Friday, February 27, 2015

To Scott Walker, peaceful protesters = ISIS

For some reason, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been rising in the polls of possible GOP presidential candidates for the 2016 election. However, one has to wonder if that momentum will swing in the other direction after a comment he made at the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday.

When being asked about how he'd handle the terrorist group ISIS, Walker responded with this:

"If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the globe."

Yes, taking on 100,000 peaceful progressive protesters is the same thing as taking on the terrorist group ISIS...

After receiving immediate backlash for his absurd comparison, Walker responded by saying this:

"You all will misconstrue things the way you see fit, but I think it's pretty clear, that's the closest thing I have in terms of handling a difficult situation, not that there's any parallel between the two."

Either Scott Walker is an idiot or he thinks the rest of us are idiots (or perhaps a bit of both).

Let's look at his quote again. He said, "If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the globe (in other words, take on ISIS)."

What is being misconstrued again here, Mr. Walker?

What he's essentially saying is, "Since I've shown I can take on peaceful progressive protesters in this state, that shows I'd be able to take on the terrorist group ISIS."

So, yes, he is comparing the two. That's what a comparison is...

Due to this ridiculous comparison, expect Scott Walker to say the following things in the future:

- "If I can microwave some popcorn, I can bake the world's largest cake from scratch."

- "If I can do a crossword puzzle in one sitting, I can read War & Peace in one sitting."

- "If I can throw a tennis ball 2 yards, I can throw a bowling ball 120 yards."

- "If I can lift the remote five times, I can bench 450 lbs."

- "If I can open my mouth, I can sound like an idiot."

Okay, so that last one is true...

http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/26/politics/scott-walker-2016-protestors-terrorists/

Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt men's head basketball coach) to one of his players: "I'm going to f**king kill you!"

I'm amazed by what Vanderbilt head basketball coach Kevin Stallings yelled at one of his players following the team's 73-65 victory over Tennessee on Thursday night, but am even more amazed by the majority of people's reactions to the situation (commentators on websites anyhow).

As Stallings was shaking hands with his opponent after the game, a Tennessee staff member informed the Vanderbilt head coach about one of his players, Wade Baldwin IV, clapping in the face of Tennessee forward Armani Moore after the Commodores sealed their victory.

Kevin Stallings then went up to his player and angrily yelled, "I'm going to f**king kill you!"

This occurred in front of most everybody holding a camera, so after the inevitable backlash, Stallings told ESPN the following:

"I handled it completely inappropriately and I apologized to Wade -- and I need to apologize to our fans and the Vanderbilt administration. Having said that, and it may seem as though I'm trying to rationalize my behavior, sportsmanship will continue to be a high priority. I did not mean it in the literal sense and I've never touched a player in all my years as a coach. That's not me. I will learn from this and handle this situation differently in the future."

I'll comment on all of that shortly. Before doing so, however, I thought I'd share a few comments I read from members of ESPN.com in response to the article:

- "This is a non-issue. It just shows the pussification of America."

- "This is just emblematic of how soft we've become as a society..."

- "The kid deserved it."

- "Every athlete has been threatened by a coach. Move on..."

- "What's it with the PC police? Are you offended by the 'F' word? Seriously?"

There are times when I seriously wonder why it is I love sports so much. Outside of that and perhaps my love for rock music, I'm the antithesis of the alpha male. Approximately 74% of the comments I read following the article made me shake my head, roll my eyes, and silently mumble to myself, "Really?" and "Steroids and anger management much?"

If the school wants to suspend Wade Baldwin IV for his actions, then so be it. If Kevin Stallings wanted to give him a heated lecture (void of threats) following the game in his office, again, so be it. However, there's absolutely no excuse for the coach to have said, "I'm going to f**ing kill you!" None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. As far as I see it, while it's debatable whether or not the player should receive a 1-game suspension, the coach should, at the very least, be suspended for the rest of the year, if not outright fired. In fact, I personally feel the latter is the more appropriate option.

First off, let's think about the ironic logic Kevin Stallings suggested to ESPN following the incident. The guy talks about how important sportsmanship is, yet how in the world can he expect his team to be good sports when he angrily yells at one of them, "I'm going to f**king kill you!"? "Do as I say, not as I do," right? Ah, gotta love good role models...

Secondly, while the coach may not have meant what he said in the literal sense, it's still a threat to one's life, and in what other profession could someone threaten to kill another, but get away with it by saying, "Oh, but I didn't mean it literally"? What if Baldwin had said that to his coach? He'd be kicked off the team. What if an employee said that to their boss? They'd be fired. What if a boss said that to their employee? With evidence, they'd need to look for a new job. What if someone said that to an individual with a great deal of power, the president in particular? Expect secret service to be at your door and to quite possibly serve time in jail. So why is it Kevin Stallings can say, "I'm going to f**king kill you!" to one of his players and get away with it, without too many people angered by the threat? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Also, especially in college, coaches are typically seen as father-figures to these athletes, these college kids. If an 18-year-old kid's actual father angrily yelled, "I'm going to f**king kill you!" to his son in public, what do you think would happen? Yes, chances are he'd be getting a visit from the police. Heck, if any man yelled "I'm going to f**king kill you!" to another in public, the chances are good he would receive some visitors not too long after that. But what would these commentators say if an actual father said "I'm going to f**king kill you!" to his son? Would they say, "Well, was the kid asking for it"? or "He was just showing the kid some discipline! Why's this country so full of pansies nowadays?" If another man approached their son and said, "I'm going to f**king kill you!" but then later said, "Well, I didn't mean it literally," what would their reactions be? I'm guessing far different...

Lastly, if Stallings isn't fired, what's this incident going to do for the team's (school's) image and recruiting? Will parents really want their kids to play for the coach that yelled "I'm going to f**king kill you!" to one of his players? Survey says? Not likely...

Coaches can yell at their players all they'd like. They can reach into their bag of tricks and try to find ways to motivate their players and improve them both on the basketball court and off of it. However, in the long line of tricks and tools coaches have used to motivate, improve, and discipline their players, there's absolutely no place for the coach to yell, "I'm going to f**king kill you!" to one of them. If Vanderbilt wants to truly get serious about showcasing good sportsmanship, it starts at the top with the head coach, and they can't be expecting 18- to 22-year-old kids to consistently be good sports if their head coach yells out to one of them, "I'm going to f**king kill you!"

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/12390602/vanderbilt-head-coach-kevin-stallings-apologizes-berating-player-tennessee-game

Another look at "The Nightly Show" with Larry Wilmore

After its first week, I gave The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore a B+ grade. While I didn't think the show appeared to be perfect by any stretch of the imagination, I also liked the Daily Show meets Politically Incorrect vibe I got from it, and thought, with the proper adjustments, the show would indeed provide a great fill-in for The Colbert Report. In the show's succeeding weeks, however, I've been less impressed by it and think that if it doesn't make certain adjustments, it could be in jeopardy of losing many long-time viewers of the show's time slot.

One major issue I think the show's had to this point is a lack of direction. It's been unable to decide whether it wants to be a comedy show with serious conversation sprinkled in or a serious show with comedy sprinkled in. It's almost as if the show's writers want to give The Nightly Show a Real Time with Bill Maher feel. The problem with that idea or format is the fact Real Time is an hour long program that gets aired once a week, whereas The Nightly Show is a half-hour program aired four times per week. With only 20 minutes to air the show every day (excluding commercials), it's incredibly difficult to maximize its potential both as a comedy show and a news show, since there would only be approximately ten minutes afforded to both aspects. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report mastered the format. They spent 15 of their 20 minutes inducing laughter with satire and spent the other five interviewing a special guest. It was the shortened version of The Late Show with David Letterman and other such programs. The Nightly Show hasn't caught onto that just yet and can't seem to decide in which direction they want to take the program.

This lack of direction is even more evident in the show's final segment. For the first week, that segment - "Keep It 100" - was probably my favorite part of the show. In it, guests were asked one extremely awkward-difficult-to-answer question a piece and the questions and ensuing responses often times made for some good laughs. However, as the segment has gone on, there have been times where it has appeared Wilmore couldn't think of a decent question to ask, so he wound up asking one so ridiculous, so over-the-top, the guest simply didn't care to answer it, and it left more of an uncomfortable silence than any kind of laughter. Over the past week, the show has appeared to try and mix up the final segment between "Keep It 100" and other games, but it's typically fallen flat. A couple of nights ago, Wilmore placed on some alien antennas and asked the guests to explain certain things to him like he was an actual alien - things like racism and the gay pride parade. In my opinion, it may have been the worst five minutes on the show to this point in its early history. It just feels like the show's writers know adjustments need to be made, especially for that segment, but still aren't sure what those specific adjustments are.

Another possible issue for the show long-term, if it continues the way its been going to this point, is the fact it's seemed to, more times than not, focus squarely on race issues. It's great to have an African-American late-night talk show host, but that still doesn't mean he should only (or mainly) talk about race-related issues. Granted, February was black history month, so perhaps that's the main reason why the show's writers focused a majority of their attention on race matters. However, if that wasn't the case and this is how it's going to be for some time, I think the show risks making certain viewers feel alienated and losing them in the process. Not only have many of the topics focused squarely on race, but it's seemed that the show's writers have felt the need to force unneeded racial jokes in Wilmore's opening monologue on a rather regular basis, and again, it's not needed. I've been one of the first ones to stand up and say we need to have a national discussion on race, especially in light of the news stories regarding Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, etc. However, we'll be less likely to have that great national discussion regarding this important issue through forced jokes.

Lastly, I think one reason The Colbert Report was so successful was because of how wonderfully it complemented The Daily Show. Sure, The Daily Show has almost always been comedy first, serious commentary second, but Jon Stewart knew when to get serious and wasn't afraid of doing just that. The Colbert Report, which aired directly following The Daily Show, was typically the sillier, more light-hearted of the two shows. Even after an extremely serious and powerful episode of The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert could typically get people laughing and smiling again before heading to bed. The Nightly Show, in being more serious than The Daily Show, doesn't complement the show nearly as well as The Colbert Report did, and again, if this trend continues, I have to wonder if long-time viewers will take the jokes and laughter they received courtesy of The Daily Show and call it a night right then and there, without tuning into Larry Wilmore's show.

The Nightly Show is still very much in its early stages, so while I've been disappointed with the show's progress to this point, I think it's much too early to give up on it. Hopefully the show will make some worthwhile adjustments, and through that, be able to hold on to most long-time viewers and attract new ones along the way as well.

Grade (to this point): B-

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What if Liam Neeson and Leslie Nielsen had switched characters?

For whatever reason, whenever I hear the name Liam Neeson in a movie trailer, the name Leslie Nielsen springs to mind. This got me wondering how the two actors would have played some of the other's better known roles. Here are three possibilities:

Airplane!

Dr. Rumack (played by Liam Neeson): "Can you fly this plane, and land it?"

Ted Striker: "Surely you can't be serious."

Dr. Rumack: "I'm always serious... and what the hell did you just call me?"


The Naked Gun

Jane Spencer: "I've heard police work is dangerous."

Lieutenant Frank Drebin (played by Liam Neeson): "It is. That's why I carry a big gun."

Jane: "Aren't you afraid it might go off accidentally?"

Frank: "I used to have that problem."

Jane: "What did you do about it?"

Frank: "Kicked the crap out of people, well, and Viagra"


Taken

Bryan Mills (played by Leslie Nielsen): "I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. Wait, are you my wife by any chance? Anyway, if you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for no one in particular. These skills include: Delivering babies on airplanes, going to the urinal with my mic still on, reciting Knute Rockne, only getting half the lyrics right when singing 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' being called Shirley for whatever fricking reason, and faking orgasms while wearing a full-body condom. I know you're scared now, but if you let my daughter go, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, I won't even get in the back seat of a car with a student driver at the wheel and tell her to go look for you, wherever you may be. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you within a couple of decades at the most, and will kill you - probably by accident, but in any case, you'll be dead, so there's that."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

After attending a Bible reading, the Republican Party renounces Jesus

In a move that shocked conservatives all across the country, after attending a Bible reading which was made mandatory through legislation backed by the Republican majority in both the House and the Senate, the Republican Party has decided to renounce Jesus.

Realizing the inevitable backlash from supporters that the party was going to receive, the Republican National Committee mailed a letter to every registered voter, which said this:

"Dear patriot,

As sad as we are to say this as Republicans, we can no longer call ourselves the party of God, faith, or religion. After attending a Bible reading, we realized Jesus' teachings and beliefs aren't in line with our own and have decided to renounce him. We just ask that you still trust us, give us money, vote for us, and regardless of how our actions may showcase otherwise, believe us when we declare to the world that we're Christians. God bless you all and God bless you the United States of America.

Sincerely,

RNC"

When asked to elaborate on renouncing Jesus, the following Republicans had these things to say:

- "He seriously gave to the poor? I thought he was always about giving to the corps, you know, corporations. He probably doesn't even believe in trickle-down economics. Ronald Reagan could teach Jesus a thing or two!" - Iowa Representative Steve King

- "What was that thing about not throwing stones at people if you've sinned? I've killed I don't know how many people on death row and have I ever asked, 'Should I really stone this person because I've been stoned before?' I mean, come on, Jesus!" - former Texas Governor Rick Perry

- "Jesus hung out with way too many guys and didn't even say anything bad about the gays. If I'm ever with a bunch of guys, the first thing I say is, 'Look, everybody, I'm not gay, have never been gay, and will never be gay, and for any of you that are, due to a betrayal of Jesus' teachings, just know your punishment is eternal damnation in hell!' But now it seems like Jesus wouldn't want me to say such things and that just makes me feel a little weird, like I may be doing or saying something wrong, and I don't like that, not one bit. I mean, how dare Jesus judge me for judging others!" - former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

- "He always seems to be about peace and that kind of crap. The guy's like a fricking hippie for Christ's sake! What's with that robe and sandals get-up he's got? Hey Jesus, when I talk about bombs, I'm not talking about Jagerbombs!" - Arizona Senator John McCain

- "I now feel really uncomfortable in thinking that Jesus feels it's necessary for us to love and accept everybody. Who is he to judge? If someone's different than me, chances are I'm not going to accept them. This includes: Blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, gays, Asians, poor people, atheists, middle-class people, crossdressers, lesbians, bisexuals, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, babies or children that aren't fetuses, little people, Obama, and women. So, you see, Jesus? It's you that has the problem in not accepting the fact I don't accept most people! Who's the hypocrite now, JC? Hmm?" - Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert

In response to all this, the Democratic National Committee simply wrote, "It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Amen."

Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly get into it with a bartender

I just entered a bar by the name of WTF last night when Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly were about to leave, but were accused by the bartender of not paying their tabs, and the following discussion ensued:

Bartender Don Juantopissmeoff: "WTF?"

Bill O'Reilly: "You gotta problem, putz?"

Brian Williams: "Were you talking to us?"

Juantopissmeoff: "Yeah! You guys didn't pay your tabs! WTF?"

Williams: "Really? I must've forgot. I'm terribly sorry. Here you are, and please, keep the change. I promise to not come back in here for six months."

O'Reilly (to Williams): "Pansy!"

Juantopissmeoff: "Okay, he's taken care of. Now what about you? Where's my money?"

O'Reilly: "You wanna go?!? You wanna piece of this?!? I'll take you down like I took all those others down, with my two fists I call 'MC' and 'Hammer'!"

Juantopissmeoff: "Seriously? Well, those are better names than I would have guessed."

O'Reilly: "What were you going to guess?"

Juantopissmeoff: "I was torn between 'Thelma' and 'Louise' and 'Pillsbury' and 'Doucheboy'."

O'Reilly: "Oh, you've asked for it now, buddy! Get ready to say hello to 'MC' and 'Hammer'!"

Don Juantopissmeoff then showcased why his name is fitting, Brian Williams came back in to push Bill O'Reilly out of the bar in a wheelchair. Williams was then banned an additional six months from entering the bar for a violation of his first ban, all the while O'Reilly didn't have to pay his tab nor face a ban from the WTF bar. When Williams protested the matter, saying, "Hey, that's not right," Juantopissmeoff yelled back, "Hey! Do you want to be introduced to my two fists, 'fair' and 'balanced,' too, buddy?"

When Williams shook his head no, he decided to push a now conscious O'Reilly to a bar across the street, which went by the name of, 'WTF Phil Dunphy-style' (Why the Face)."

What exactly does the Constitution mean to many self-described "Constitutional" conservatives?

After seeing the results from a recent Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll of Republican primary voters, I have to now beg the question, "What exactly does the Constitution mean to many self-described 'Constitutional' conservatives?"

According to this national poll, 57% of these voters support "establishing Christianity as the national religion," even though the First Amendment of the Constitution plainly states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

How does that work exactly?

Coyote Blitzer: "So, how would you describe yourself politically? Would you say you're a conservative, a liberal, a moderate?"

Anthony Baloney: "I'm a Constitutional conservative through and through, like most of my GOP and Tea Party brethren."

Blitzer: "But it says here that you would support a measure making Christianity the national religion of this country; is that true?"

Baloney: "Yes, that's 100% true."

Blitzer: "Well, doesn't it state in the U.S. Constitution that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion'?"

Baloney: "I'm not sure. Does it?"

Blitzer: "It does."

Baloney: "Okay then... So, what are you trying to say?"

Blitzer: "You label yourself as a Constitutional conservative, correct?"

Baloney: "Yes, that's correct."

Blitzer: "How can you call yourself a Constitutional conservative if you support a measure which goes against the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution?"

Baloney: "I don't follow..."

Blitzer: "You call yourself a Constitutional conservative, yet you support making Christianity the national religion in this country even though it says in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.' Based on that, how can you accurately describe yourself as a Constitutional conservative?"

Baloney: "Because I believe in the Constitution through and through and am conservative."

Blitzer: "Except for that one part of the Constitution?"

Baloney: "Which part?"

Blitzer: "Jesus fricking Christ..."

Baloney: "What?"

Blitzer: "Oh, nothing. I just need some Aleve for an incoming migraine."

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/02/25/3626717/majority-republican-primary-voters-want-establish-christianity-national-religion/

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bill O'Reilly to release a new book, entitled, "Killing Journalism"

For his fifth installment in the Killing... series, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly will follow up Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and Killing Patton with an autobiography entitled, Killing Journalism.

When asked to comment about his soon-to-be-released book, O'Reilly said, "Look, if anybody's going to be fair and balanced about all the lies they've told the American public while being trusted as an on-air news personality and journalist or whatever, that person's going to be me. You gotta problem with that?"

Fortunately, we were afforded a sneak peak of Killing Journalism. Here is a list of our favorite quotes from the inevitable best-seller (whether they're actually true or not is anyone's guess):

- "Witnesses?!? Why do I need any fricking witnesses?!? I saw what happened and that's all that matters, so shut up already, son!"

- "Sources?!? You want sources?!? Here, I've got a source for you. Do you see that? Yeah, I'm grabbing my dick! There's my source! How do you like that?!?"

- "No, I didn't do that. Why on earth would I fact-check a guy in a loony bin about how he saw Obama smoke weed with Elvis a few weeks ago?"

- "Photoshopped? What the hell does that mean? You really want me to believe this isn't Obama's actual face and actual dragon body? I always said he breathes fire and this is proof!"

- "The hardest thing I've done in my entire career wasn't writing about my lies in this book; it was trying to remember all the lies I told. What was that thing George Bush said one time? That 'fool me once...' quote? Well, if it were me saying that, I would say, 'Fool you once, fool you who knows how many thousands of f**king times, shame on you!'"

In response to the upcoming book, Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch said, "Nothing makes for a great journalist like one that's lied to the public for a couple of decades and then has the decency to admit it all in this 975-page book. It'll only be a matter of time before a few other hosts from our network release similar books."

Vaginas = Butts according to Idaho State Representative Vito Barbieri

Like a lot of male Republican politicians, Idaho State Representative Vito Barbieri appears to be quite confused about the female body.

With regard to a state bill which would ban doctors from providing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine, the House State Affairs Committee heard three hours of testimony on Monday, which is when Representative Barbieri would soon make it known to the world that he knows as much about a woman's body as a fetus knows about the "Internets" (thanks, Dubya).

Here's basically how the back-and-forth between Representative Barbieri and Dr. Julie Madsen, who opposes the bill, went:

Dr. Madsen: "...Some colonoscopy patients may swallow a small device to give doctors a closer look at parts of their colon."

Rep. Barbieri: "Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?"

Dr. Madsen: "That would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina."

Rep. Barbieri: "Fascinating. That makes sense."

Representative Barbieri would later say his question was rhetorical. However, I have a difficult time believing this. If he was truly asking a rhetorical question, as most everyone would do in such a circumstance, here's how the back-and-forth would have gone:

Dr. Madsen: "...Some colonoscopy patients may swallow a small device to give doctors a closer look at parts of their colon."

Rep. Barbieri: "Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?"

Dr. Madsen: "That..."

Rep. Barbieri: "No need to respond. The question was rhetorical. I was merely proving a point. That will be all."

So since I don't believe his question was rhetorical, I have some questions of my own that I'd like to ask the Idaho lawmaker:

1) True or false, the butt and vagina are the same thing?

2) If you answered true to question #1, does that make the butt and penis the same thing?

3) If you answered true to both #1 and #2, through the transitive property, does that mean the penis and vagina are the same thing?

4) How do you believe people have sex? You'll be required to draw a picture.

5) If vaginas are butts in disguise, why do so many Republicans have an issue with gays getting married, since both homosexuals and heterosexuals would be only engaging in anal sex?

Based on Representative Barbieri's ridiculous question, expect to hear the following questions from him at some point in the future:

- "In Sir Mix-a-Lot's song, 'Baby Got Back,' when he says, 'I like big butts and I cannot lie,' is that code for, 'I like big vaginas and I cannot lie?'"

- "Do women always have to sit down to use the restroom because they pee and poop out of the same place?"

- "Where do babies come out of again and does it really matter which hole it is, or is there only one hole?"

- "So, since I've established that butts are the same thing as vaginas, does this mean gay men can get pregnant too?"

- "If a doctor gave me a colonoscopy, would he find my head there?"

Yes...

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/293718211.html

"The Nightly Show" with Larry Wilmore and Tara "WTF" Setmayer

CNN contributor Tara Setmayer introduced herself to me last night courtesy of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and even though I haven't researched the matter, I have a feeling her middle name might be WTF. Setmayer is a Republican commentator, an African-American, and yes, a woman. That information will be relevant later in this post.

For those whom haven't tuned in yet to The Nightly Show, host Larry Wilmore starts each show much like The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, as he pokes fun at politicians to induce laughter. This is Comedy Central after all. However, unlike Stewart, Wilmore's show tends to focus on one central topic each and every episode, and following Wilmore's 5-10 minute opening monologue and a commercial break, he's joined by four guests at a round table where they all discuss that very topic. After a second commercial break, Wilmore then asks each guest a rather awkward-and-difficult-to-answer question in a segment called "Keep It 100" (100% true, real, or honest), before himself answering such a question posed by a Twitter follower after the third and final commercial break.

Last night, the central topic was with regard to former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's comments about President Obama not loving this country, being "different" from presidents of the past (in other words, being a tad more tan...), and why it seems that the Republican Party feels the need to mythologize him.

Ms. Setmayer first decided to go with the false equivalence strategy, saying something like, "Well, Obama called Bush unpatriotic. What about that? I'm just trying to be fair here."

Wilmore quickly corrected her, saying, "Obama said how President Bush was treating poor people was unpatriotic. Giuliani just up and said President Obama doesn't love this country. Those are completely different things - apples and oranges."

Then, when asked why it seems that the Republican Party feels the need to mythologize President Obama, Setmayer said something along the lines of, "Well, look at it this way. He used to live in Indonesia, he was surrounded by Muslims for a time when he was growing up, he was friends with a communist, so, I mean, when you put all of that together, you have to start to wonder a few things..."

She added that a president, like Obama, whom seeks transformative changes, doesn't appear to genuinely love the country.

Wilmore then butted in again, basically saying, "Uh, the civil rights movement was a transformative change. The women's rights movement was a transformative change..."

The most troubling aspect of her guest appearance was her response in the "Keep It 100" segment. Wilmore asked her, "Okay, in the 2016 presidential election, you have to choose one of these two candidates: A racist Republican who's tough on terror or a Democrat who's an African-American woman, your best friend, but soft on terror. Who do you vote for?"

Her response? Take a wild guess... Yes, the racist Republican.

Tara Setmayer's guest appearance was probably the most cringe- and facepalm-inducing performance I've seen by a guest on The Nightly Show to this point in the show's early history.

After the CNN contributor kept it "100" by saying she'd rather vote for a racist Republican candidate for president than an African-American woman who was her best friend, Wilmore responded by saying, "Wow, I have so many jokes for that, but will hold off tonight."

In all honesty, there is no punchline that could depict the sad and ironic humor of Ms. Setmayer's comments more than her comments themselves. Here's an African-American woman who's standing by the party that's been trying to diminish women's reproductive rights, prevent them from attaining equal pay, limit the number of votes by minorities, and have attempted to demonize blacks (black males in particular) as "thugs" - including the first African-American president, Barack Obama. It's incredibly ironic that she seems fearful of transformative changes of the present, for where would she be without transformative changes of the past?

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCraigRozniecki?ref=hl


Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 17,376 followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:

https://twitter.com/CraigRozniecki


Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/rozzy81

Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):

http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?type=&keyWords=craig+rozniecki&x=7&y=5&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=

The ten books I've written and released in the past 4 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_22?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=craig%20rozniecki%20kindle&sprefix=craig+rozniecki+kindle%2Caps%2C228&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acraig%20rozniecki%20kindle

Monday, February 23, 2015

America breaks up with Rudy Giuliani

Following former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's controversial comments with regard to President Obama not loving America, America has officially responded by writing this op-ed in the USA Today:

"Dear Rudy,

I'm not going to beat around the bush here (no, not even Jeb); I think we should break up. I just don't love you anymore and I now have to wonder if I was ever really that into you in the first place. It's not me; it's you. Sure, we had our good moments. I'll never forget the time when we played strip poker with your cousin, I mean ex-wife. Then there was that other time we tried to make up diseases which rhymed with Giuliani. 'Tooliani' is still probably my favorite. Oh, and do you remember when you bet me that you could utter '9/11' at least once in every answer you gave the media during a press conference, and this was 7 years after the attack? Yes, you may have won the bet that day, but you lost me in the long run. It's felt as though you just took me for granted and used me for my good name to try and advance your career. Well, I'm not going to put up with it anymore. We're through, Rudy. You may think the president doesn't love me, but the fact of the matter is I no longer love you. Goodbye, Tooliani.

Sincerely,

America"

The reason so many progressives turn to sarcasm and satire

It's sad to think that a growing number of Americans can't seem to engage in civilized discourse with people of differing opinions. There are several reasons for this growing problem. 

1) Talk radio - This medium is mostly dominated by the far-right end of the political spectrum and tends to be filled with more opinions, fallacies, and false information than facts. Die-hard listeners, however, tend to take this false or misleading information as factual, which makes it difficult to debate them on the matter, even when sourcing fact-checking sites or the like.

2) Cable news - Of the three major cable news networks, CNN tends to be the most "fair and balanced" (sorry, Fox), yet it's often times the least viewed of the three networks. MSNBC leans to the left and Fox News leans to the right. So if liberals want to hear that their opinions are right, they can tune into MSNBC and conservatives can do likewise and tune into Fox News. 

3) Partisan written and online sources - Not only do talk radio shows and cable news networks tend to be partisan, so too do newspapers and websites. It's a wonder if there are any truly non-partisan sources anymore. 

4) More political pastors - It amazes me, with the "separation of church and state," how political many pastors and their sermons have become in recent years. Whether the message be about abortion, gay rights ("traditional" marriage), the Affordable Care Act, war, global warming/climate change, etc., pastors and their sermons have taken a sharp turn to the right in recent years, which has only aided to the divide, especially between the religious-minded and the science-minded.

5) Non-partisan sources not wanting to be seen as partisan - Sometimes news organizations go out of their way to show they're nonpartisan by showing both sides to a story even if facts support one side of it and debunk the other. No matter which side of the aisle facts fall on, facts shouldn't be seen as partisan, and treating them as anything other than facts does a disservice to the word and to the public's opinions and potential discourse about the issue in question.

6) Brainwashing techniques - If a person repeats something over and over again, no matter how ridiculous the statement may be, chances are he/she will start believing it. This is doubly as true and dangerous when thousands of people are constantly hearing this false statement. Whether a pastor at a church repeats the claim that God is against gays, a talk show host calls into question whether the president was born in this country and if he's actually a Muslim, or politicians resort to bumper-sticker slogans to label the other party, these comments and catchy sayings will catch on with a number of people, whom will sadly start believing them, no matter how outrageous the claims are.

7) Fact-checkers called into question - While talking heads on television and the radio mainly get paid to stir the pot and provide colorful (and often times inaccurate) commentary on current events, fact-checkers get paid to research politicians' and the news media's statements and grade their level of accuracy. However, certain politicians and talking heads have shot back at fact-checkers whom graded a claim of theirs as false by saying fact-checkers are biased, and unfortunately, many now call into question just how unbiased fact-checkers and their grades are.

8) The line between opinion and fact is getting increasingly blurry - Sure, everyone has an opinion and has a right to believe what they so choose. However, just because someone holds an opinion about something, that doesn't make their opinion in any way factual. Perhaps due to the increasing number of partisan sources, opinion has seemed to be mistaken as fact on a number of occasions, and vice versa, with facts being mistaken as opinions. This has been increasingly problematic when attempting to engage in civilized discourse with a person of a differing viewpoint.

All these reasons and more are why many progressives, like myself, have just about given up on engaging in civilized discourse with many on the other side of the aisle, and have instead turned to sarcasm and satire, so we can be provided with at least some form of cathartic release through laughter. 

For a number of years I tried to engage in civilized discourse with those whom held differing viewpoints than my own, and while once in a while I was able to engage in such a discussion, the majority of the time I was left shaking my head when I was greeted with comments like this: 

- "You believe in universal healthcare? That's because you're a socialist!"

- "Isn't Snopes.com run by a couple of liberals?"

- "Factcheck.org and Politifact.com are liberally biased!"

- "Why are you so concerned with gays' rights? Are you gay or something?"

- "Rush Limbaugh has never told a lie, ever!"

- "I only watch and listen to Fox News. Everything else is biased."

The list goes on and on... It's incredibly frustrating to read, research, and fact-check all things before I form an opinion about them, to approach a discussion with these facts and sources fresh in my mind (and my google search history), and to hear nothing but talking points and bumper-sticker slogans in return, while discrediting my "facts" as liberally biased. It reminds me of the following back-and-forth: 

Me: "3 + 3 = 6"

Joe Schmo III: "That's, like, your opinion, man."

Me: "No, that's a fact."

Schmo III: "Whatever... I bet you got that 'fact' of yours from some liberally-biased site, didn't you?"

Me: "The calculator"

Schmo III: "Yeah, that's what I thought. Along with the dictionary, that has to be the most liberally-biased book out there."

Me: "It's not a book..."

Schmo III: "Geez, you have a lot of crazy opinions. A calculator isn't a book? Since when? What are you going to tell me next, that beer isn't a meat?"

Me: "Jesus..."

Schmo III: "Jesus what? Did you just say the Lord's name in vain?"

Me: "No, I was just going to pray for you and the rest of this country, and I'm an agnostic..."

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The GOP holds a "We Love America" rally

In a surprise move, potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates decided to gather together and hold a "We Love America" rally, and in so doing, defend former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's statement that President Obama "doesn't love America." The rally, which appeared to be a spur of the moment event, was aired on Fox News, where several aspiring leaders of the Republican Party made it known just how the president is supposed to illustrate his love for the United States of America.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush started the rally off by saying, "You know how you show you love America, Mr. President? You show you love America by lying about the pretenses of a war and getting thousands of our soldiers killed all because of oil and wanting to show your daddy up! I'd sure as hell do that, and do you know why? Because I love America, dammit!"

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal followed Bush, saying, "If the president really loved America, he'd stop trying to make gays happy by letting those that have been together for 40 or 50 years get married! I wouldn't let that happen, and do you know why? Because I'm not gay and I love America!"

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee kept things rolling, saying, "Do any of you really think that the president loves America? If he really loved America, he'd stop fighting for women to have control of their own vaginas! I want to be in control of women's vaginas, and why? Because I love America!"

Fox News contributor Ben Carson didn't let things stop there, stating, "There's one main reason to think the president doesn't love this fine country, and do you know what that is? He's trying to get everyone healthcare insurance. If you really loved this country, sir, you'd take healthcare away from everyone, drive up their debts, force many more into bankruptcy, increase the homeless population, and with that, increase the property value of cardboard boxes! That's what I'd sure as hell do! Why? Because I love America!"

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney surprisingly stepped forward next, saying, "President Obama can't love America. If he truly loved America, he'd stop focusing on improving the lives of the bottom 99% of earners in this country, whom are pretty much worthless, and instead focus on the top 1% - those hard-working unemployed people such as myself! Wait, why am I up here? I thought I was running for president, but then I said I wasn't. What am I doing again? Eh, whatever. Oh, and I love America!"

Texas Senator Ted Cruz kept the momentum going, emphatically stating, "How can anyone seriously believe that President Obama loves this country? If he loved this country, he wouldn't have been elected, wouldn't have gotten his Obamacare passed, wouldn't have gotten elected again, and wouldn't have shut the government down because he wasn't willing to do away with his healthcare bill which got passed in the first place through a democratic process! What is this guy, a communist? Communists like him can't love America, but I sure as hell do, and I'm not afraid to say it! I love America!"

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan followed Cruz, saying, "President Obama doesn't love America. That's a fact; it's science. If he really loved America, he'd stop trying to side with 97% of climate scientists on that whole climate change hoax - attempting to save the coasts, decrease the frequency of epic storms and extremes in temperature, and all of that other nonsense. There's only one legitimate science, Mr. President, and that's the Bible! Why do I say that? Because I, unlike you, love America!"

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry then got up to the podium, saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, there are three ways I can prove to you that President Obama doesn't love this great country, and those are: 1) Barack, 2) Hussein, and 3) Uh, what's that last one? I swear I just said it not too long ago. Uh... Oops... Well, anyway, I love America!"

Florida Senator Marco Rubio then chimed in, saying, "I know for a fact President Obama doesn't love this country! Why? Because he's never handed me a bottle of water while making a speech! Speaking of which... Oh, and before I go and chug a bottle or six, I love America!"

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a 2016 contender only in her mind, then closed the rally by saying, "You know, I've known for a long time that President Barack Hussein Obama doesn't love America. You know how I know this? Because the opposite of lover is hater, so if someone isn't your lover - if they're not fornicating with ya, they're hating on ya. I've never seen the president fornicate with this great country, so I think it's safe to say he's a hater of it. I'd sure as heck fornicate with this great nation, and ya'll know why? Because I love America! You betcha!"

To many's surprise, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie didn't attend the event. Rumor has it Governor Walker was attending a "How to only get grumpy old white men to vote" lecture, Senator Paul was attempting to plagiarize his presidential acceptance speech, and Governor Christie was auditioning for Marlon Brando's part in a Godfather remake.

Giuliani: "Most wives don't love their husbands."

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani made a startling statement in an interview with TMZ this week, when he said, "I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I seriously believe that most wives don't love their husbands."

Giuliani, whom has himself been married three times, once to a second cousin, went on to state, "Very rarely do I hear wives tell their husbands things like, 'You're the most exceptional husband in the world,' and instead they will often times criticize their husbands. I'm sorry, but if a wife doesn't love all of her husband - every single thing about him - and doesn't think he's the greatest man in the world, then she can't truly love him."

The former New York City mayor wasn't done there, as he added, "Look, if our wives truly love us - their husbands - we have to hear about this love all the time. Instead of saying things like: 'Why didn't you take the garbage out this morning?' 'Why didn't you do the dishes like you said you would?' and 'Why did you fall asleep during sex again last night?' they should be saying things like, 'I love you more than anything in this world,' 'You're my superhero, my Superman,' and 'To me, you're more perfect than Jesus, and like he did for us, I'd die for you, because I love you so much - more than my own life!' If us guys don't constantly hear things like that, we're going to start thinking our wives don't love us anymore."

When asked about his comments, Giuliani's two ex-wives responded, "None of what he said is true. A woman can still love her husband if there's one thing about him she doesn't like. We divorced him, not because there was just one thing about him we didn't like, but because there wasn't one thing about him we still liked."

His second cousin added, "Another factor in our divorce was that he was disappointed I wasn't a first cousin."

Giuliani didn't say much when he heard about his ex-wives' response. He just said, "9/11."

Friday, February 20, 2015

The irony of the far-right claiming this country was founded on "Christian" principles...

This country was not founded on "Christian" principles. When people say this, they're talking about Anglo-Americans that took this country by storm, the Founding Fathers, and the like. However, this country was "founded" when Anglos took the land from the Natives, which is in direct conflict with one of the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not steal."

Constitutional Christian conservatives: "This country was founded on Christian principles!"

Historian: "How was this country 'founded' again?"

CCC: "Well, the Natives were here and we kind of took it away from them, I guess, but whatever, you know?"

Historian: "Isn't one of the Ten Commandments, 'Thou shalt not steal'?"

CCC: "Well, yeah... So what?"

Historian: "So, this country was founded on Christian principles, yet it was founded by you stealing the land from others, which contradicts one of the ten most cherished Christian principles in the Bible. How does that work exactly?"

CCC: "This is a Christian nation, dammit!"

Historian: "A Christian nation in talk only?"

CCC: "Yeah! I mean..."

Historian: "Uh huh..."

Alanis, sing it away, but with regard to the original definition of the term "ironic."

P.S. If you'd like to see more proof that this country was never deemed a "Christian nation," check out the following links (and yes, they all focus their attention on the actual Constitution):

https://www.au.org/resources/publications/is-america-a-christian-nation

http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2013/08/07/dispelling-the-myth-of-a-christian-nation/11095

http://www.alternet.org/comments/story/155985/5_reasons_america_is_not_--_and_has_never_been_--_a_christian_nation#disqus_thread

If you're going to leave a comment, I'd recommend...

Like anyone, there are comments I receive on posts which can make me laugh and/or smile, others which leave me puzzled, and yet others which result in me reaching for some Aleve.

For the first set of comments, I will typically leave a positive response in return. With regard to the second set of comments, I'll typically attempt to respond to the question(s) the best I can, to hopefully alleviate any confusion. Lastly, when it comes to the third set of comments, it all depends on the tone of the comment whether or not I respond.

The third and final set of comments I've received can be broken down into two subsets: 1) Angry/insulting and 2) Condescending/know-it-all (but without factual support).

Now, I'll admit, when I receive a quick, "You're a (bleeping) idiot! You don't know what the hell you're talking about" kind of comment, I will typically, rightly or wrongly, respond with a short, wiseass remark of my own. It's always been my philosophy to respond to such insults with sarcasm.

If someone makes a comment where he or she sounds like a condescending know-it-all, tells me that the facts showcase me to be wrong, yet doesn't provide any of those facts to prove such, then chances are I'm not going to respond. I received such a comment last night, and one thing I've learned about (most) such comments, according to them, the "facts" may showcase the opposing viewpoint to be wrong, yet these "facts" are reported by talking heads on the radio, Fox News, as well as writers on conspiracy-oriented sites. In other words, these "facts" are only considered to be facts by those whom have difficulty discerning facts from opinions, myths, and conspiracies.

There's always room for dissent, but if a dissenter wants to engage in a civilized discussion with me about one of my posts, I'd recommend you stray away from the insults, and if you state that what I wrote in my post is factually inaccurate, then provide credible source material to illustrate that. Yes, I realize "fact-checkers" are liberally biased and all, but there's a distinct difference between a fact and an opinion, and one can certainly not replace the latter with the former. So, no, I won't regard a Rush Limbaugh quote or a column written by Ann Coulter as a credible source. No matter how much we wish for an opinion to be true, that doesn't make it such.

So, in other words, so long as someone with a differing opinion from my own treats me with respect and adds some substance to the discussion through facts, logic, and credible source material, I'll be happy to engage in a civilized discussion with him or her. However, if the comment leaves me feeling like Linda Blair from The Exorcist due to how far back my eyes rolled, chances are that "civilized" discussion won't take place, not here at least. Thanks for listening. Have a nice day.