with America came in 2004 – but was rejected as a result of turf battles and ideology. 

Happiness. Joshua Wolf Shenk tells the story of the most significant longitudinal study in history (so far). He reveals that one of the participants in the study (all of whom were chosen while they were in college) was John F. Kennedy. The study itself is fascinating – and Shenk’s piece was reflective and probing:

“I’m usually callous with regard to death, from my father dying suddenly and unexpectedly.” He added, “I’m not a model of adult development.”

Vaillant’s confession reminded me of a poignant lesson from his work—that seeing a defense is easier than changing it. Only with patience and tenderness might a person surrender his barbed armor for a softer shield. Perhaps in this, I thought, lies the key to the good life—not rules to follow, nor problems to avoid, but an engaged humility, an earnest acceptance of life’s pains and promises…

Torture and Truth. Ali Soufan testified in Washington – but while he was constantly interrupted by an edgy Lindsey Graham, his written statement is a testament of a man who was there: 

The issue that I am here to discuss today – interrogation methods used to question terrorists – is not, and should not be, a partisan matter. We all share a commitment to using the best interrogation method possible that serves our national security interests and fits squarely within the framework of our nation’s principles. 

From my experience – and I speak as someone who has personally interrogated many terrorists and elicited important actionable intelligence– I strongly believe that it is a mistake to use what has become known as the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” a position shared by many professional operatives, including the CIA officers who were present at the initial phases of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation. 

These techniques, from an operational perspective, are ineffective, slow and unreliable, and as a result harmful to our efforts to defeat al Qaeda. (This is aside from the important additional considerations that they are un-American and harmful to our reputation and cause.)