I’m not sure I’m ready for 20 — if not God forbid 68 or 116 — months of Scott Walker. Are you?
Archives for February 2015
Satire, like the dual-blade light sabre, is a weapon best left to those with years of experience behind them. Just ask Jan Rankowski, as described by Buzzfeed‘s Joseph Bernstein:
The internet knows Jace Connors as a gun-loving YouTube personality who last month became the latest symbol of GamerGate’s escalating extremism when he released a bizarre, rambling video in which he claimed to have crashed his car while en route to the home of Brianna Wu, the game developer who has become, along with Anita Sarkeesian, the public face of GamerGate persecution.
“Jace Connors” is in fact Jan Rankowski, a 20-year-old living in Maine who is affiliated with Million Dollar Extreme, a provocative cult comedy group based in Rhode Island, and far from being the archfiend of GamerGate, Rankowski is himself now the subject of a campaign of harassment.
In an exclusive interview, Rankowski told BuzzFeed News that he intended to satirize “the over-the-top, super-hyper-macho armed GamerGater” but that harassment in recent days, as doxxing forums and GamerGate image boards have started to suspect he is behind the Connors character, has left him terrified…
After the car crash video brought a swarm of attention to the Connors character, users of obscure internet fora (4chan, 8chan, and something called Kiwi Farm), were able to trace the character to videos created by Rankowski and Sam Hyde, the comedian behind Million Dollar Extreme.
And then the phone calls started. “People have been calling my old high school calling my work,” Rankowski told BuzzFeed News, “and saying these nasty things about me. I was made to sign a contract at my job saying I wouldn’t make any of these videos again. I received a letter in the mail with a picture of me from my high school yearbook… It said I shouldn’t have fucked with 8chan.”…
Rankowski says that the situation has given him a new appreciation for the people who were most upset by his actions.
“I didn’t take this situation seriously, but I see what it means now to be in the other person’s shoes. What her life must feel like. I have this newfound respect for the people who are having to deal with GamerGate, Brianna Wu and Anita [Sarkeesian].”…
He had no idea that video was loaded, before it went off in his face! Dude, next step in the initiation is when half the internet lectures you about how what you’re experiencing isn’t actually harassment, it’s about ethics in online comedy. Also, if you didn’t want to be mobbed by starling flocks of internet idiots, why were you wandering around in that neighborhood wearing such a provocative persona, eh?
(Of course, this is when you Internet Sophisticates tell me everybody knows that ‘Jan Rankowski’ is really a cover for the next-level trolling of [insert your speculation here]…)
I don’t think any of you fully appreciate how extraordinarily difficult it is to replace a desktop power supply an re-wire a pc with a cat and two puppies in your household.
Richard Mack, an Arizona sheriff who took a leading role in the most fringey anti-Obama law enforcement groups, made headlines with stunts like suing the President over gun control, supporting Cliven Bundy and fighting the Affordable Care Act like it’s a Cuban major general and he’s Patrick Swayze. Being self-employed and on the individual market for health insurance Mack apparently found it unpalatable to take advantage of the protections guaranteed in Obamacare. See where this is going? Of course you do. Mack’s family experienced some adverse health events in January and he had to open a crowdfunding site to head off bankruptcy. No word on whether Michael Moore will once again step in to save the day.
In all honesty, I supported the ACA precisely because I do not want anyone to suffer. Whether I agree or disagree with them, I want to make sure everyone can rant about what makes them mad without medical bankruptcy looming any time a family member breaks their leg. Maybe you think Obama is an antichrist muslim communist atheist lizard alien. No problemo. Start a club and send out a press release. But please, buy health insurance for your family.
Bill O’Reilly is the sane one in the room.
Ladles and Jellyspoons, I present you with the comic stylings [via TPM] of self-made son and purveyor of a gospel that is good news only in his fevered brain…
Put your hands together for our own, all American Franklin Graham!
“One of the problems we have in the West is that our governments, especially in Washington, has been infiltrated by Muslims who are advising the White House, who I think are part of the problem,” Graham said. “And we see this also in Western Europe. They have gotten into the halls of power.”
Oh Noes! We’re doomed until a good Christian Soldier may come to save the day!
Uhhh. Wrongo on so many axes-o, Frankie boy. So much so, in fact, that Bill O’Reilly, veteran of so many battles fought within his own mind, could not help but do that Village media rarity, and ask a follow up:
O’Reilly pushed back, asking for Graham to name a Muslim adviser to President Obama.
Franklin replied with equal measures of Joe McCarthy and Mole MacCaroney*:
“I do know that they are there. I’ve been told this by a number of people,” Graham responded. “I’m not saying that they’re sitting next to the President, whispering into his ear. But they are in the halls.”
Channelling my inner Abe: hurts too much to laugh and I’m too big to cry.
BTW: just to point out the obvious, being saner than Franklin Graham does not make Bill Legend In His Own Memoirs O’Reilly actually on the beam. The question that prompted Franklin’s first reply was why the west hadn’t united to defeat ISIS — which is, as we say in the halls of reason, a question marred by assumptions not in evidence.
And with that, my fine feathered friends (and the non-avian amongst us), I give you Modern American Conservatism.
*Not that its all that easy to distinguish between those two, by Walt Kelly’s design, of course.
True story: People are here to help decide who should be the most powerful leader on the planet
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) February 27, 2015
CPAC Day Two is behind us, and the consensus seems to be that Jeb Bush is the GOP Establishment’s Microsoft, Scott Walker is the Koch Brothers’ Apple, Rand’s faithful Paulistas are Phish heads, and everybody else is actually (a) auditioning for the VP slot, or (b) grifting. There’s lots of grifting!
— Billmon (@billmon1) February 27, 2015
Jeb Lund, for the Guardian:
Welcome to the Conservative Political Action Conference, a three-day-long performance from an improv troupe whose hat has only has one statement in it: you’re in terrible danger. But that doesn’t mean you’re in terrible danger right now. Right now, there are seminars. About the danger. I have been to them, as part of my quest to be America’s Most Impervious Man. I don’t even care to what…
This is like House of Cards except nobody is hot.
— Erin Gloria Ryan (@morninggloria) February 26, 2015
John Cassidy, for the New Yorker:
… After a couple of ho-hum speeches from Rick Perry and Marco Rubio, two of the would-be G.O.P. candidates in 2016, Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, took the stage. Many CPAC partisans regard the R.N.C. as the soggy, corporate-funded enemy within (which could also serve as a shorthand description of their feelings about the Bush family), but Priebus was there to be friendly. “There will be no coronation in the Republican Party,” he assured the crowd. “If you want to win the nomination, you’re going to have to earn the nomination.” Then came Donald Trump, who appeared to have spent the flight down to D.C. doing some handicapping. “Jeb Bush—he’s in favor of Common Core,” Trump said blithely. “He’s weak on immigration. I don’t see him winning.”
Many of the attendees would dearly love to believe that Trump is right in his analysis. He was followed by one of their heroes, Senator Rand Paul, who already seems to have been running for President forever….
Are you ready for President Rand Paul? Are you ready for four years of thinking, "I wish this guy would just clear his damn throat"?
— Jeb Lund (@Mobute) February 27, 2015
Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire:
It is now conventional wisdom that CPAC this year has been a triumph for conservative hawks, and that, while Rand Paul is still popular in the hall, his extended moment as the lead act in that particular hootenanny finally may have passed. Folks are up there wanting to get their war on, and the laptop bombardiers in the audience are lapping it up. (This shebeen is in the market for any photo of the audience taken at that moment when Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods asked for all the veterans in the house to stand.) ISIS is coming for all of us, and most of the potential Republican candidates are waiting for it with Leadership, Authenticity, Exceptionalism, and a vast arsenal of featherweight banalities…
William Temple, the "Tea Party Patriot," holds press conference after walking out on Jeb pic.twitter.com/JETqdkX8fD
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) February 27, 2015
Speaking as an American, I would never say that.MT @SlagKogel: I'm pretty sure there's no way american politics could get any more retarded
— Billmon (@billmon1) February 27, 2015
CONGRESS: The president must listen to the will of the voters! PRESIDENT: Okay, what is that? CONGRESS: Well, [spills coffee on crotch]
— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) February 28, 2015
Several members of the Freedom Caucus are on the House floor preventing a bill from passing by unanimous consent
— Daniel Newhauser (@dnewhauser) February 28, 2015
— Billmon (@billmon1) February 28, 2015
House Republicans have the biggest GOP majority since before the New Deal. But they can't pass a 3-week punt without Nancy Pelosi.
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) February 27, 2015
Or even one week, as it turns out. From Roll Call, news of the fking Mole People:
Just two hours before the Department of Homeland Security was set to run out of funding, the House delivered a bill to float the agency for one more week.
But last-minute maneuvering almost put a snag in that plan.
Shortly after learning that GOP leaders intended to bring the stopgap measure to the floor after Senate passage earlier in the evening, a band of conservatives huddled in the chamber to plot their next move.
Earlier in the day, 50 of them helped sink the House’s proposed three-week continuing resolution because it did not include language blocking President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
At around 9:30 p.m., close to 20 members who hailed largely from the newly formed House Freedom Caucus appeared to be consulting the House rules on a laptop belonging to Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.
Republican votes were critical to passing this one-week patch, especially since leadership chose to expedite consideration of the measure by bringing it up under “suspension of the rules.”
Typically reserved for noncontroversial measures, bringing a bill up under suspension requires a minimum of two-thirds of those present and voting to vote in the affirmative.
That meant leaders were relying on a lot of Republicans to vote “yes” — and a lot of Democrats, too. Members of the minority party earlier in the day held out all but 12 of their votes over the GOP’s refusal to bring up the other bill passed by the Senate on Friday morning, to fund the DHS for the remainder of the fiscal year without conditions.
Luckily for Republicans, Democrats agreed to help out with the seven-day stopgap. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her members asking them to support the latest effort, saying that it would ensure passage of the longer-term DHS funding bill in the next seven days…
Cherry on the shite sundae:
… A senior House Democratic aide clarified to CQ Roll Call that Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, gave Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders his commitment to bringing up the six-month bill next week, once the Senate inevitably blocks the House’s motion to form a conference committee to resolve differences between the two chambers.
Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, denied that such a conversation had taken place: “There was no such promise made,” he said…
So we all get to do this again next week. Cheers!
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) February 28, 2015
Speaking of whiny clowns, before anyone complains about too many tweets, I’ve been fighting a nasty cold & the spindizzies (labyrinthitis) all week. One hundred forty characters is about as much attention as I can muster, right now.
From our Food Goddess, TaMara:
I debated about a recipe exchange this week, it’s been a busy, snowy week and I was contemplating curling up with a good book until spring. But then I made these great oven baked chips and thought, I must share.
There was lots of cooking this week, for a change, so the recipe exchange will be, as JefferyW often posts, be made up of tidbits.
Starting with a new chocolaty Nutella Brownie, recipe here, that also happens to be gluten-free.
JeffreyW made some great looking Buffalo Chicken, photos and recipe here.
Chuck roasts were on sale, so I made a Slow-Cooker Pot Roast, full dinner menu and recipes here.
And for the pet lovers, a really quick Bixby Update is here. To say he is trying my patience would be kind. Puppies.
What’s on your plate this weekend? We’re digging out from about 20 inches of snow, but the sun is shining, so that’s a plus. How about you?
Smart explainer from Marin Cogan, at NYMag, on “How Downton Abbey Office Décor Morphed Into a D.C. Spending Scandal“:
… Other reporters actually had looked at Schock’s finances before but didn’t report them.“The irony of this whole thing is that the fact that he spent a lot of money on hotels and travel has been known among Republicans forever and it pissed them off,” says another reporter who is now working on the Schock story. “Once Ben had a great story by accident it gave reporters an opening to be like, he lives this lifestyle. It all kind of fit into the mold that Ben created. On its own a story that Aaron Schock spends a lot of money is not that interesting because he’s not in leadership. It would seem very random. No one had a hook until we discovered that he was working in a replica of Downton Abbey.”
Adam Smith, communications director for Public Campaign, a nonprofit working to reduce the role of special-interest spending in politics, has two explanations for why Schock (who declined a request for comment) went from a media favorite to one of its top targets. One is the difficulty in understanding Congress’s arcane and complex ethics rules. “It’s all super-complicated! I’m pretty well-versed in this stuff, but I still had to track down and confirm what the ethics violation would be, even though I knew it was … something. Same goes for our bullet-hole-filled campaign finance laws,” he says. When you see big spending stories blow up like this one, they’ve often originated in opposition research shops. It’s fair to ask: ‘Would we have seen that without a dedicated opponent looking for it?'”
He continues: “But I think the big thing, for me, is that reporters are cynical generally, and on money in politics in particular. Everyone’s schmoozing with lobbyists, everyone’s prostrating themselves in front of big donors, so what’s the big deal? They’ll say everyone’s corrupt, voters don’t care, politicians aren’t going to do anything, so why cover it? It’s all about the horse race — who’s picking up the most bundlers, who’s raising the most money.” Eventually, some other reporter might have come by and noticed the office, but if Schock and his staff hadn’t freaked out about it, it might have never raised alarm bells. Instead, on Tuesday, Politico reported that Schock was lawyering up to deal with the allegations made against him. Terris, meanwhile, got another tip in his inbox. “Ben, I enjoyed your recent article and the accompanying photos,” it read. “I was surprised to see the long tail pheasant feathers in a government office since I thought it was illegal to keep such feathers.” The plot thickens.
Russ Choma, at the Center for Responsive Politics OpenSecrets.org, further explains that his GOP associates had very little impetus to go after Schock, because Aaron made sure that everybody who mattered got a taste:
… While Schock’s campaign committee spends lavishly on airfare and catering — not to mention cufflinks ($2,678) and flowers ($3,570) — his leadership PAC, GOP Generation Y Fund, is, relatively speaking, all business. It raised $782,000 in the 2014 cycle, through late November of last year, and spent $776,000. Of that, $517,000 — almost 70 percent of the PAC’s total spending — was spent on contributions to other federal candidates (all of them Republicans)…
… [O]n the list of leadership PACs that give out the most money to other members of Congress, Schock’s stands out at No. 14, just behind a short roster of stars and leaders from both parties, like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Apart from making notes on the best way to make friends & influence people, what’s on the agenda as we start the weekend?
From commentor Prometheus Shrugged:
Nya, a 10-month-old beagle, labrador mix, was rescued from the Humane Society of Imperial County on January 10, 2015. This scrawny puppy had been overlooked at the shelter for two months and needed a rescue to save her. We took one look at Nya’s protruding ribs and knew we needed to help. Nya was placed in a loving foster home where our first step was to put on some much needed weight. Despite being parasite free, Nya proved to be a very picky eater – almost to the point of being anorexic. Her blood work looked normal, leaving us perplexed. Our goal was to find a food, any food, that Nya would eat.
On February 20, 2015, Nya was rushed to Veterinary Specialty Hospital after she went into respiratory arrest after a larger-than-normal meal. Chest X-rays revealed that Nya had a diaphragmatic hernia – a small hole in her diaphragm that allowed her liver, stomach, and small intestines to migrate into her chest cavity. Her food-filled stomach was pressing on her heart and lungs, causing a rapid heart rate and labored breathing. Our vets believe the hernia was congenital, since Nya has no injuries that indicate the condition was caused by trauma. Dr. Fryer performed a flawless surgery the following day and for the first time in our care, Nya’s lungs were able to fully expand in her chest cavity!
We have been fostering dogs for “The Rescued Dog” here in San Diego for a couple of years, and Nya, is, hands down, the sweetest dog I’ve ever been around. She loves all humans unconditionally and has been great with the other pets in our house (AKA our “foster failures”). The surgery, though expensive, seems to have been a success. Assuming she heals properly, and regardless of any fundraising, she should soon be adoptable.
She would make an ideal companion for anyone wanting or needing a little love and affection–i.e. approximately everybody. I would be happy to provide more details to anyone who might be interested. We’ve had her for more than a month now, and I took all the non-hospital photos on the webpage (the obligatory “dogs making the bed” shot should look familiar). So I have a reasonable sense of her personality. As I said, unadulterated sweetness.
As far as I can tell, most rescue operations seem to be noble organizations, and “The Rescued Dog” is no exception. (I’m not affiliated with them in any way other than providing a foster home.) Their strategy is to go to the rapid (5-day) kill shelters throughout Southern California and rescue the ones that seem most adoptable. They pay for all medical expenses prior to adoption (including spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and, occasionally, major medical expenses such as Nya’s) and then make the adoption process as painless as possible. Their track record for choosing the most affectionate dogs has thus far been impeccable. However, like most rescue organizations, they do operate on a shoestring budget; not surprisingly, vet bills like Nya’s totally wipe them out.
Poor girl, I’m guessing she’s been a ‘picky eater’ because a full stomach was so uncomfortable for her. If you can, please spread the word (Facebook, etc.). And if you’re interested in giving Nya a permanent home, or know someone who might be, leave a comment or contact me (click on my name in the right-hand column or annelaurie at verizon dot net).
Here’s singer Pharrell interviewing Nimoy a couple of years ago:
Nimoy came up with the “Live long and prosper” salute from a hand gesture he’d seen as a child at the synagogue. Fascinating.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
In the much-needed good news category, the Federal Communications Commission voted this week to classify broadband Internet as a public utility, a big win for net neutrality. This means that no content is blocked and the Internet isn’t separated into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that are bigger and slow lanes for small companies that talk about racism, like, well, TWIB:
Tom Wheeler, the commission chairman, said the F.C.C. was using “all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers” and preserve the Internet’s role as a “core of free expression and democratic principles.”
Thank god, our fast access to GIFs is safe, am I right?
Team Blackness also discussed a man who tried to pay his bar bill for a rock, the unveiling of diverse emojis, and even more talk on white privilege and dealing with racial issues.
I saw a bunch of the Oscar-nominated movies this year for the first time in a while — Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Imitation Game, Grand Budapest Hotel. I liked them all, except The Imitation Game, which felt like a made-for-tv movie to me. I was impressed that the others were a notch above the usual Forrest Gump famous-actor-puts-on-a-weird-accent type garbage that usually gets nominated.
I can understand why some people hate Wes Anderson, and I understand the various arguments about Selma, that it should have gotten more nominations or that the portrayal of LBJ was unfair. But I can’t understand why Boyhood is so polarizing, why some people hate it so much. I liked it a lot, it felt like real life to me, which I think was the main goal. I have a few quibbles with regards to its realism, I thought they made his high-school girlfriend too pretty (I don’t think people look that good in real life, though my wife thinks sometimes they do when they are eighteen), and I certainly don’t like to think I live in a world where annoying goateed dads give their kids lectures about the greatness of Wilco (I could accept the possible realism of the Black Album thing, guess).
I don’t necessarily think movies have to be realistic per se (though with Boyhood that seemed to be whole point), but I only like them when they seem real to me. And I like them best in general when there’s some scene that feels just like something out of my real life.
I was trying to think the other day what scene from a movie goes through my head the most when I’m going about my day. I decided it was probably the scene from Goodfellas when Ray Liotta’s riding around in a hurry, thinking he’s being followed by helicopters. I always think of that when I’m driving and I’m in a hurry.
What scene from a movie seems most like your real life to you? And what did you think of this year’s movies?
In 2004, I went to Cleveland to canvass for John Kerry, and when we got to the campaign center, they told us (me and some college students) “Too bad you weren’t here five minutes ago, Matt Dillon and Paul Newman were just here”. One of the students asked me “I know the salad dressing but what else did Paul Newman do?” I said “The Hustler, H.U.D., Butch Cassidy, The Color of Money”, and the students all looked at me blankly, having never heard of any of these movies.
More recently, I was at a Starbucks, and a 60ish woman said to the 25ish guy behind the counter, “Has anyone ever told you you have Paul Newman eyes?” They guy said “Huh?” The woman said “You don’t know who Paul Newman is. Tell your mother a dirty old woman told you that you have Paul Newman eyes”.
Based on the above scientific research, I have concluded that the kidz don’t know who Paul Newman is. Explain to me why it is, then, that there are TWO songs on the radio right now that mention Michelle Pfeiffer — “Uptown Funk” and “Riptide”. Is it because the 80s were more recent than Paul Newman’s heyday (they’re not that much more recent and Newman had some hits in the 80s)? Is it the Scarface effect?
While we’re at it, what are your favorite movies with Michelle Pfeiffer? The only one I really like is Fabulous Baker Boys. How about Newman? For me, too many to mention, but I guess I’ll go with The Hustler.