Keith Olbermann Has Been Fired


The firing of Keith Olbermann shouldn't shock me, but it does anyway. As much as I agree with him, he is, literally, an unemployable person.

Is Eliot Spitzer the answer? Really?

I think I'm having a harder time with the idea that he is the person they want to build a network around than the firing of Keith Olbermann.

The Scum of the Earth Hang Out on The Daily Caller


It doesn't take much to bring out the mouth-breathers at The Daily Caller, which is aiming to replace Fox News and the Politico as the go-to site for crazed, racist commentary.

They don't even bother to try to be anonymous about this stuff anymore, do they?

Keep Your Complaints Off Twitter, Mr. Ambassador


America's ambassador in Russia, Michael McFaul, can't help himself.

Using Twitter to lodge complaints about the host nation is not a good sign of diplomatic judgment. This leads me to believe that McFaul (who will be renamed McFail before too long) will end up either deleting his Twitter account or back in the United States, fresh out of a job and wondering why he donated all of that money to the Democratic Party in the first place.

The State Department employee in charge over in Moscow should either get control of Ambassador McFaul or have someone from State straighten him out. The Russians can do whatever they want in their own country. If their are leaks in the embassy, plugging them will certainly be a step in the right direction. But, someone who uses social media to blast the host nation isn't exactly what we need right now.

The Last Stand of Newt Gingrich


The end arrived about a month ago, but Newt Gingrich wasn't having any of it.

The end of his political career was the day when he ended up humiliated, beaten, and left by the side of the road in one of the states that he thought he was going to win. I have no idea which one that was--there were so many of them, you see.

Gingrich will not bow out because he actually hates the men running against him. He is fueled by hate, and hate alone, for a world that doesn't see how much smarter and handsomer he is than the men running for the Presidency. He is convinced of his brilliance in the way that most people are convinced that their first name really is their first name. He is a delusional hack, a shameless grifter, and a man who doesn't understand rejection.

The Republican Party, what little of it has actually voted or lined up to pick a person to run against President Obama, has rejected Gingrich and he cannot abide this fact. But, being a wealthy man with little chance of obtaining a cash flow producing position to replace the money he has had to spend on his vanity run for higher office because nobody likes him or wants to have anything to do with him beyond shaking his hand and easing away from him into the crowd, he had to cut loose some dead wood and cut costs this week.

It won't save him. He was born without self-awareness. He is doomed, but he will be the last person to get that when they read off the roll call of the doomed over the loudspeakers.
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A Generic Under Construction Notice

I don't remember how I came across this image, but I copied it and kept it because I think it entertains while giving bad news.

When you have to give your customers a bad piece of news (we're down! our site is under maintenance! we're dead in the water!), at least make it relevant so that the experience is a little more than an impersonal kiss off.

The Twitter Fail Whale is probably the best example of this; I don't know if that directly inspired Spiceworks to come up with this image, but it does the job very nicely.

Augusta National Remains a National Disgrace

When the outrage rose to a crescendo several years ago, Augusta National survived the onslaught. This was very similar to the way that Rush Limbaugh survived numerous scandals and slips of the tongue.

I think Augusta National is in for a tough year, and women are going to go after them, and soon. Besides, the old boys in Augusta are dying off, and fast.
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Think of the Lives Destroyed by Foxwoods Casino



Legalized gambling is, essentially, a means by which the proprietor can print their own money. It is nothing less than a guaranteed cash cow. Except when people fail to understand that gambling is a bubble, not a constant line going upwards. The Foxwoods bubble has peaked, and now revenues are going down. Couple all of that with extremely poor decisions and heavy borrowing against future receipts, and you have no way out of the dive. As soon as the recession hit, they knew their gambling receipts were going to flatten. But they didn't stop trying to expand and they didn't stop living as if revenues were never going to fall.

Later in this piece, someone brings up the idea of being "realistic" members of our society. If you've been living off the fantasy that legalized gambling is a good idea, you are going to have to come back to reality.
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There Is No Broccoli Mandate

Thanks to our addiction to foreign oil and government subsidies, we really do have a corn mandate in this country. John Cole is right--our politics are getting dumber by the second.

When will conservatives step up their game and admit that they love big government, big spending, big subsidies, and big campaign donations? Don't hold your breath.

Tiger Woods Can't Catch a Break


Fresh off a badly needed win, Tiger Woods now has to deal with the fact that three of the women with whom he had intercourse are now going to make a movie about him and target the release for Masters Week.

Here's a guy who has to be asking himself, Lord, why can't I just put all of this behind me?

Jennifer Lawrence Is On the Cover of Rolling Stone


There's a new cover on Rolling Stone magazine, and it features a photo of Jennifer Lawrence from The Hunger Games.

It's actually very provocative, and I am wondering if they will censor it like they censored the Jessica Simpson cover. And, yes, I do mean because Lawrence is wearing a see-through shirt. Although, in some parts of America, the words "kick-ass" are enough to give the blue hairs the vapors.
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Dennis Rodman is Broke and Suffering From Illness

Dennis Rodman's life is spinning out of control. After appearing in court, and avoiding jail time for his failure to make child support payments, Rodman's "advisors" are trying to help him restructure his life.

This speaks to a need to create an annuity program (also mentioned by Atrios) for professional athletes. It is simply impossible to understand how anyone payed tens of millions of dollars could possibly be broke, but that is becoming the normal situation for professional athletes from all walks of life. Setting aside a portion of contract salary for an annuity makes total sense, provided the annuity cannot be sold off.

What is hurting Rodman is the fact that he had to cash out his NBA retirement for pennies on the dollar; what should be keeping him afloat right now is, essentially, gone. He didn't do that because of greed. He did it because he was behind in his taxes. And taxes are what is hurting Rodman in the cash flow department. Poor management has left him with a string of unpaid tax bills. That sort of thing can undermine any effort to make good on obligations.

Couple all of that with Rodman's alcohol problems and you can see where this sad story is headed.

It's an Astronomical Marker



While there's quite a bit of hemming and hawing here, I think that the devotion to academic and scientific caution is admirable:

The monolith is located at a ridge called Gardom's Edge in the Peak District National Park near Manchester, an area that shows evidence of human occupation extending far back though its history. Other ancient monuments such as Bronze Age roundhouses and a late Neolithic enclosure have been found nearby. 
The seemingly astronomical monolith is thought to have been erected by Neolithic people around 2000 B.C. 
"The stone would have been an ideal marker for a social arena for seasonal gatherings," Brown said. "It's not a sundial in the sense that people would have used it to determine an exact time. We think that it was set in position to give a symbolic meaning to its location, a bit like the way that some religious buildings are aligned in a specific direction for symbolic reasons." 
The researchers used a 3D computer model to analyze how the stone would have been illuminated throughout the different seasons four millennia ago, given that the tilt of Earth's axis has changed over time. 
Their model showed that the slanted side of the stone would remain in permanent shadow during the winter, while it would have been illuminated only in the morning and afternoon during most of the summer. At midsummer, the sun would have lit the stone brightly all day.

But, please. It is obviously a totally cool astronomical marker. The position of the sun during the seasons of the year was of critical importance to neolithic people. How is this even debated anymore?
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Stamping Out Crime in Germany


The Germans don't much care if you are outraged by this; in fact, they have moved on. Why can't the rest of the world? Institutionalized racism makes sense when your entire country is being flooded with young people of color. The last vestiges of a Germany that was, essentially, white and decidedly against a multi-cultural outlook are dying off anyway.

If you go out in modern Germany, you do see people from, literally, every walk of life living here. You see people who are going about their business, trying to live their lives, and so you end up feeling bad for the idea that there is resistance to social justice and treating everyone the same. That should be the goal of every society--respect for individuals, treating people equally, and standing against racism should be the hallmarks of an enlightened society.

We have our own issues with this in the United States; this is why it is hard for an American to look down on the Germans who are doing this because they perceive that there is a crime problem. In point of fact, crime is almost non-existent in large parts of Germany. It is a low crime society. There are, however, severe problems in some of the major cities and this is why the police want this tool. They want to be able to deal with crime as if it is a nail, and they are the hammer, intent on hammering everything until there is no more crime. So, it's not enough to point to the fact that this is a very safe place to live. To the Germans, any crime is evidence of a problem that must be stamped out.

The problem is, no one does a better job of this stamping thing than the Germans, so you have to watch and see how far they take this.

Graphic Design and Legos

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If you stare at it long enough, you'll eventually get it. The use of icons, simple images, and design meets Legos, and this is a great way to communicate through images and cultural references.

Erin Andrews Has Abandoned Google+

Erin Andrews, Black and White
Celebrities abandon social media outlets all the time. This is not news. But, when I was checking statistics on the top Google+ users, I saw that Erin Andrews was very highly rated and had numerous followers (number one on Google+ is Britney Spears).

The problem is, Andrews hasn't updated her Google+ account since before Christmas, but that hasn't stopped the comments on her last post.


Some of those are pretty funny, but I think that if you are going to abandon social media, at least delete your account. There's nothing wrong with that.
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The Real Story of the Easter Bunny Doesn't Make Sense to Me


This arrives via Buzzfeed, and I suppose there are things in here that I can react to:
He Can’t Even Cover the Whole World! 
Say what you will about Santa Claus, but at least he’s delivering presents the world over. The shiftless Easter Bunny outsources egg and candy distribution in various parts of the globe. Swiss children have to make do with a cuckoo, rendering Easter no more special than a common clock. In various other cultures, kids have to be content with an Easter stork, fox, or rooster. 
He’s a German Sleeper Agent! 
The sneakiest spies lie low and work themselves into the fabric of a community before striking. By that standard, the Easter Bunny may well be the most successful German spy of all time. The suspicious bunny traces his roots back to a 16th-century German character named Osterhase. When German immigrants came to North America en masse in the 18th century, they brought their buddy Osterhase with them. Sure, he’s been here for hundreds of years now, but can we really trust him? 
He Might Not Be a Rabbit! 
He calls himself “the Easter Bunny,” but that name is at least half wrong. Osterhase translates into English as “the Easter Hare.” Despite what the puns in Bugs Bunny cartoons would have you believe, hares and rabbits aren’t the same thing. Hares are larger, haven’t been domesticated, and live in nests rather than underground. So this “Easter Bunny” changed his name upon arriving in this country? Sounds suspicious if you ask us. 
He’s Not Laying Any Eggs! 
Hare, rabbit … it doesn’t matter. Neither of these furry creatures lays eggs. How did this floppy-eared huckster experience such a Machiavellian rise to the top of the egg-delivery business? By relying on a combination of charm and virility. Rabbits and hares have been symbols of rebirth for centuries. Same with eggs. So when Germans started hiding Easter eggs for children in the 16th century, where better to stash them than in hares’ nests?
He Has Enemies in Australia!
 
Think bunnies are cute? Australians don’t. Rabbits aren’t native to the continent, but hunting enthusiasts introduced 24 imported specimens as quarry in the 1850s. Unfortunately, the rabbits procreated like, well, rabbits. By the turn of the 20th century, the adorable bunnies had become crop-destroying thorns in farmers’ sides. The situation became so dire that the province of Western Australia tried to enclose itself in a giant fence to stall illegal rabbit immigration. So, in the 1990s, Australians found a viable replacement: the bilby. 
Bilbies are endangered marsupials that share the Easter Bunny’s long ears and have the added bonus of respecting the nation’s valuable crops. Today, Australian kids celebrate Easter by munching on chocolate bilbies.
No, not really.
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A Reputation Has Been Rehabilitated


The British Royal Family has been completely rehabilitated in the eyes of the public. Ten years ago, they would have faced little else but scorn and the occasional polite nod. Now? They're rock stars.

Here, you have the Queen of England visiting commoners on their wedding day. Remarkable.

This Will Drive the Right Wingers Crazy


This is called pounding on the bully pulpit, and speaking to the American people in a very powerful way. This will also drive the racists crazy. Well, they're already, by definition, crazy, but still.

Depression


This is a nice informational page from the Food and Drug Administration of the United States Government. It may read a little too simply for some tastes, but it is effectively organized.

Depression

Cancel the Wingman and the Whole Dang Prom

What disciplinary action could they have taken against Mad Mike? He tweeted, relentlessly, and got one porn star to agree to go to prom with him. If anything, they should have given the boy a medal.

I mean, he's 18 years old. If he wants to take someone to prom, let him take someone to prom. Now? He's not going to need that wingman. He's going to need a date, preferably one that does not object to the skankification of his efforts to find a previous one.

And, yes. Skankification is a word. Look it up.
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Whitney Houston Said Cocaine Was a Hell of a Drug

Very sad.

Who Would Believe John Edwards?


There was a time when I might have defended John Edwards. Back when they were gunning for him, I simply could not believe that he was this stupid. I was as wrong as could be on that front. John Edwards has the kind of self-destructive hubris only the worst of our society can muster. What a shame.

Were it not for his past transgressions, this would be easy enough to defend him against. This would be the same nonsense that gets used against anyone who challenges the status quo and runs as a populist. This is how politicians are smeared and ruined. Where's the proof? Why are we finding out about this now?

Well, John Edwards turned out to be a man of extremely poor judgement who had a very high opinion of his ability to do whatever he wanted and get away with it. Think of the disaster the Democratic Party would have faced if he had actually become the nominee; think of how damaging it is that he was, in fact, the party's nominee for Vice President.

He can deny it all he wants; the problem is that Edwards has no credibility. There's no reason to believe him or defend him. He has used the worst judgement and the worst political instincts imaginable to end up being a has been and a never-was on the national scene. I hope he finds some sort of peace in his later years.
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The Fetishization of Lethal Force

Julian Sanchez wrote a post that got me thinking about a lot of things (I will confess to piling on a rather clueless Megan McArdle) that have to do with society and being justified in killing another human being.

We have an outright fetish for rectifying any slight with slaughter. We seem to have built a culture that has celebrated the revenge movie over the movie above all else. If you so much as look at me funny, you die, in other words. How awful we must seem to other cultures who would rather just cut off hands or poke out eyes or stone people and banish them for practicing witchcraft. In America, your greatest sin is usually either being fat or impoverished; God help you if you are fat and living in poverty. Now, factor in race and you have the makings of a situation where killing people takes on an entirely new set of societal problems.

I said on the comment thread that if the young African-American male who was executed in public by the Hispanic male who felt threatened by him and followed him like some latter-day Barney Fife had actually done the killing, he'd be in jail and no one would know his name. I think this is because of the fact that if you are black, you are not entitled to killing someone out of revenge in the same way someone of another race seems to be entitled to it. We have seen the racial consequences of the killing, and there are many (particularly on the Fox News website) who think that the young black man got what he had coming. Those same people would probably react in horror if he had defended himself and killed the man who was chasing him down.

The current culture feeds on being morally justified in killing someone else, provided you are the right kind of vigilante. The problem is, our laws are supporting this fetish when they should be applying justice and fairness wherever possible no matter what your race. If the law says that I can kill you because I feel threatened, then the law is wrong. I'm not justified in killing you unless I am certain you're going to try to kill me. That means, you would have to do something for me to justify this. Our various state legislatures have dispensed with that bit of common sense, and now we have to try to modify the law to account for the fact that human beings really shouldn't go on kill sprees over insults, perceived threats, and protecting property.

Sanchez rightly points out that you can defend yourself adequately without killing someone else.

The Fetishization of Lethal Force

Julian Sanchez wrote a post that got me thinking about a lot of things (I will confess to piling on a rather clueless Megan McArdle) that have to do with society and being justified in killing another human being.

We have an outright fetish for rectifying any slight with slaughter. We seem to have built a culture that has celebrated the revenge movie over the movie above all else. If you so much as look at me funny, you die, in other words. How awful we must seem to other cultures who would rather just cut off hands or poke out eyes or stone people and banish them for practicing witchcraft. In America, your greatest sin is usually either being fat or impoverished; God help you if you are fat and living in poverty. Now, factor in race and you have the makings of a situation where killing people takes on an entirely new set of societal problems.

I said on the comment thread that if the young African-American male who was executed in public by the Hispanic male who felt threatened by him and followed him like some latter-day Barney Fife had actually done the killing, he'd be in jail and no one would know his name. I think this is because of the fact that if you are black, you are not entitled to killing someone out of revenge in the same way someone of another race seems to be entitled to it. We have seen the racial consequences of the killing, and there are many (particularly on the Fox News website) who think that the young black man got what he had coming. Those same people would probably react in horror if he had defended himself and killed the man who was chasing him down.

The current culture feeds on being morally justified in killing someone else, provided you are the right kind of vigilante. The problem is, our laws are supporting this fetish when they should be applying justice and fairness wherever possible no matter what your race. If the law says that I can kill you because I feel threatened, then the law is wrong. I'm not justified in killing you unless I am certain you're going to try to kill me. That means, you would have to do something for me to justify this. Our various state legislatures have dispensed with that bit of common sense, and now we have to try to modify the law to account for the fact that human beings really shouldn't go on kill sprees over insults, perceived threats, and protecting property.

Sanchez rightly points out that you can defend yourself adequately without killing someone else.

Mad Mike Is Going to Need a Wingman


If Mad Mike can pull this off, his wingman better be ready for anything.

I wonder if his moms has taken away his Twitter account yet.

The Greatest Fail Ever


Via Balloon Juice, we have the reason why Jason Mattera is one of the greatest failures of our era, possibly ever. He's no journalist and he's no ethical citizen.

In this video, he trots out his old schtick again--misrepresenting himself as a fan so he can ambush a celebrity and catch their response on camera so that he can pass himself off as a champion of the truth.

But, there's something about this attempt that doesn't quite come off as being the ambush that he set out to obtain. In fact, it ends up becoming one of the greatest fails ever.

Mattera, you see, ends up ambushing a Bono impersonator.



QED.
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Lance Berkman is Right


The people who back the institution of Major League Baseball against any and all criticism are probably going to tear in Lance Berkman for stating the obvious.

They should shut up.

There is simply no other way to look at the sale of the Houston Astros--and the rebate that went with the sale--and their move to the American League. It was rife with fraud and paybacks. It was unethical. When will Congress eliminate baseball's anti-trust exemption? Which side of never will that happen on?

Bud Selig destroyed the sanctity of baseball (whatever that means anymore) when he tore the Milwaukee Brewers out of the American League and put them in the National League so that he could have a nostalgic moment for the club that used to play in Milwaukee before it was moved back in 1965.

Berkman will probably have people come after him, and so be it. When you speak truth to power in Major League Baseball, power always wins.

David Corn's Dead Tree World is Collapsing All Around Him


David Corn went into a Barnes and Noble store and complained--in what he says was a merely agitated way--about the fact that his new book wasn't on display.

One can imagine him scouring high-end bookstores for as far as the eye can see, confused as to why the distances between such stores keeps increasing month by month and year by year. A person can put out a book today and go out and visit all of the bookstores that are selling it. Two years from now, when the follow-up comes out, how many of those same places are going to be in business?

There's nothing wrong with hoping that the dead tree version of your book on politics has sold well. It's another thing entirely to think that this is how it is going to stay. Every day, we inch closer and closer to the demise of the bookstore and the hard-cover book. I'm not lamenting this; I welcome the rapid approach of our fixed-price E-book masters.

Does anyone else?
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They're Tasting Him

I don't think there's anything heartwarming about this at all. You can go check out the link yourself and play the video; my opinion is that these lion cubs are merely tasting the human.

Many animals come with what we think are human emotions; the problem with this thinking is that it ignores the fact that this is an animal that, in the wild, has the instinctual need to eat meat.

Time Magazine has a near-annual fixation on animals, emotions, and whether they think like humans do. Let's cut the crap. Animals are animals, and they are unpredictable. One minute, they're kissing on you, the next minute, they have your arm in their mouth and there's blood everywhere.
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Cologne Cathedral is Falling Down




The famous cathedral in Cologne, Germany is falling apart. Well, perhaps not falling apart, but, when the wind is right, there is a good chance that a small piece of it might break off and fall to the ground. Given the extensive detail of the facade, that's understandable.

I don't know if it can be said that pieces are breaking off at an alarming rate but, recently, a man was injured when one of the larger pieces smashed against the roof and showered people below with smaller pieces.

Normally, you would hear about preservation efforts and things of that nature. And those are ongoing, of course. But the piece that broke off was from a part of the cathedral built in the 14th Century.

How is anyone supposed to keep a building that old from falling apart? And, yes--it did survive the war:


I'm sure that it will survive for many more centuries. But, clearly, someone has to do something more than just rope off the exterior of the cathedral when it rains.
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The Viagra Review Board


This image is making the rounds, and I spotted it here.

I think that this speaks volumes to the efforts of people who want to highlight how utterly ridiculous it is that we have had nearly a month-long freakout over the idea that contraception coverage should be a basic part of health care coverage in this country. There are so many utterly common sense reasons why this should be so. Anyone who is a male, like myself, and understands at least some of the basic reasons why contraception is a vital and necessary component of basic health for women can probably relate to what these wonderful ladies are up to.

They're ready to pound home the idea that some men just don't get it.

You can read more about their efforts here...

Why Can't They Settle This Case?

And so, the Nicollette Sheridan saga drags on.

This should have been a fairly simple case and it was definitely one that could have been settled out of court. Instead, we have a deadlocked jury and the case ends in a mistrial. What will happen after this? Who knows?

It's too bad this couldn't have gone to some sort of binding arbitration.