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There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind. February 26, 2017

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Political miscellanea.

News hoaxes are starting to spread faster among liberals, in part because Trump’s reality is so outrageously terrible that nothing sounds fake anymore. Be careful to double-check.

From the night before the election: Anons recall their first impressions of Trump and Clinton.

Warning people “some politically motivated groups are spreading lies about this fact” makes people less susceptible to lies about the fact. (No word yet on how to make people less susceptible to the obvious counter-tactic, i.e. falsified warnings that the facts are politically motivated lies….)

Trump fires one of Ben Carson’s trusted aides for disagreeing with him. Ben Carson is stunned and bewildered that his people are not exempt from Trump’s vindictiveness. Reality check, you moron: NOBODY is exempt from Trump’s vindictiveness. He is not your friend. He is nobody’s friend.

The Onion’s Jimmy Carter: “Did you worry I might be cutting deals in back rooms with the peanut butter lobby? Or that I might be too busy at harvest time to focus on the economy or the Middle East?”

“In consultation with the team of Illuminati, demons and robo-Hitlers who have been supervising Hillary Clinton’s progress…” October 22, 2016

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The Onion: “Saying he hoped the Republican nominee could clear up the matter for American voters, moderator Anderson Cooper reportedly began the second presidential debate Sunday night by giving Donald Trump the opportunity to explain exactly what the fuck is wrong with him.”

A secret history of the truth about Hillary Clinton. (1980: “In consultation with the team of Illuminati, demons and robo-Hitlers who have been supervising Hillary Clinton’s progress thus far, her robotic shell is replaced with another, different one that does not wear glasses and is blonder. The people of Arkansas consider this an improvement, although they complain about its inability to bake.”)

The best of #TrumpBookReport. (“It took Low Energy Harry Potter 7 books to defeat Voldermort. Sad! I would have beat him in the first book!”)

Meanwhile, in Real News That Sounds Like A Joke:

“On Wednesday, Congress was so determined to pass a law to sue Saudi Arabia that it overrode President Barack Obama’s veto. But possible backlash against America had top Republican leaders looking for someone else to blame [September 30]. And they appear to have settled on Obama.”

A Trump-vs-Clinton history matchup, comparing what the two were doing in various years.

Video after Pence’s showing at the VP debate: “Trump never said that” intercut with times when Trump said that.

Clinton’s plan will create 3.2 million jobs; Trump can’t even pay the performers at his own rallies August 2, 2016

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And it’s not just any performers Trump won’t pay. It’s adorable little girls. “In an article posted this morning, Jeff Popick, the man who wrote the song and the father of the youngest Freedom Girl, informed the Washington Post that he plans to sue Trump over promises Popick says were made and then broken by the campaign.” Oh, and he’s trying to stiff a hotel that hosted a campaign event, too.

A 74-page document that’s nothing but links to terrible things Trump has said and done. And growing.

“The results of an online survey conducted by Teaching Tolerance suggest that the campaign is having a profoundly negative effect on children and classrooms. It’s producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported.”

“While working on “The Art of the Deal,” Schwartz kept a journal in which he expressed his amazement at Trump’s personality, writing that Trump seemed driven entirely by a need for public attention. “All he is is ‘stomp, stomp, stomp’—recognition from outside, bigger, more, a whole series of things that go nowhere in particular,” he observed, on October 21, 1986.”

On the flip side: “Clinton’s promise is a big one, but that doesn’t mean it’s an empty one. This morning, Moody’s Analytics released a report concluding that Clinton’s economic plan would create 3.2 million jobs and accelerate growth of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). By contrast, earlier this month, a similar (albeit contested) Moody’s analysis of Trump’s economic plan estimated that it would reduce employment (by about 3.5 million jobs), reduce economic output, and prompt a painful recession.”

It was determined the T-shirt was offensive to some people and so the decision was made to pull it from the sales floor.” The text” Someday a woman will be president.” The year: 1995. How far we’ve come.

“I cannot walk into a room with pictures of Humayun. For all these years, I haven’t been able to clean the closet where his things are — I had to ask my daughter-in-law to do it. Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?” This woman’s strength is incredible. Dishonor and shame on anyone who attacks her.

I want to live in The Onion’s uniferse: “Donald Trump reportedly threw himself on his bed Tuesday and asked himself ‘Why can I never seem to say the right thing?‘ while weeping into his pillow.”

Giant rubble LEGOs, ocean plastic filters, job creation, swords into ploughshares, and other good things. May 5, 2016

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Turning earthquake rubble into pseudo-Lego bricks, then using them to build new houses. Apparently they even meet serious construction safety standards.

Launching in 2016: a fast and (by all estimates) wildly effective ocean-cleanup array, designed to filter all that plastic we’ve been dumping into our waters.

Every article that discusses pros and “cons” of the SNAP program should open with this: “The USDA estimates that every dollar in SNAP spending generates $1.79 in economic activity. ‘People think of it as a drain,” says the Urban Institute’s [Elaine] Waxman, “but it’s an economic generator.'”

“The study by the Colorado Health Foundation found that the Medicaid expansion created 31,074 new jobs and added $3.8 billion in economic activity.

“Owner of Coastal Kitchen & Mioposto says [of raising the city minimum wage is] that he “certainly won’t open another business in our beloved Seattle”… then opens two more businesses in Seattle.”

San Francisco cops talk a suicidal man down from a ledge…with the help of his cat.

Trump (and Ben Carson) are record-setting in terms of how many lies they tell. The silver lining is that, for politicians, both Bernie and Hillary fare pretty well.

“In an echo of the Biblical vision of beating swords into ploughshares, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in California said [last July] it would melt approximately 3,400 confiscated firearms and use the steel as concrete reinforcement.

Some delight from the Onion: “Organizers confirmed President Obama has greeted heads of state from more than 2,000 alternative realities, a gathering of leaders that includes 139 different versions of himself, a parallel U.S. president Mitt Romney, a pulsing being of pure electrostatic energy, Earth-7491’s King Lyndon B. Johnson IV, and a hooded group of unspeaking figures known only as “the Council.””

Today in “but, what, why” news October 25, 2014

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When The Onion produced an article headlined “Experts: Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away,” I thought “wow, that’s so true”…in the sense of “wow, that is a piece of grim satire, but it sure does highlight essential truths about global racial dynamics.”

Turns out it’s “so true” in the sense that we’ve had an Ebola vaccine that tested as 100% effective in nonhuman primates since 2005.

And if they had promptly moved on to human trials, “researchers said…a product could potentially be ready for licensing by 2010 or 2011.”

The economy, in hard numbers and sharp snark. May 14, 2014

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“Ford added that she would definitely sit right down and intently watch the full documentary the minute she had a few hours free from her 75-hour workweek and around-the-clock parenting duties.” (The Onion knows what’s up.)

“Other members of Congress tried to make sure he dressed as warmly as possible, Stoops recalled. But when it’s 20-something degrees out, an extra sweater only goes so far.

Hours Worked On Minimum Wage In Order To Pay For One University Credit Hour, 1980-present.

The mind of the 1%: “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game?” Uh, dude, I’m pretty sure the players make the game. They do the work. They earn the money. Working people are not some kind of pets, that you feed out of the goodness of your heart because their presence amuses you. They are adult human beings whom you employ, and pay to do a job.

Banks are awful, part eleventy million. Seriously, credit unions will cleanse your soul.

More post-Zimmerman-trial gun news. July 26, 2013

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Slate’s ongoing tally of (reported) gun deaths in America since Newtown, through July 26.

The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is not an error in programming. It is the correct result of forces we set in motion years ago and have done very little to arrest.

Perhaps you have been lucky enough to not receive the above “portrait” of Trayvon Martin and its accompanying text. The portrait is actually of a 32-year old man. Perhaps you were lucky enough to not see the Trayvon Martin imagery used for target practice (by law enforcement, no less.) Perhaps you did not see the iPhone games. Or maybe you missed the theory presently being floated by Zimmerman’s family that Martin was a gun-runner and drug-dealer in training, that texts and tweets he sent mark him as a criminal in waiting. Or the theory floated that the mere donning of a hoodie marks you a thug, leaving one wondering why this guy is a criminal and this one is not.”

The Onion: “In the wake of the verdict, large protests are confirmed to have erupted in cities throughout the country, which, frankly, is pretty understandable because, Christ, did you watch this fucking trial? In response to the nationwide outrage over Zimmerman’s innocence, and, boy, we’re using the term “innocence” pretty goddamned loosely here, President Barack Obama urged calm.”

And again: “In addition, the citizenry said that it’s basically gotten to the point where African-American teens need to avoid walking alone, hanging out in groups, or even minding their own business, especially if they are planning to do any of those things in public.”

After a 46-year-old fired several times into an SUV full of teenagers: “The couple drove back to their hotel, and claim they did not realize anyone had died until the story appeared on the news the next day.

“”After being left for dead, he survived and was then charged with attempted murder of the four white officers who brutalized him,” Occupy wrote on their website, adding that Morgan was found not guilty on three counts, including discharging his weapon. The same jury that cleared him of opening fire on the officers, however, deadlocked on a charge of attempted murder — and another jury found him guilty in January.”

“A Texas jury acquitted a man for the murder of a woman he hired as an escort, after his lawyers claimed he was authorized to use deadly force because she refused sex.

More of the numbers on guns. Plus the reason why we don’t have as much research as we should February 3, 2013

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The attention span of the American media seems, miraculously, to be holding. The NYT picks a week and pulls stories from every day. The Twitter @GunDeaths links all the gun deaths in the US since Sandy Hook (or rather, all of the subset that it hears about).

Five people accidentally shot at gun shows on “gun appreciation day.” And that’s not even getting into all the other people shot around the country.

Other recent incidents include a 22-year-old getting shot and killed on the way to visit a friend, because his GPS led him into the wrong driveway and the homeowner decided it was a “home invasion”; and two men killed at a gun range — where they still had to call the police, because evidently a Texas gun range still doesn’t contain enough ~good guys with guns~ to be of any use.

“Across the United States, more than 5,700 children and teens were killed by guns in 2008 and 2009 — a number that would fill more than 200 public school classrooms — according to data compiled by The Children’s Defense Fund. That number includes 173 preschoolers, nearly double the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty during the same time.

“Now, researchers who’ve studied the effect of the laws have found that states with a stand your ground law have more homicides than states without such laws. […] Hoekstra checked to see whether police were listing more cases as “justifiable homicides” in states that passed stand your ground laws. If there were more self-defense killings, this number should have gone up. He also examined whether more criminals were showing up armed. In both cases, he found nothing.”

I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos. I say it as someone who thinks the Supreme Court got it right in District of Columbia vs. Heller, when it held that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to possess guns for self-defense. (That’s why I have mine.) I say it as someone who, generally speaking, is not a big fan of the regulatory state.”

[O]ne of the loopholes that enabled passage of the original ban limited research on the law’s effectiveness to the first year’s data rather than allow more conclusive long-term studies. A long–range, independent study issued as Congress allowed the ban to expire in 2004 found criminal use of assault weapons had fallen by one-third or more as a share of gun crimes in major jurisdictions.”

That bizarre loophole isn’t an isolated incident, either. The NRA actively pressures the government and institutions not to do research on the effects of guns, leaving us with a dearth of up-to-date research. Gosh, could it be that they’re afraid actual data will undermine the myths they count on to make money?

That includes the myth about just wanting to ~protect women and children~ (which is apparently not “emotional manipulation” when they say it): “Far from making women safer, a gun in the home is ‘a particularly strong risk factor’ for female homicides and the intimidation of women. In domestic violence situations, the risk of homicide for women increased eightfold when the abuser had access to firearms, according to a study published in The American Journal of Public Health in 2003. […] Another 2003 study, by Douglas Wiebe of the University of Pennsylvania, found that females living with a gun in the home were 2.7 times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun at home.”

If everyone who got shot felt the need to speak to Congress about gun control, we’d never hear the end of it.

On Connecticut. December 14, 2012

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Transcript of President Obama’s remarks on the shooting.

The Onion, as usual, is on point.

Here is a petition. I almost never share online petitions, but I think perhaps you should sign this one.

This is a post about civil rights. Mostly uterus-related ones. March 5, 2012

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Image from a school for black civil rights activists, 1960: young woman being trained to not react to smoke blown in her face. Hardcore.

Profiles of seven queer African-Americans, from the dawn of the Civil Rights movement to the present day.

Don’t like the Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing people (regardless of religion, up to and including Jewish Holocaust victims) as Mormons? This handy website automates the process of posthumously conferring homosexuality on dead Mormons.

History and context for pre-Roe abortion, including both the author’s personal experience in the ’60s and a fascinating look at how the battle lines in the US have shifted. In particluar, how the prevailing mindset used to be “before it starts kicking, it’s none of the public’s business.”

And the history of how “life begins at conception” ended up in evangelical dogma. Check out how different the opinions of conservative bible-literalist Christians looked as recently as 1979.

From pro-life teenie to scared young adult in a crisis: “And while I knew there were hardliners who would disagree with her, including the woman who showed me fetuses and told me horror stories in church, those people weren’t there for me when I was scared and lonely and embarrassed. Planned Parenthood was, in the form of the woman who stayed at her job an hour later than necessary to talk a scared young woman through an incredibly safe medical experience.”

Speaking of horror stories and scare pictures: Anatomy of an unsafe abortion (warning for gore). The reason pro-choice people don’t carry gory posters around at pro-blastocyte-rights events isn’t for lack of images to choose from.

Want another? Look up the truly misleadingly named ovarian chocolate cyst (warning for ick). Of the millions of US women 15-44 who use birth control, 58% have reasons unrelated to family planning — including the prevention of such cysts.

Fifteen-year-old faces life in prison for a miscarriage. One of the real, practical results of trying to sneak up on chipping away at abortion rights slantwise.

Rick Santorum’s proposed anti-amniocentesis rules would have killed this author’s daughter. Because clearly his self-important theory-based scaremongering is more important than actual science saving the lives of actual people. (There’s a theme developing here.)

I do love the Onion: Voters Slowly Realizing Santorum Believes Every Deranged Word That Comes Out Of His Mouth.

In an effort to close on a non-sucky note: Memories of growing up with Christian contemporary music, and then discovering Nirvana.