Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Low Can We Go?

Ed Schultz, who is what passes for a liberal commentator on cable television, called Laura Ingraham, who is what passes for a conservative commentator on cable television, a "right wing slut."

For this he will be suspended for one week.

Laura Ingraham is a despicable human being.* But Ed Schultz should have been fired before he had finished his sentence.

* Just for example, Wikipedia: As a Dartmouth undergraduate, she was a staff member of the independent conservative newspaper, The Dartmouth Review. In her senior year, she was the newspaper's editor-in-chief,[3] its first female editor.[2] She wrote a few controversial articles during her tenure, such as a piece characterizing a campus gay rights group as "cheerleaders for latent campus Sodomites". She also secretly tape recorded the organization's meetings, and sent copies to the participants' parents.[4][5] Jeffrey Hart, the faculty adviser for The Dartmouth Review, described Ingraham as having "the most extreme antihomosexual views imaginable," and noted that "she went so far as to avoid a local eatery where she feared the waiters were homosexual and might touch her silverware or spit on her food, exposing her to AIDS."[6] In 1997, Ingraham wrote an essay in the Washington Post in which she stated that she changed her views after witnessing "the dignity, fidelity and courage" with which her gay brother Curtis and his late companion coped with AIDS.[7]

Straight Out of Hollywood

Huguette Clark died on Tuesday at the age of 104. If you have no idea who she was, that would apparently have suited her just fine.

Her father was a copper barron, born before the Mexican-American War, who actually bought himself a U.S. Senate seat. Huguette was raised in a 121-room mansion on Fifth Avenue – Fifth Avenue!

121 rooms

If you can get the NY Times, make sure you read her obituary here.

According to the obituary, "although her three palatial homes — a 42-room apartment on Fifth Avenue; an oceanfront estate in Santa Barbara, Calif.; and a country manor in New Canaan, Conn. — are fastidiously maintained, she had not been seen in any of them for decades." [My emphasis.]

Then follow the link to the "country manor" in New Canaan, which is finally for sale. It has its own web address. Take a look.

The description says,
The story of this magnificent estate is almost as striking as the mansion itself. Constructed in 1937 by a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, who spared no expenses in its construction, it was sold in 1951 to an owner who never moved into the estate. It has stood unoccuppied for decades, maintained by caretakers who live on the property’s two brick gatekeeper cottages. [Again, my emphasis.]
It has stood unoccuppied for decades.

For decades.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Figure it Out for Yourself

Solving the Middle East Problem

Was Obama's recent speech, declaring that negotiations between Israel and a future Palestinian state should be based on "1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps," "the basic idea for at least 12 years" or "throwing Israel under a bus?"

It appears to depend on who you ask. I found this article interesting.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Will Michele Bachmann Wimp Out?

Or, as a City Pages Minneapolis blog puts it, is Michele Bachmann smarter than a high school sophomore?

Amy Myers, a high school sophomore in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has challenged Michele Bachmann to a debate:

Dear Representative Bachmann,

My name is Amy Myers. I am a Cherry Hill, New Jersey sophomore attending Cherry Hill High School East. As a typical high school student, I have found quite a few of your statements regarding The Constitution of the United States, the quality of public school education and general U.S. civics matters to be factually incorrect, inaccurately applied or grossly distorted. The frequency and scope of these comments prompted me to write this letter.

Though I am not in your home district, or even your home state, you are a United States Representative of some prominence who is subject to national media coverage. News outlets and websites across this country profile your causes and viewpoints on a regular basis. As one of a handful of women in Congress, you hold a distinct privilege and responsibility to better represent your gender nationally. The statements you make help to serve an injustice to not only the position of Congresswoman, but women everywhere. Though politically expedient, incorrect comments cast a shadow on your person and by unfortunate proxy, both your supporters and detractors alike often generalize this shadow to women as a whole.

Rep. Bachmann, the frequent inability you have shown to accurately and factually present even the most basic information about the United States led me to submit the follow challenge, pitting my public education against your advanced legal education:

I, Amy Myers, do hereby challenge Representative Michele Bachmann to a Public Forum Debate and/or Fact Test on The Constitution of the United States, United States History and United States Civics.

Hopefully, we will be able to meet for such an event, as it would prove to be enlightening.

Sincerely yours,
Amy Myers

God bless the yutes of America. We need to make sure Michele rises to the challenge. She can do some cramming with Mike Huckabee's Learn Our History course. Cartoons.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Ridiculous and the Sublime

Thanks to Kevin Drum for pointing me to this, from The Guardian.

A couple appearing on a quiz show in England guessed that Roger Bannister, the great English runner who was the first human being to run a mile in less than 4 minutes (when they still ran mile races), was actually "the first man ever to put the toilet seat down."

Of course, I suppose there's no reason he couldn't have done both. He was that good.

Andrew and Vanessa, the quiz show contestants who made this stab in the dark, seem to be potential candidates for the Darwin Award. They should definitely take out lots of insurance.

The Guardian columnist who reported this has been keeping a file of great quiz show answers:
This may have cost them their shot at wealth, but Andrew and Vanessa shouldn't get downhearted. They've entered the immortal ranks of the all-time most stupid quiz show answers ever. Their appearance now sits alongside the time a contestant on Beg, Borrow or Steal announced that Cambridge University was in Leicester, the time someone on Wogan's Perfect Recall was asked "which Duke resides at Woburn Abbey?" and answered "Hazzard", and the time a lottery quiz contestant finished Eamonn Holmes's question of "there are three states of matter: solid, liquid and . . ." with the word: "jelly".

However, The Million Pound Drop has a long way to go before it catches up with the two biggest idiot magnets around: The Weakest Link and Family Fortunes. At least contestants on the former have an excuse for answering "what is the name of the insect which makes honey?" with "honey fly" or "what 'Z' is used to describe a human who has returned from the dead?" with "unicorn"; they are being glared at by a terrifying dominatrix.

Family Fortunes contestants – who have answered "name a Paris landmark" with "Hawaii", "name an animal with horns" with "a bee" and "name something that flies without an engine" with "a bicycle with wings" – don't exactly have that luxury.
At the other end of the stupidometer, here's a video for my friend, Ethan, who Friday night succeeded in clearly explaining why, when you have chosen Curtain One, and Monty Hall shows you what's behind Curtain Two, and offers you the chance to pick Curtain Three, you should take him up on it. Do not let your mother see this video, Ethan. I'll never get another free meal if you do.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Correspondents' Dinner Videos

I've promised several folks to give the links. Great stuff.

First, Obama's speech:

Seth Meyers' routine:

Why I Love the Tea Party (#1)

Via Gail Collins' quiz in this morning's NY Times, I learned this tidbit. A Tea Party favorite in the Texas state House has introduced a bill which makes it illegal, punishable by a fine of $10,000 and two years in jail, to hire an undocumented immigrant.

Exception: your maid and the guy who cuts your lawn.

Details here.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


As soon as I heard it, I flinched. The code name for the mission to get bin Laden (or maybe for bin Laden himself) was "Geronimo." What were they thinking?

I don't want it to take anything away from the great and brave job the Navy Seals' Seal Team Six did. But really. This was predictable.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

From The Writer's Almanac:
Today is Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, but is, in a more general way, a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture in the United States.

After a series of wars in the mid-19th-century, Mexico was reeling. President Benito Juarez announced that payment of foreign debts would be temporarily suspended in 1861, and the French navy showed up to demand repayment. As long as they were there anyway, Napoleon III thought it would be a good idea to replace the current government with one more favorable to French interests -- and France could also establish a base of operations to aid the Confederacy in the American Civil War.

In a David-and-Goliath battle, the 8,000-strong, well-armed French army was routed by 4,000 ill-equipped Mexican soldiers, and though it wasn't a decisive battle in the course of the war, it became a symbol of Mexican pride. It also kept Napoleon from aiding the cause of the Confederacy.

Cinco de Mayo isn't widely celebrated in Mexico outside the state of Puebla, but it has been adopted by many Americans regardless of their heritage, much like St. Patrick's Day and Oktoberfest. It's been celebrated in California since 1863, and grew in prominence in the rest of the country along with the Chicano movement of the 1940s. It wasn't until beer advertisers decided to promote the holiday heavily in the 1980s that American celebration of Cinco de Mayo became widespread.