Sunday, November 23, 2014

Since when did SNL become an outlet for Fox News propaganda?

So earlier in the day I saw a post about this skit some website or another suggesting that it was great.

I did not read the whole thing because I didn't want the skit to be spoiled before I had a chance to see it. (#Alaskaproblems.)

But as I'm watching the damn thing I kept shaking my head and saying out loud, "WTF? That's not what happened at all!"

Think Progress noticed the same thing:  

“BILL: And if I pass the legislative test, then I wind up on the President’s desk… 

BOY: President Obama what’s the big idea? That bill was trying to become a law.” 

In the sketch, once the bill reaches Obama’s desk, he pushes the bill down the steps. But this is the opposite of what actually happened. Obama was desperate to see an immigration bill — of virtually any type — cross his desk. In May 2013, he reached a tentative deal with a bipartisan group of House lawmakers, which would have been substantially more conservative than the Senate bill. It was ultimately rejected by Republican House leadership. 

“BILL: Don’t you have to go through Congress at some point? 

EXECUTIVE ORDER: Oh that’s adorable, you still think that’s how government works.” 

The implication here is that presidents before Obama didn’t use executive action for major policy areas. In fact, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan both used executive orders to protect undocumented immigrants. In 1989, Bush’s order protected about 40% of the undocumented population, roughly the same percentage as Obama’s order.

Think Progress ends the article by saying that SNL is under no obligation to get their facts right in order to do parody, but I disagree with that.

Maybe back in the 70's SNL could be a little sloppy, and get by with it because their viewers not nearly as well informed as viewers today. And in a world where they are competing with brilliant satirists like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and HBO's John Oliver, they need to cross their fucking 't's" and dot their fucking "i's."

Do you know how you know when you have really screwed the pooch while presenting a political parody? When freaking Ted Cruz is quoting you while attacking the President, that's how.

I have been pretty underwhelmed with SNL this season, but I thought I would give them a chance to his their stride.

Yeah well forget that shit now. I am done with them.

Bill Cosby finally responds to allegations of sexually assaulting numerous women in his past. Well sort of.

Courtesy of Deadline:

Addressing reports of the assertions by several women that they had been drugged and sexually assaulted by him, Cosby told a Florida Today reporter backstage, “I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos. People should fact check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.” Cosby did not comment on the allegations during his show.

Well the facts say this:  

Sixteen women have publicly stated that Cosby, now 77, sexually assaulted them, with 12 saying he drugged them first and another saying he tried to drug her. The Washington Post has interviewed five of those women, including a former Playboy Playmate who has never spoken publicly about her allegations. The women agreed to speak on the record and to have their identities revealed. The Post also has reviewed court records that shed light on the accusations of a former director of women’s basketball operations at Temple University who assembled 13 “Jane Doe” accusers in 2005 to testify on her behalf about their allegations against Cosby. 

The accusations, some of which Cosby has denied and others he has declined to discuss, span the arc of the comedy legend’s career, from his pioneering years as the first black star of a network television drama in 1965 to the mid-2000s, when Cosby was firmly entrenched as an elder statesman of the entertainment industry, a scolding public conscience of the African American community and a philanthropist. They also span a monumental generational shift in perceptions — from the sexually unrestrained ’60s to an era when the idea of date rape is well understood.

Bill Cosby is a well educated man, so you would think that he would know that the "Innuendo" means:  

a statement which indirectly suggests that someone has done something immoral, improper, etc.

What is listed above are not innuendos, they are accusations. Most of them from women who have nothing to gain by making them, and THAT'S a fact. 

Cosby attitude about this seem to be the same ones that allowed him to do this in the first place.

He thinks of himself as untouchable, and thinks of the women he was abused as temporary playthings that should simply go away and know their place when he has no further use for them.

And if there is a need for more facts, then this former NBC employee has plenty to spare:

“He had everybody fooled,” said Scotti in an exclusive interview with the Daily News. “Nobody suspected.”

Boy, ain't that the truth.

Wonkette has another Sarah Palin video for you. I think you will find this one familiar.

Now some of you have already see this because I linked to it on Friday, and of course we have already spent some time mocking it.

However when it comes to mocking Wonkette certainly sets the standard: 

On this week’s installment of The Sarah Palin Fartknocker Report, presented by Fartknocker, Governor Quitterpants looks right into the camera and argues with herself for six minutes. Democracy is good, Palin says, and since the Republicans won in 2014, the will of the voters must be respected. In 2012, however, when Barack Obama became the first president since Eisenhower to win at least 50% of the national vote in successive elections — well, that didn’t count. Not in the same way, anyhow. The voters did not vote to make Barack Obama king in 2012; instead, they voted to make Republicans king in 2014. 

"He’s rejecting our democratic system, he’s turnin’ it into the Democrat system, big D, Democrat system. Failed policies. And he’s placing our nation in grave danger. 

In 2012, voters reelected President Obama, but they did not make him king. Yeah, they reelected President Obama, and I say quite often in some speeches that I give that, oh, ‘The era of Obama is almost over,’ got two more years, right, soon? It’ll be over. And we’ll survive this president — the question is, Can we survive the people who voted for him twice?"

Unlike us the Fartknocker Report did not focus so much on the fact that Palin suggested that Americans who voted for the President were something the country needed to survive, and instead focused on the fact that Palin did not choose to hide this video behind a paywall, like many of her most frequent helpings of batshit crazy word salad:  

People might think that Palin’s just trying to get her message out to as many people as possible, that personal profit doesn’t matter to her, but those people make us laugh and laugh and laugh, oh how they make us laugh. This self-inflicted breach of the mighty Palin paywall coincides with the Sarah Palin Channel offering a new, cleaner layout. Some of our very most favorite features, like the vocabulary building Word of the Day, are now buried at the bottom of the page (Today’s word is “edify: (v.) to instruct or benefit, (v.) particularly in relation to intellectual or spiritual matters; to uplift.”). 

New look, new freemium approach to content? She’s gotta be losing subscribers…right? Please, please let her be losing subscribers, so this can end. 

I completely agree with Wonkette that putting this video on Facebook rather than the Sarah Palin Channel, does indeed seem to indicate that she knows full well that hardly anybody will see it, or comment on it, while it is tucked behind the SPC paywall. And that means she is undoubtedly losing subscribers which is really saying something since as far as we can tell there were not that many in the first place.

And not to pat myself on the back with too much gusto, but I did kind of predict this all along: 

Will it actually be successful however? I seriously doubt it.

Of course you don't exactly need to be Nostradamus to call this one.

That is why Palin has now gone from this.

To this.

I recently heard from our old friend Mercede Johnston who wanted to know id she was just seeing a bad picture, or if Sarah Palin's looks had actually faded that badly.

I think you know how I answered her.

Maryland city council member will not take oath of office on Bible. "I'm not upholding the teachings of the Bible."

Courtesy of The Frederick News-Post:  

On Dec. 1, Jessica Fitzwater will raise her right hand and take the same oath of office as her fellow incoming council members. 

But there will be one difference in her pledge before friends, family and elected officials: The book under her left hand will not be the Bible. 

Fitzwater, who is Jewish, said she's not interested in replacing the Bible with a Torah. Instead, she is thinking of taking the oath on the Frederick County charter or some other government document that will represent her commitment to public service. 

"I think it's more appropriate to swear my oath on something I will be upholding. I'm not upholding the teachings of the Bible. I'm upholding the charter or the Constitution," said Fitzwater, who will represent Council District 4. 

Fitzwater said she has always supported the separation of church and state but only recently resolved on taking her oath of office on a nonreligious document.

I think I have a new political hero.

If only more politicians would make this choices, and let their constituents know that they are rational people, who will make decisions based on the rule of law, and not the superstitions of man, I think the world would be a far, far better place.

Indianapolis Star runs racially insensitive comic, responds to criticism by removing character's mustache, before finally pulling the entire comic and apologizing for it.

Courtesy of Raw Story:  

Responding to criticism that a cartoon depicting undocumented immigrants coming through a window to share Thanksgiving dinner with a white family was racist, an Indiana newspaper edited out the stereotyped housebreaker’s mustache, ostensibly to make the cartoon seem less racist. 

The Indianapolis Star ran the cartoon by editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel showing a family coming in through the window to share in the holiday meal, with the house owner announcing to his family and guests, “Thanks to the president’s immigration order we’ll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving.”

In the original version up above the male character has a ball cap over his eyes and a rather prominent mustache, which suggest to many a Hispanic stereotype. After being mocked on Twitter the newspaper decided the best course was to remove the offending mustache.

See? All better.

Yeah, except it WASN'T all better and the outrage continued until the executive editor responded with this: 

On Friday, we posted a Gary Varvel cartoon at that offended a wide group of readers. 

Many of them labeled it as racist. Gary did not intend to be racially insensitive in his attempt to express his strong views about President Barack Obama's decision to temporarily prevent the deportation of millions of immigrants living and working illegally in the United States. 

But we erred in publishing it.

Gee, ya think?

My favorite part of this story is that they really believed that the mustache was the problem, and not the showing of dark haired, clearly Hispanic, people invading the home of white people uninvited.

Which of course is exactly the kind of thing that fans the flames of racial hatred in this country.

New poll shows that liberals want Elizabeth Warren for their 2016 presidential candidate over Hillary Clinton by double digits. Which really should come as no surprise to anyone.

Courtesy of CNN:  

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- not Hillary Clinton -- is the top progressive choice for president in 2016, according to a new poll. 

In fact, Clinton doesn't even make second place. Forty two percent of respondents favor Warren, and Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders also edges out Clinton with 24% compared to her 23%, according to results from the 2016 Presidential Pulse Poll commissioned by progressive grassroots organization Democracy for America.

Okay now before everybody gets their hemp panties in a twist, please remember that this poll was conducted by Democracy for America, which is to liberal politics what the Tea Party Express is to conservative politics.

I am in total agreement that Elizabeth Warren would make an amazing candidate in 2016, but the facts are that she does not want the job. (At least not yet.)

And though I adore Bernie Sanders, let's face it on TV he often looks like somebody woke your grandfather up from his nap and stuck a microphone in his face.

He is great on the politics, but the packaging might be a problem. (Yes I know it is not supposed to be a beauty contest, but there is a reason the Republicans chose Mitt Romney and it is not due to his mastery of the facts.)

I think, to be honest, that there is no real doubt that Hillary is going to be the candidate whether she is the liberal's first choice or not.  And let's face it, they will turn out to vote for her, no problem.

Now in my favorite political fantasy she invites Warren to join her on the ticket. But at this point I don't know if that is feasible or not.

If it were to happen, I would say that the turn out may far exceed the turnout for Barack Obama in the 2008 election, and it would quite literally cause many Republicans to soil themselves in response.

Republicans pass bill that would bar scientists from providing testimony to the EPA on their own research. But don't worry, it's still okay for corporations to have THEIR "experts" provide input.

Courtesy of Salon:  

H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations. 

The bill is being framed as a play for transparency: Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, argued that the board’s current structure is problematic because it “excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups.” The inclusion of industry experts, he said, would right this injustice. 

But the White House, which threatened to veto the bill, said it would “negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB.” 

In what might be the most ridiculous aspect of the whole thing, the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in “advisory activities” that either directly or indirectly involve their own work. In case that wasn’t clear: experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research — the bizarre assumption, apparently, being that having conducted peer-reviewed studies on a topic would constitute a conflict of interest. “In other words,” wrote Union of Concerned Scientists director Andrew A. Rosenberg in an editorial for RollCall, “academic scientists who know the most about a subject can’t weigh in, but experts paid by corporations who want to block regulations can.”

Obviously the President is going to veto this, but it certainly paints a frightening picture of what might happen if the Republicans manage to get a veto proof majority, or somehow get a Republican into the White House.

They aren't even being covert about these kids of things anymore, or trying to hide the fact that they are anti-science and in the pockets of big business.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bill Maher gives some advice on saving Christmas. And it is INFINITELY better than that Kirk Cameron movie.

Okay that was pretty funny.

And I am almost sold on Thankshallowistmas.

Sounds like a hell of a good holiday, almost up there with Festivus.

Writing Sarah Palin satire is an exercise in futility, since she is essentially a walking talking parody of herself already.

Okay I feel like I need to address this since it is now getting a little out of hand.

The Daily Currant wrote a piece in which they attribute these words to Sarah Palin: 

“If I were Obama I’d put all 11 million of these folks on boats and send them back to Mexico,” she opined. “The liberal media says it’s impossible to deport that many people. But I say we can do it if we have enough ships. 

“Let’s commandeer all the cruise ships, all the fishing vessels and all the yachts those fat cat Obama donors own. And then let’s pack ‘em full of illegals and send these people on a one-way cruise to Mexico City. 

“The long voyage back across the Mexican Ocean should give them plenty of time to think about how they shouldn’t be coming here to America and jeopardizing our freedom and prosperity by breaking our laws.”

Now the Daily Currant suggests that she said this during a Fox interview, so  right off the bat most of you should know that is impossible since we tend to cover those interviews here at IM. And let's face it, we would have been all over that if it were true.

Secondly you should always be a little skeptical when you think "You know that's even too crazy for her." Because chances are that yes it is probably too crazy for her.

And third by now you should all know that there are sites like the Daily Currant and the Onion out there that brilliantly make up these stories for our entertainment, and that they should NOT be taken seriously.

In fact here is a list that you can refer to in the future to keep from being fooled again.

Now before any of you start to feel embarrassed that you were suckered let me assure you that it has happened to me before as well. And there are plenty of news outlets, like Fox and Breitbart, that still get punked with some frequency.

For this one in particular I received at least a dozen e-mails and comments excitedly pointing to the article. And that includes one from my daughter last night, which simply said "Did you hear what Sarah Palin said yesterday?"

Of course that could have been anything, but it turned out to be this article which all of her friends were buzzing about.

And that's really the point right? Getting buzz and fishing for clicks.

However it makes what I do all the more challenging. Because when I dig up an actual crazy fact about Sarah Palin it is immediately in competition for attention with all of these fake crazy "facts" about Sarah Palin.

So let's do us all a favor and try to double check sources before sharing some of this stuff on Facebook Twitter, or here at IM.

Let me end this by thanking you for your support, and the many legitimate links that you DO send my direction. It makes this job a whole lot easier as I certainly don't have enough time to scour the internet effectively on my own. 

The Smithsonian compiles list of the "100 most Significant Americans." Both George W. Bush and Sarah Palin make the list, but the first African American President does not.

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

This week, Smithsonian magazine asked its readers, “How much does Thomas Paine matter? More than Harriet Beecher Stowe? Less than Elvis? On a par with Dwight Eisenhower?” 

But curiously, the in-house magazine for the Smithsonian Institution decided that George W. Bush is a more “significant” figure in U.S. history than the country’s first Black president, Barack Obama, who did not make the list. 

Bush appears on the magazine’s list of the “100 most significant Americans,” released in this week’s issue. According to Smithsonian, it put together the list by considering data compiled by Google engineer Charles B. Ward and Steven Skiena, a professor of computer science at Stony Brook University. 

But instead of relying simply on statistics to determine the result, the magazine said it split Skiena and Ward’s results into several categories of 10 Americans apiece, then made its own determinations of who fit the bill. 

Other notable entries included former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) in the list of “First Women,” Hulk Hogan in the “Athletes” category, as well as Cotton Mather, who was a key figure behind the Salem Witch Trials, under “Religious Figures.”

So there you have it. According to the Smithsonian a with hunter, a witch, and a guy who pretends to wrestle on TV are more significant than the first black man to be President of the United States of America.

I guess ending wars, fixing the economy, and bringing prosperity back to this country is simply not as significant as lying the country into those wars, destroying the economy, and making the word hate America, right?

Here is the full list, just to fan your outrage:

Before he leaves the Senate Alaska's Mark Begich would like to do something about those SuperPAC robo-calls.

Courtesy of The Hill:

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is taking a departing shot at super-PACs following his defeat in the Alaska Senate race. 

 Begich introduced legislation Thursday that would add super-PACs and other outside groups to the list of groups that must comply with the National Do Not Call Registry. 

His legislation, titled The Do Not Disturb Act, would also keep people on the list from receiving robocalls and "push polls," which are surveys that attempt to get a desired result with leading questions. 

"I have long been an advocate for protecting Alaskans’ privacy and for limiting the ability of outside groups to spend endless amounts of money on our elections,” said Begich, a member of the Commerce Committee. 

“I heard from Alaskans all across the state during the campaign, and enough is enough. My bill will allow individuals to opt out of receiving these sorts of pestering phone calls from super-PACs and similar groups,” he added. 

If Begich is successful this may be the most impactful, and welcome, legislation that he has ever introduced.

As I have mentioned before the number of calls I received from pollsters, recorded campaign messages, and other interested parties, was completely overwhelming.

I quite literally hated the sound of my phone ringing. It seemed like it was never a call that I wanted to take.

Personally I think this is a good step, but I would also like to see something done about the advertisements that pop up on every YouTube video that I tried to watch this last few months, and the avalanche of television advertising that seemed to use up every second of commercial airtime since August.

And it is no wonder that Begich is the one to spearhead this effort.

I think it is pretty clear that he lost this race solely due to the efforts of outside groups, and that without the interference of the folks like Karl Rove and the Koch brothers he would have almost certainly retained his Senate seat.

Instead we are stuck with a political whore bought and paid for with corporate money, who has little interest in anything that Alaskans need or want, and is solely focused on pleasing his masters.

Republican led House investigative committee finds there is no Benghazi scandal. Gee, really?

Courtesy of Mother Jones:

 The House Select Intelligence Committee—controlled by Republicans—has been investigating the Benghazi attacks in minute detail for two years. Today, with the midterm elections safely past, they issued their findings. Their exoneration of the White House was sweeping and nearly absolute. So sweeping that I want to quote directly from the report's summary, rather than paraphrasing it. Here it is: 

The Committee first concludes that the CIA ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi....Appropriate U.S. personnel made reasonable tactical decisions that night, and the Committee found no evidence that there was either a stand down order or a denial of available air support.... 

Second, the Committee finds that there was no intelligence failure prior to the attacks. In the months prior, the IC provided intelligence about previous attacks and the increased threat environment in Benghazi, but the IC did not have specific, tactical warning of the September 11 attacks. 

Third, the Committee finds that a mixed group of individuals, including those affiliated with Al Qa'ida, participated in the attacks.... 

Fourth, the Committee concludes that after the attacks, the early intelligence assessments and the Administration's initial public narrative on the causes and motivations for the attacks were not fully accurate....There was no protest. The CIA only changed its initial assessment about a protest on September 24, 2012, when closed caption television footage became available on September 18, 2012 (two days after Ambassador Susan Rice spoke).... 

Fifth, the Committee finds that the process used to generate the talking points HPSCI asked for—and which were used for Ambassador Rice's public appearances—was flawed.... 

Finally, the Committee found no evidence that any officer was intimidated, wrongly forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement or otherwise kept from speaking to Congress, or polygraphed because of their presence in Benghazi. The Committee also found no evidence that the CIA conducted unauthorized activities in Benghazi and no evidence that the IC shipped arms to Syria. 

It's hard to exaggerate just how remarkable this document is. It's not that the committee found nothing to criticize. They did. The State Department facility in Benghazi had inadequate security. Some of the early intelligence after the attacks was inaccurate. The CIA should have given more weight to eyewitnesses on the ground. 

But those are routine after-action critiques, ones that were fully acknowledged by the very first investigations. Beyond that, every single conspiracy theory—without exception—was conclusively debunked. There was no stand down order. The tactical response was both reasonable and effective under the circumstances. The CIA was not shipping arms from Libya to Syria. Both CIA and State received all military support that was available. The talking points after the attack were fashioned by the intelligence community, not the White House. Susan Rice followed these talking points in her Sunday show appearances, and where she was wrong, it was only because the intelligence community had made incorrect assessments. Nobody was punitively reassigned or polygraphed or otherwise intimidated to prevent them from testifying to Congress.

Okay does anybody else feel that this should be national news on ALL cable and network news outlets? Including Fox?

And not only that I feel that the Republicans should also apologize to President Obama and Hillary Clinton for essentially accusing them of allowing Americans to die and treason.

Of course that would never happen. But it should.

So I guess the Republicans will now simply shift their focus to attacking Obamacare again and suing the President for doing his job.

Different shit, same bunch of assholes.

Former director of a Memphis anti-gay ministry got gay married last weekend. Because, you know progress.

Courtesy of Memphis Flier:  

John Smid, the former director of Memphis-based ex-gay ministry Love In Action, has announced his marriage to partner Larry McQueen. The two married in Oklahoma on Sunday, November 16th. 

Smid has been living as an out gay man for several years now, and he's been in a relationship with McQueen for one year. Gay marriage just became legal in Oklahoma last month. The couple live in Paris, Texas, where Smid moved from his Memphis home in the summer of 2013.

You know we talk all the time about homophobic people secretly being closeted gays, and I don't think I have ever seen a better example of that.

All I can say is that it is awesome that finally this man gets to live his life the way he wants, and marry the person that he loves, and the fact that it happened in freaking Oklahoma of all places is just icing on the cake. 

Here's a little perspective on the whole undocumented immigrant debate.

Of course perhaps it's just that the current descendants of the immigrants pictured above are afraid that the same thing will happen to them that happened to the Americans who offered food and friendship instead of imprisonment and aggression.