Kitty Kitty Clickbait Christ


Religious clickbait.

A couple of things here.

First, stop with the clickbait, people. Sure, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and all that. A time and place for everything, you know? But even longtime friends, not just the newly-agreed Facebook friends, do this to each other, and it has to stop.

To wit, there is some video going around of some dude absolutely mangling Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, and doing so for the honor of Christ.

Okay, that’s not fair. I haven’t watched the video. And I won’t.

Why? Because when people send you a link via social media and instead of the actual content they’re sending you to an advert page with more clickbait for the website, that’s simply it. Strike one, and this particular form of stupid shit is out.

Which in turn brings us to stupid shit.

You know how every year we hear FOX News and a bunch of pastors reeling under the magnitude of their own perceived inadequacy complaining each year about a “War on Christmas”? Okay, so here’s the deal: To the one, it’s not a “War on Christmas” if people simply aren’t giving one religion a privileged place in our society and laws over another, and so far neither the FOX News crowd nor the self-loathing religious activists are prepared to indict the Bill of Rights as a conspirator to this so-called “War on Christmas”.

To the other, Christians need to stop declaring war on good taste.

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Today in Talking Points: Special Valentine’s Day edition


A special Valentine’s Day edition of Today in Talking Points:

    Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire celebrates after signing marriage equality into state law.  February 13, 2012.  Photo by J. Trujillo/SeattlePI.com

  • Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire signed marriage equality into law on Monday. The Evergreen State is the seventh to recognize and allow gay marriage.
  • The Washington Secretary of State’s Office has revised its designation of the ballot referendum against marriage equality after mistakenly assigning it a number already used.
  • Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum faced protests as he denounced Washington’s marriage equality law during an appearance in Tacoma.
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is next up in the gay marriage debate. He intends to veto a bill establishing gay marriage in the Garden State, despite public opinion in favor.
  • Abbie Goldberg and Katherine A. Kuvalanka published an article on marriage equality for the Journal of Marriage and Family. Much of the February issue of JMF is dedicated to considering marriage.
  • Columnist and poet Michael Kindt considers one of the studies published in the February JMF, about marriage and cohabitation.
  • What is more romantic on Valentine’s Day than rape? Well, okay, that might seem a bit crude, but FOX News commentator Liz Trotta is suffering the slings and arrows of politics and general decency after arguing that women entering the military should expect to be sexually assaulted.
  • Meanwhile, in Uganda, one Simon Lokodo, the Minister for Ethics and Integrity, raided a gay rights workshop in Entebbe. Workshop organizer Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera reportedly escaped the raid and is still at large. Ugandan MPs are once again trying to increase legal penalties for being homosexual, though the death penalty is expected to be dropped from the bill.
  • Two Catholic priests in Colombia are dead after allegedly hiring their own hitmen. Reports suggest one of the priests had contracted HIV, but relatives insist that the murders were part of an armed roberry, and Frs. Richard Piffano and Rafael Reatiga were not involved in a homosexual relationship.

How fal-awful?


Bill O'ReillyOne of the problems with the infotainment industry sector known as cable news is that it is, well, entertaining. Even when they’re not trying to be. To wit, during post-Irene coverage, a CNN anchor whose name escapes me, with a turd-under-the-nose blueblood sort of posture and delivery, was trying to cover first the people who were dumb enough to stay on outlying islands to the result that 2,500 of them are without road access to the mainland for perhaps two weeks. And then he tried to manage an interview with a woman who was among twenty-three stranded in a rural area of New York. The whole sequence was macabre.

But then there are the deliberate entertainers, the punditry hosts who raised FOX News to dominance or transformed the inept MSNBC into a GOP fundraising bogeyman. The persistent, even seemingly teflon Keith Olbermann has landed on his feet at Al Gore’s network, Current, with a version of Countdown that sounds much the same, and only looks any different as a matter of budget. And yes, we know Keith is politically active and wears his bias on his sleeve. Yes, we know how conservatives loathe him. But it’s so much more fun when he tells the latest story of FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, himself a lightning rod of such comedic scale that you can’t write this kind of fiction. Mr. O’Reilly topped yesterday’s “Worst Persons in the World” list, and Olbermann clearly enjoyed the hell out of explaining the logic behind that:

You may recall years ago before he was fired from his syndicated radio show, that a caller mentioned my name to O’Reilly and he responded by saying that the caller’s name would then be turned over to Fox security, and soon he’d be receiving a little visit from the police. You may also recall there was a little problem with Bill and one of his producers, and his phone calls to her about three-ways and loofahs, and improbably about falafels.

Today, the two topics merged into one. This is going to be easier if I just read the first paragraph directly. Shall I?

“Last summer, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly came to believe that his wife was romantically involved with another man. Not just any man, but a police detective in the Long Island community they call home. So, O’Reilly did what any concerned husband would do, he pulled strings to get the police department’s internal affairs unit to investigate one of their own for messing with the wrong man’s lady.”

Wait, Internal Affairs investigated Mrs. O’Reilly’s alleged internal affair?

Gawker has identified the Nassau County Internal Affairs Unit detective actually assigned to investigate Billo’s alleged cuckolder. “The source provided contemporaneous e-mail traffic to support his account. He told me, ‘You’ll never guess what happened to me the other day. Do you know Bill O’Reilly?’ I got called into my boss’ office saying they wanted me to meet with these two PIs”—that would be Private Investigators—”working for O’Reilly to go over some information because a detective was having an affair with O’Reilly’s wife.”

He’ll turn this over to Fox Security! He’ll be receiving a little visit from the local authorities!

“The investigation was highly sensitive for two reasons, the source said. One, it was ordered directly by then-police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, and, two, O’Reilly was at the time considering making a major donation to the Nassau County Police Department Foundation, a private, not-for-profit foundation Mulvey helped found in 2009 to raise money for construction of a planned $48 million police training facility at Nassau Community College. These internal affairs cops were on the case at the behest of Mulvey in order to get O’Reilly’s funds,” the source said.

Oh, great. So now it’s not trying to get the cops to get a cop to stop an alleged affair with Mrs. O’Reilly. It’s trying to get the cops to stop a cop to stop an alleged affair with Mrs. O’Reilly, in exchange for donations to the policemen’s charity. So where’s the evidence?

Unfortunately Gawker not only has records of Mrs. Billo buying her own house down the street from the family home, and being removed as a director of the O’Reilly Family Foundation, but the Nassau Police Commissioner kind of confirmed the investigation when he told them, “I don’t know if the investigation is ongoing or concluded,” Mulvey said, “so I wouldn’t comment.” You just did.

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Old Navy can stick it up its booty


Two words: Old Navy.

Two more words: “Booty Reader“.

See, this is what the censors of the 1980s Music Wars never figured out. The advert is not offensive because it includes fortune telling. It is not offensive because it includes tight asses in tight jeans. Rather, it is offensive because it is ultimately stupid.

Many believe that there is no such thing as bad press, and perhaps in the case of Old Navy, the axiom still holds true. For my part, though, seeing an advert like that does not inspire me to shop at Old Navy. Indeed, it reminds me why nobody should ever shop there, for anything, for anyone, or for any reason.

Old Navy can hang itself, for all I care. If it went away tomorrow, the only reason I would notice would be that the world suddenly and mysteriously got better. As such, it is in a class not of its own, but alongside FOX News, Levi Johnston, and Chevrolet. That is, I don’t attend any of these things, but I would probably notice when their worthless spectres finally disappeared from the world.

Step away from the goddamn booty, indeed.

World Extreme Blogfighting


And now for something completely … uh … yeah.

Or maybe I could do that mixed martial arts bit. Michael Buffer. “It’s tiiiiiime!” Except I don’t have the voice for it. Nor the flair. Nor the bling, now that I stop to think about it. And, frankly, watching members of the journalistic community beat each other bloody is only mildly fun, like making crabs fight in sand pits on the beach without the pervasive sense of guilt.

Let me state at the outset, then, that I like Greenwald. If I walked into a bar and found Glenn Greenwald and Joe Klein arguing, I would probably wonder what someone did to piss off Glenn. And then, of course, someone would whisper, “That’s Joe Klein!”

And I would say, “Well, that explains it.”

More than likely, someone else nearby would say, “Who’s Joe Klein?”

Not that they would know Glenn, either. This aspect of political journalism, while widely-enough attended to keep it going, is actually fairly obscure. Yes, FOX News may be the #1 cable news station, but it’s a cable news station. The top-rated cable news station averages a little under three and a half million viewers daily. An intriguing portion of that is composed of people who despise the network and keep tabs on what insanity its talking heads regularly offer. But some weeks I’ll watch four, maybe six hours of cable news. Some weeks I don’t see it at all. That’s more than most people—perhaps anyone—I know. And I don’t watch FOX.

By the time we get down to a blogbrawl between two generally unrecognizable people like Greenwald and Klein, the audience for such petty spats is relatively small. It is also vocal and very much interested, so we’ll start by accommodating that rabid sector of conservatism that, while it despises “quotas” or any such rules pertaining to those attributes born into a person, requires ideological quota parity before rewarding anyone with the respect of taking them remotely seriously. Or even bothering with the pretense.

So for the benefit of those who do not understand that one can be critical of a Republican, GOP cause, or conservative talking point without fellating Nancy Pelosi, I’ll start with a quota rap against Glenn:

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Insanity? Terrorism? Senility? Murder.


In a video game, a conspiracy-theorist radio host asks if his callers could please just make sense.

In life, though, I wonder the same thing about, well, yeah ….

In von Brunn’s car outside the museum, authorities found a handwritten note, according to the affidavit: “You want my weapons — this is how you’ll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Obama created the Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do.” There were other anti-Semitic rants, followed by: “The 1st Amendment is aborgated — henceforth.”

There is actually a lot to consider about the Holocaust Museum shooting. But while some would make the hay about the obvious—that the DHS report on right-wing extremists might well have been accurate, for instance, or connecting angry, right-wing talk show rhetoric to extremist violence—there is something else, perhaps more subtle, that begs notice.

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Seeking solidarity: The pregnancy pact


What? The latest trend, maybe?

When I was in college, my girlfriend told me about how parents in her high school had worried that Basic Instinct might make their daughters turn lesbian. And, of course, in a small town with nothing for the kids to do, apparently it seemed like a good idea. And the boyfriends, she said, didn’t seem to mind. They were hoping to get some extra action.

Ah, such halcyon days, when girls sharing orgasms was something for parents to worry about. We might wonder if parents in Gloucester, Massachusetts are wishing that was their concern.

Right. Kathleen Kingsbury broke the story for Time:

As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there’s been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town. School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, “some girls seemed more upset when they weren’t pregnant than when they were,” Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. “We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy,” the principal says, shaking his head.

Okay. Right. Did you catch that?
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