January 2010

I don’t frequent Gawker, because it is essentially a New York City gossip blog and I hear my fair share of gossip around the water cooler, but on occasion one of their writers will whip something together that strikes up some interest. In this case, Ravi Somaiya wrote up an article titled “Why Aren’t Conservatives Funny?,” and it’s an interesting observation, one worth discussing.

But there is no good right-slanted Onion, or Daily Show or Bill Maher and no right-wing satirist who can nail liberals like Stephen Colbert nails conservatives. In 2007 Fox tried to launch a show to take on Comedy Central (despite Jon Stewart, in particular, sniping across political lines). The 1/2 Hour News Hour, marked by canned laughter, was described as “so heavy handed that it seems almost like self-parody,” and was quickly cancelled.

If the Teabuggers, whose idea of hilarity is at the ‘dress up funny’ level of high-school skits, are the cutting edge, the new generation, then prospects are not looking good for the future either.

Maybe it’s because absurdity and hypocrisy – staples of political humor – are far more prevalent on the right. If a family-values conservative gets caught with a wide-stance in an airport bathroom stall, or claims to be “hiking the Appalachian trail” when he’s in fact schtupping the Argentinian woman, that is amusing. When liberals cheat or lie it tends to be far more mundane.

I remember when the 1/2 Hour News Hour aired a couple of years back and I checked it out, just out of curiosity, even if I felt a little guilty for giving Fox News my share of a ratings boost. It was painful, a total mess of a show, and not just because what they poked fun at didn’t align with my political views. It was just miserably unfunny. Hop on YouTube and you can verify this. It was no wonder that it was cancelled very early in its run.

The writer goes on to examine the recently arrested James O’Keefe who considers himself a humorist as well as an investigative journalist, but he just isn’t funny, and is lowbrow at best. As the writer examines, it could be his having grown up “in a wealthy bubble, in slacks and blazers from the cradle up,” which he says is “almost a prerequisite of conservatism” and when “the toughest experience you’ve had is Juanita ironing an inadequate crease into your golf pants even though you’ve told her about this before, you may struggle to wield the comedy of universal experience.”

An interesting point, although I grew up in a lower to middle class rural town, where conservatism is the standard and people share anti-liberal emails with loved ones on a daily basis, probably somewhat as a result of the rampant religion and a misunderstanding of how government works in general – the typical Confederate flag waving “stay out of my business” attitude towards the government, unless the government is providing them with food stamps and social security.

I do get a lot of laughs from conservatives though – but why is it that I only find them funny when they don’t mean to be? Hell, the only conservative comedian I can think of, Dennis Miller, lost his edge when he “converted” to conservatism or whatever it was he changed about himself after 9/11 that all of the sudden made him a Bush supporter and Fox News regular.

Maybe it’s just because conservatives provide liberals with plenty of ammo for their jokes, or maybe liberals just tend to be more art-oriented, or maybe it’s just a complete coincidence. Whatever the case, the right will continue to risk alienating the malleable minds of the younger generation by being irrelevant, because just as everyone knows humor can win the heart of a woman, humor can win over the minds of the young and undecided.

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

When one thinks of tanning beds, politics may not be the first thing that come to mind – but it is an issue that is becoming evermore political with each study on the harmful effects of indoor tanning, so much so that there is a new bill in the works in Congress (“The Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act”) that will put a limit on UV ray strength and the amount of time a person can spend in a tanning bed at a salon, as well as forcing tanning salons to clearly make the risks known to people that use the beds – a comparable Surgeon’s General Warning for tanners.

When it comes right down to it, the general pubic just doesn’t know the risks. According to a study by the World Health Organization, tanning beds are unarguably “carcinogenic to humans,” and they’ve moved them to their highest cancer risk category, alongside the likes of cigarettes, asbestos, and uranium. The study showed that if you use indoor tanning before the age of 30, your skin cancer risk rises by a blistering 75%.

Take a moment to read that last sentence again.

As the representative who introduced the bill said, “tanning beds are the cigarettes of our age.” She stressed that the risks must be clearly known by everyone, particularly young women, and that the beds themselves must be strictly regulated.

On a personal note, I don’t get the fascination that women have with tanning. I know women that get in the tanning bed every single day. It becomes a sickening obsession and frankly, the majority of the women I know end up looking far less attractive than they would if they just kept a healthy tan, or even their natural skin tone. People tan in a daily routine, like it is something that they have no choice but to do to be healthy – shower, eat, work out, tan, sleep. Going once or twice a week – sure, why not? Like I said, a healthy tan can be an enjoyable visual feast. But more than that, the studies clearly show that you’re digging your own grave (and not looking nearly as sexy as you think while doing so).

You know, these trends are strange. There was a time that fair skin was considered the ultimate sign of beauty. Look at the stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood (Grace Kelly, anyone?). Looking abnormally tan (and often like an orange-faced Oompa Loompa) does not make you attractive, ladies. Easily preventable cancer is also unattractive… and expensive. I’m just saying.

If you’re feeling ambitious, it wouldn’t hurt to write or shoot a quick e-mail to your Congressperson to tell them that you support this piece of legislation.

Source: The Huffington Post

For those of you who don’t know the classy guy in the photo above, that’s evangelical preacher ‘Pastor Ted’ Haggard.  He’s a complete charlatan, by the way; he preyed on people who were too ignorant to think for themselves by stealing millions of dollars from the ones that attended his ‘church’ and bought his incredibly insightful literature, like The Pursuit of the Good Life.  This was all the while, mind you, that he had a three year affair with a prostitute by the name of Mike Jones, whom he not only banged, but solicited for methamphetamines.

People like Haggard make my skin crawl.  There’s not a sincere thing about this guy and watching videos of him and his bigoted propaganda spinning is truly disgusting.  This guy, as Mike Jones can attest to, however, does have balls.  After resigning from (or being fired from) all of his religious posts and exiling himself to heterosexual bootcamp, Haggard asked his flock for money so that he and his wife could attend the University of Phoenix online.  Yes, it’s very difficult to go to college full-time and manage the mortgage on a $700,000 house when you’re a recovering drug addict and massage-loving homosexual.  But, undoubtedly, people gave this idiot their cash.  God, I hope the IRS digs through this guy’s taxes.

My favorite part of this fraud’s nasty career as a minister of the good Lord’s message isn’t that he was preaching against homosexuality while banging male prostitutes, or that he was taking crystal meth, or that he, on the surface at least, believes that homosexuality can be ‘cured’, or that he went on Oprah and stated that his wife should divorce him (because who would want to go through one of the most difficult trials of their life with the person they committed themselves to spend the rest of it with, right?  How’s that phrase go?  “When the cat goes away…”).  The fact that this guy spoke to former President George W. Bush, while completely insane and disturbing, isn’t it.  That he attended Christian university Oral Roberts, while somewhat funny and ironic, isn’t even it.  No.  None of that is my favorite part of this guy’s story.

I most enjoyed watching his evangelical “friends” distancing themselves from him completely.

The religious leaders whom Haggard was friends with, left him high-and-dry after his revelation of recreational drug use and banging a male prostitute.  Close friend Dr. James Dobson said he didn’t have time to participate in restoring Haggard “from being gay to not gay.”  Sorry, Ted.  I guess your homosexual soul is doomed to burn in hell for all eternity.  Some of my other favorite burns included:

Some fellow conservative Christian leaders got in their digs yesterday. “We’re sad to see any evangelical leader fall,” the Rev. Pat Robertson said on his television show, “The 700 Club.” But, he added, it “just isn’t true” that the NAE represents 30 million churchgoers, as the association claims.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, speaking Thursday night on CNN, said Haggard “doesn’t really lead the movement. He’s president of an association that’s very loose-knit . . . and no one has looked to them for leadership.”

Check out the original article citing some of Haggard’s good buddies here.

To me that shows not only what kind of people these incredibly compassionate ministers are (hopefully you don’t need to borrow any milk from them anytime soon), but what kind of person they knew Haggard was as well.  Someone that wasn’t worth spending five years with to make him magically not gay again.  And, there’s your religious leaders, folks.

Anyways, here’s Roy Zimmerman’s take on Ted Haggard here.  If you get a chance, check out Zimmerman’s youtube channel.  It’s absolutely hilarious.

Sometimes I hate Texas. I’d consider moving there, because I like warm weather, football, and breakfast burritos, but good luck ever trying to convince me to put my children through the Texas school system. Just Google News “Texas social studies curriculum” and you should get an idea of the recent push that they are trying to make in their social studies curriculum lately. If you consider yourself progressive, you will more than likely be as sickened as I am. The reason that this is important is because Texas is one of the major textbook buyers. Since publishers don’t make separate textbooks for each state based on their political demographic, they generally make their textbooks Texas educational standards friendly, because they want Texas school systems to buy their books.

Of course, Texas is known for being full of conservative nincompoops. Check out the latest story from Dallas News:

What do the authors of the children’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and a 2008 book called Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation have in common? Both are named Bill Martin and, for now, neither is being added to Texas schoolbooks.

In its haste to sort out the state’s social studies curriculum standards this month, the State Board of Education tossed children’s author Martin, who died in 2004, from a proposal for the third-grade section. Board member Pat Hardy, R-Weatherford, who made the motion, cited books he had written for adults that contain “very strong critiques of capitalism and the American system.”

Trouble is, the Bill Martin Jr. who wrote the Brown Bear series never wrote anything political, unless you count a book that taught kids how to say the Pledge of Allegiance, his friends said. The book on Marxism was written by Bill Martin, a philosophy professor at DePaul University in Chicago.

Hardy admits to never having read the book titled Ethical Marxism, yet decided to ban it and all of Martin’s books anyway – despite the fact that a book on Marxism is not a book that would end up in a third grade classroom anyway and even if it did, a third grader would just throw it aside wondering where all of the pictures were.

Michael Sampson, Martin’s co-author on thirty of his books, chimed in, saying that the motion to ban the books is “a new low in terms of the group that’s supposed to represent education having such faulty research and making such a false leap without substantiating what they’re doing.”

This is the state that threatens secession every other day though and had George W. Bush as their governor for nearly six years. Which I suppose answers my question as to how people such as Hardy get in a position of power like this in the first place.

I… you know… like… it’s… umm… WTF?!?!?!?!:

After a parent complained about an elementary school student stumbling across “oral sex” in a classroom dictionary, Menifee Union School District officials decided to pull Merriam Webster’s 10th edition from all school shelves earlier this week.

School officials will review the dictionary to decide if it should be permanently banned because of the “sexually graphic” entry, said district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus. The dictionaries were initially purchased a few years ago for fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms districtwide, according to a memo to the superintendent.

“It’s just not age appropriate,” said Cadmus, adding that this is the first time a book has been removed from classrooms throughout the district. “It’s hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we’ll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature,” Cadmus said. She explained that other dictionary entries defining human anatomy would probably not be cause for alarm.

Really, I’m almost at a loss for words. One nutjob parent complains, which leads to dictionaries being pulled out of an entire school district? The English teachers must be freaking. I bet that this same parent lets their children be exposed to violent movies and video games. Sure, let them shoot up hundreds of innocent civilians in an airport alongside Russian terrorists in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (no seriously, watch it uncut right here – I know dozens, literally dozens of fifth graders that play this game), but seeing the definition of oral sex, a normal sexual practice that they are going to learn about one way or another anyway? What an outrage! Call of Duty makes them patriots, not have oral sex!

Thankfully, there are some parents who are not completely out of their mind and are pissed about this nonsense:

“Censorship in the schools, really? Pretty soon the only dictionary in the school library will be the Bert and Ernie dictionary,” said Emanuel Chavez, the parent of second- and sixth-grade students. “If the kids are exposed to it, it’s up to the parents to explain it to them at their level.”

I’m sure that the dictionaries will be returned to their rightful place in the schools, but the fact that this ever had to happen in the first place is unbelievable. I’m not really sure what more can be said about this situation, besides that it is absolutely one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. That’s all I have to say about that.


I’m not sure, but we’re going to be finding out next election.  Apparently Political Action Committees weren’t enough for the money-grubbing politicians, so now America is going to get what they’ve been wanting for decades: the best president corporate America’s money can buy.

In a landmark ruling on Thursday, January 21st, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that limiting campaign contributions was a First Amendment violation.  This opens up the wallets of major corporations to spend limitless amounts of dollars on advertising for candidates in national, state, and local elections.  So how much air-time a company would like to purchase in support of a candidate is now directly proportional to the depths of their pocketbook.  There are still protections in place that prohibit corporations from donating dollars directly to candidates.  However, that point really seems to be moot at this juncture.

Fortunately, (if there is any silver lining to this) I’ve been saving since my first paper route 15 years ago for just such an occasion.  I’m finally ready to throw my hat into the political arena and spring my add in support of my candidate in 2012.  I don’t want to give too much away, but think Janet Jackson in Rhythm Nation meets Vince from ShamWow! It’s artistic and inspired.

I hope that information about how much these companies spend on political advertising is available to the public so that we-the-people can see how much President Wal-Mart costs next election.

Sources: 1,2,3,4

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