Richard Cohen

by Larry Tate on November 7, 2013

Why is this guy allowed to write in the newspaper? Seriously, this is one of the craziest paragraphs I’ve ever read:

I sometimes think I have spent years unlearning what I learned earlier in my life. For instance, it was not George A. Custer who was attacked at the Little Bighorn. It was Custer — in a bad career move — who attacked the Indians. Much more important, slavery was not a benign institution in which mostly benevolent whites owned innocent and grateful blacks. Slavery was a lifetime’s condemnation to an often violent hell in which people were deprived of life, liberty and, too often, their own children. Happiness could not be pursued after that.

When exactly did Richard Cohen believe that “blacks were sort of content” as slaves? And when did he think that slave owners were “mostly nice people — fellow Americans, after all”?

Apparently, not until he viewed the film 12 Years a Slave.

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Figure of Speech

by Larry Tate on October 20, 2013

There is an almost sublime stupidity to this Ross Douthat metaphor:

Like the Bush administration in Iraq, the White House seems to have invaded the health insurance marketplace with woefully inadequate postinvasion planning, and let the occupation turn into a disaster of hack work and incompetence.

Yes, Ross. It’s just like that. The healthcare.gov website cost the American taxpayer around 6 trillion dollars to create and even though it has only been open for a few days almost 500,000 people have died.

Maybe if the law foolishly disbanded the entire medical community and prevented them from practicing medicine, you’d have a point. But you don’t.

I hate what you just said. Like, a lot.

 

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Exceptionalism

by Larry Tate on September 12, 2013

Vladimir Putin has a point:

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.

It is the height of irony that the term “American Exceptionalism,” which was coined as a rebuke to our nationalistic pride and self-serving ideologies, is now standard fodder for political speeches, used to describe our inerrant righteousness and duty to lead the world.

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Pushing Back

by Larry Tate on August 23, 2013

It has been interesting to see Groklaw and Lavabit push back in the only way they can against government surveillance–by shutting down. Although it seems the government isn’t too pleased with that. You’ve achieved full Orwell when you are in trouble with the government because shutting down your own company might indicate that the government asked you to help them spy against your customers. So now, on the basis of national security, I have to keep running my business?

Besides these two exceptional cases, we’re witnessing the abject failure of capitalism writ large to prove that it can aid in the defense of civil liberties. It’s just about the money. It’s been clear since the Bush days, when the telecoms got busted, that nobody was going to stand up to unconstitutional eavesdropping/datamining. One can only hope that with enough players following the lead of Lavabit, you could actually have companies draw a line in the sand and challenge the government on this issue. What if Google, Microsoft, Apple, the telecoms, etc., just stood up and all said we’re shutting down all our services until you back off from our customers? They have the power. If they all went dark the entire economy would shut down. After 3 days the NSA would get ordered to mothball everything. But, who are we kidding? AT&T ain’t gonna do that. Fuck you, AT&T.

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Gastonguay’s Island

by Larry Tate on August 12, 2013

The stupid! It burns!

Hannah Gastonguay, 26, and her husband, Sean, 30, were fed up with abortion, homosexuality, taxes and the “state-controlled church” and so “decided to take a leap of faith and see where God led us.” With them were Sean’s father and the couple’s two daughters, one 3 years old and the other an infant.

A few weeks into their ultimately 91 days at sea, the Gastonguays encountered “squall after squall after squall” that damaged their boat. Originally on a heading for the archipelago nation of Kiribati near the international dateline, they changed course to the Marquesas Islands, but were unable to reach them either.

Along the way, they apparently suffered damage to their mast and, unable to set a foresail, made little westward progress.

But, just when their supplies had dwindled down to “some juice and some honey,” the family was rescued by a fishing boat from Venezuela. The hapless family were then “transferred to a Japanese cargo ship and taken to Chile, where they are resting in the port city of San Antonio.” After this serial spree of freeloading, the US government had to arrange a flight to bring the destitute family home to Arizona. I can’t wait to hear the family’s beliefs on wasteful government spending, the evils of public education, and all the welfare spending on “those people.”

And I can’t help but note that the family’s initial destination, Kiribati, is a small island nation that will soon be destroyed by rising sea levels due to global warming. But I’m sure the Gastonguays probably don’t  believe in that.

I hope the state of Arizona places the Gastonguay’s children in protective custody. They deserve better parents.

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0811_WEB_b_Cross_Reax_t618

At the cost of $700,000, a church in Chattanooga, TN has erected three, 10-story crosses within feet of one of the busiest stretches of interstate in the country.

A reporter from the Times Free Press asked three local high school students their views on the matter:

“I really think they could’ve spent the money in better ways,” said Cody Teague, one of the group.

He and friends Cody Sehon and David Lynch went to Ooltewah High School together and have remained in the community they grew up in since graduation a few years ago. They have worked stints at a handful of Chattanooga’s brochure employers: Volkswagen, Amazon, the downtown hotel businesses.

They said Saturday they just can’t see the point in spending that kind of money for the crosses, especially when there is so much poverty in the area.

At least the kids get it.

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More NSA Revelations

by Larry Tate on August 1, 2013

Some new details on the NSA’s domestic spying out today:

National Security Agency officials violated secret federal court orders authorizing the daily collection of domestic email and telephone data from hundreds of millions of Americans, according to previously top-secret documents made public Wednesday by the Obama administration.

The documents didn’t disclose specific details of the violations. But they said that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court imposed temporary restrictions on the programs after it learned of the violations until it was satisfied the NSA had revamped its procedures to conform to court requirements.

I love the “hundreds of millions” line. Since there are only around 300 million people in the US, I think we can safely say that everyone’s email, internet traffic and telephone calls are being intercepted and analyzed.

But my favorite part of the story is this response:

Several senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, when approached about the breaches, said they were aware of them but declined to answer questions about their nature.

“I don’t know why you need to ask me,” said the panel’s chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Jeez, I don’t know, Dianne, maybe this is a good reason?

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/31/198229/documents-show-nsa-violated-court.html#storylink=cpy

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Charlie Pierce pretty much says it all:

Some night very soon, if he so chooses, George Zimmerman can load his piece, tuck it into the back of his pants, climb into his SUV, and drive around Sanford, Florida looking for assholes and fucking punks who are walking through neighborhoods where he, George Zimmerman, defender of law and order, doesn’t think they belong. He can drive around Sanford, Florida and check out anyone who is dressed in such a manner as might frighten the average citizen who has been fed a daily diet of “Scary Black Kids” by their local news and by their favorite radio personalities, and who is dressed in such a manner as might seem inappropriate to their surroundings as determined by George Zimmerman, crimebuster. He can drive around Sanford, Florida until he spots an asshole or a fucking punk and then he can get out of his SUV, his piece tucked into the back of his pants, and he can stalk the asshole or the fucking punk, the one who is in the wrong neighborhood, or who is dressed inappropriately, at least according to George Zimmerman, protector of peace. If the asshole, or the fucking punk, turns around and objects to being stalked — or, worse, if the asshole, or the fucking punk, decides physically to confront the person stalking him — then George Zimmerman can whip out the piece from the back of his pants and shoot the asshole, or the fucking punk, dead right there on the spot. This can happen tonight. That is now possible. Hunting licenses are now available and it’s open season on assholes, fucking punks, and kids who wear hoodies at night in neighborhoods where they do not belong, at least according to George Zimmerman, defender of law and order, crimebuster, and protector of the peace, because that is what American society has told George Zimmerman, and all the rest of us, is the just outcome of what happened on one dark and rainy night in February of 2012.

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Canister or Upright?

by Larry Tate on July 11, 2013

We will never know how Al-Qaida vacuum technology might have changed the world:

Confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, asked his jailers whether he could embark on an unusual project: Would the spy agency allow Mohammed, who had earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, to design a vacuum cleaner?

When asked whether the technology exists, the CIA was characteristically cagey:

The AP asked the CIA for copies of the vacuum designs or any government records about them under the Freedom of Information Act.

The CIA responded in a letter to the AP that the records, “should they exist,” would be considered operational files of the CIA — among its most highly classified category of government files — and therefore exempt from ever being released to the public.

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The Smoking Gum

by Larry Tate on June 30, 2013

Aaron Hernandez has to be the most inept criminal of all time.

  • Use cell phones to contact co-conspirators. Check.
  • Allow murder victim to tweet to family before killing him. Check.
  • Rent getaway car in your own name. Check.
  • Take GPS-enabled cellphones with you during the murder. Check.
  • Capture yourself and co-conspirators holding guns on your home security video. Check.
  • Leave shell casings behind at the scene of the crime and in the car you rented along with the blue Bubblicious gum wrappers that you conspicuously offered to the attendant. Check check check.

Should have watched more CSI. This is going to be a tomahawk dunk by the prosecution.

 

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Good Question

by Larry Tate on June 11, 2013

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that Snowden’s leak has revealed just how much our right to privacy has been eroded in this country. But I have a serious question: How does a high school dropout and former security guard get the keys to the intelligence kingdom?

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Shorter David Brooks

by Larry Tate on June 11, 2013

If Edward Snowden spent time with his mom, grilled out with his neighbors, and went to church, he wouldn’t fear the government’s intrusion into our private lives.

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Seems Constitutional

by Larry Tate on June 6, 2013

NSA behaving badly:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

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What the hell is David Brooks talking about?

Whatever you do, dear readers, don’t try to organize your life around altruism. There lies danger! You will slowly begin to lose yourself–your malleable brain will gradually transform until you have become someone new and unexpected! You may even upset the entire “natural order of affections” because you’ll begin valuing the starving child in Zambia more than your own baby or friends. And, most important of all, you will begin to view yourself, not as a person, but as a wealth-redistributing cyborg!

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These words were actually spoken by Dick Cheney without irony:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney criticized the Obama administration on Tuesday for its handling of the September 11, 2012 terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, calling it ‘a failure of leadership.’ Cheney said U.S. leaders should have been better prepared for violence on the anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.

‘They should have been ready before anything ever happened,’ Cheney told MailOnline exclusively during a party in Georgetown celebrating the launch of a new book by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

 

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Beck doesn’t want something to be true. So it isn’t true. And since nobody else can see the “connections” that he sees, they are dishonest. And even though there is absolutely no evidence beyond the fact that a man killed himself in the Houston airport on hour ago, it must be a conspiracy. And even if that isn’t true, it will be soon. Because Liberals.

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You’ve Been Trumped!

by Larry Tate on April 21, 2013

trumped

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Safety Net

by Larry Tate on April 21, 2013

Giving people healthcare or food makes for parasitic moochers. But shotguns are a totally different story.

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Epistemic Closure

by Larry Tate on March 22, 2013

Still trying to prove Bush right:

Fox News suggested that an attack in Syria might have involved chemical weapons from Iraq, pushing a conspiracy theory that Saddam Hussein hid WMD in other countries prior to the Iraq war. Fox made a similar claim just two days ago.

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Pope Emeritus

by Larry Tate on February 27, 2013

Pope Emeritus hits a snag snag:

The Vatican’s plan to call the retiring pontiff Benedict XVI “Pope Emeritus” hit a snag today, in the form of a threatened lawsuit by an Oakland-based rapper who has been recording under that name since 2006.

“I don’t care who he is, I ain’t let nobody mess with my brand,” said Mr. Emeritus, who prior to 2006 recorded under the name Notorious P.O.P.E.

While the Vatican said it was unaware that Mr. Emeritus had already claimed the name seven years ago, the Oakland rapper scoffed at that idea: “They should have done what I did before I picked it out: Google it.”

Furious at what he is calling a clear case of trademark infringement, Mr. Emeritus said that he has no intention of stepping aside for the former pontiff: “He’s the one who should step aside. Call himself P. Biddy or something. This is wack, yo.”

[Comedic gold from Andy Borowitz]

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Job Opening

by Larry Tate on February 17, 2013

Emory University might be in need of a new president soon.

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Popein’ Aint Easy

by Larry Tate on February 11, 2013

Exhausted from defending hordes of paedophiles, the (Pope) has decided to resign.

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George W. Bush, Artist

by Larry Tate on February 8, 2013

The BBC is reporting today that former president George HW Bush has had his private email account hacked. The hacker stole a number of emails and photographs from the former president and posted them to the web. The correspondence includes messages from the former president’s son, George W. Bush.

Here is an interesting detail about the photos:

One shows the younger Mr Bush posing beside a life-size cardboard cutout of himself with a moustache drawn on it; others are said to show paintings by him, including self-portraits.

The idea of W painting self portraits and sending pictures of them to his daddy is just too much.

Update:

You can see the paintings at The Smoking Gun. Imagine if Edward Hopper painted George Bush in the shower or bathtub. Seriously.

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Thanks, Obama!

by Larry Tate on January 29, 2013

It’s all Obama’s fault.

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It appears the Jesus was be a big Second-Amendment guy.

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A Shitty on a Hill

by Larry Tate on January 26, 2013

Unable to face the reality of being outnumbered by colored people in their own country, Republicans are working on a variety of utopian redoubts. Glenn Beck’s got one. There’s also the Citadel, a walled community nestled in the mountains of Idaho where every citizen must carry a firearm. For Libertarians with their sea legs, there’s the off-shore micro-nation being created by the Seasteading Institute.

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America: A Review

by Larry Tate on January 10, 2013

A nice review of America if it were a TV show:

America was originally a spinoff of the long-running England. Airing from the 1776-77 season through today, America focuses on a small ensemble of white people using things in the ground to become rich or kill brown people. A sprawling dramedy, it combines all of the loose plot points of a Tyler Perry sitcom with all the fun of being white.

Read the whole thing.

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Knitta Please

by Larry Tate on January 8, 2013

Ostentatious super Christians at the helm of the Hobby Lobby stores have made good on their threats to pay $1,000,000 fees per day so that they can deny women federally mandated birth control benefits.

Knitters of the world, unite.

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The Fountainhead

by Larry Tate on January 7, 2013

Rand Paul’s son just got arrested:

US Airways denied serving alcohol to the 19-year-old son of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, and the grandson of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, who was arrested Saturday morning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Police said William Hilton Paul, of Bowling Green, Ky., was traveling early Saturday from Lexington, Ky., to Charlotte.

When the plane landed about 10:49 a.m., Paul was charged with consuming beer/wine underage, disorderly conduct and being intoxicated and disruptive.

Clearly, he’s a disciple of AquaBuddah.

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Pretty Awesome

by Larry Tate on December 29, 2012

For his Super Hero series, Agan Harahap inserts the likes of Superman, Batman, and Darth Vader into historical photos.

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Hobby Lobby High Horse

by Larry Tate on December 29, 2012

Stupid craft store run by Jesus freaks refuses to give employees baby-away pills because it hurts their religious fee-fees even though it will cost them 1.3 million dollars per day in penalties.

The next time I need quilting supplies, I’ll take my business elsewhere!

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End of the World

by Larry Tate on December 21, 2012

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One Trick Pony, Mike Huckabee

by Larry Tate on December 15, 2012

There are things that a person can say that should forever disqualify them from serving in a position of authority.  This is one of those things:

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee attributed the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in part to restrictions on school prayer and religious materials in the classroom.

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said on Fox News, discussing the murder spree that took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, CT that morning. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

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Everyone Hates the Government

by Larry Tate on November 27, 2012

Until you really, really need it.

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The Men Who Stare at Goats

by Larry Tate on November 16, 2012

The Republicans are really going off the map:

President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That’s according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.

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Here’s a real gem:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says a “scheduling error” is to blame after he missed a Senate hearing on the attacks in Benghazi on Tuesday and instead held a press conference where he called for an investigation into those same attacks.
CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash reported on Thursday that Ted Barrett, the network’s Senate producer, had an “intense very angry exchange” with McCain when he asked about why the senator had missed the hearing.

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Pat’s Big Discovery

by Larry Tate on November 9, 2012

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Uh, Florida?

by Larry Tate on November 8, 2012

It’s November 8th and there still is no word about which candidate received the most votes from your citizens. Seriously, get your shit together.

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2016

by Larry Tate on November 7, 2012

The campaign for 2016 begins today. And the lesson here for Republicans is that they shouldn’t put up such moderate candidates for office. What they need is a purifying fire. They need candidates who are even more stridently against birth control, equal pay, immigrants, gays, and people of color.

Ride that vaginal ultrasound to victory in 2016.

That’s the ticket.

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