Monday, April 13, 2015

New Hillary Clinton Ad Features Just Kittens

Hillary Clinton's new ad features just kittens. (photo: EYEON/UIG/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton's new ad features just kittens. (photo: EYEON/UIG/Getty Images)
By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker
13 April 15
The article below is satire. Andy Borowitz is an American comedian and New York Times-bestselling author who satirizes the news for his column, "The Borowitz Report."
illary Clinton has followed up the official announcement of her candidacy with a new campaign ad featuring nothing but kittens.
The sixty-second spot stars an assortment of kittens—tabbies, calicoes, Siamese, and a dozen other breeds—in a variety of adorable vignettes.
At various points in the advertisement, the kittens are shown playing in a sock drawer, tangled up in yarn, and chasing a duckling.
Clinton herself appears only in the final seconds of the ad, saying merely, “Hi. I’m Hillary.”
The commercial immediately drew the wrath of the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, who called it “woefully short on substance.”
“There’s no mention of what Hillary Clinton would do to grow our struggling economy, fix the disaster of Obamacare, or repair our damaged reputation abroad,” a visibly furious Priebus told Fox News. “It’s just cats.”
In defense of the ad, the Clinton campaign issued the following statement: “America loves kittens. Loving kittens makes America strong. Hillary is ready for kittens. Kittens are ready for Hillary. Meow meow meow meow.”

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Schumer Is Squeezed on Various Sides Over Iran Deal

Senator Charles E. Schumer’s support of a bill that could disrupt a nuclear agreement reflects the political crosscurrents he is facing on the issue.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Top News

South Carolina Officer Gets Murder Charge in Man’s Death

A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., has been charged with murder after a video surfaced showing him shooting and killing an apparently unarmed black man while he fled.

Chuck Schumer Defies Obama on Iran, Says Congress Should Have Role

Monday, 06 Apr 2015 09:12 PM
By Joel Himelfarb
  • 0
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, in all likelihood the next Senate Democratic leader, has endorsed passage of a measure opposed by President Barack Obama that would give Congress a chance to reject the administration-brokered nuclear framework deal with Iran.
Schumer, who is also one of the most influential voices in the Iran debate, told Politico on Monday that "I strongly believe that Congress should have the right to disapprove any agreement" dealing with Iran's nuclear program.
Schumer threw his support behind legislation introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker to allow Congress to vote to suspend the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

Schumer's comments "illustrate the enormity of the task ahead for President Barack Obama and his team," Politico noted. While there's no certainty that Congress would reject a nuclear deal with Iran, "there's an increasingly bipartisan consensus that Congress should at least have the ability to do so."

With no Democratic co-sponsors publicly backing away from the Corker bill, some supporters say they have detected a new tone from the White House. They point to comments made by Obama to the New York Times over the weekend in which he suggested finding some kind of legislative compromise "that allows Congress to express itself but does not encroach on traditional presidential prerogatives."

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, usually a stalwart supporter of Obama, called the president's tone in the interview with the Times "a recognition of the reality of the situation" in Congress.
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"They are now in a realistic position," said Kaine, who co-wrote the Corker bill while consulting with the White House on technical issues.

The bill would give Congress 60 days to review the framework agreement with Iran by freezing sanctions relief for the Islamist regime, and would permit lawmakers the ability to formally approve or disapprove of the deal.

"The argument that the Corker bill somehow interferes with the negotiations is a complete red herring," Kaine said. "I did not sign onto this bill because of an anti-diplomacy mindset."

If Republicans are intent on formally rejecting Obama's push to lift sanctions on Iran, and likely killing the nuclear agreement, they face a difficult task.

First, Politico reported, Corker would need to win the support of all 54 Republicans and 13 Democrats for his bill. Obama would presumably veto it and send it back to Capitol Hill for what would be a high-stakes override vote.
After that, the Republicans could file a "motion of disapproval" that would also have to withstand another Obama veto. The entire process "could easily take until late May, and all along the White House would be free to continue ironing out the final technical document governing the deal," Politico said.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. (photo: Greg Nash)
Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. (photo: Greg Nash)

Indiana Defines Stupidity as Religion

By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker
27 March 15
The article below is satire. Andy Borowitz is an American comedian and New York Times-bestselling author who satirizes the news for his column, "The Borowitz Report."

n a history-making decision, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana has signed into law a bill that officially recognizes stupidity as a religion.
Pence said that he hoped the law would protect millions of state residents “who, like me, have been practicing this religion passionately for years.”
The bill would grant politicians like Pence the right to observe their faith freely, even if their practice of stupidity costs the state billions of dollars.
While Pence’s action drew the praise of stupid people across America, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was not among them. “Even I wasn’t dumb enough to sign a bill like that,” she said.

Why the hell are you YELLING?
It takes all tone out of whatever you're trying to express.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Joan Baez diffuses right wing protest at Idaho concert

Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 06:18 PM PDT

What would you do if you found yourself standing face to face with people bearing signs accusing you by name of killing babies and encouraging the shooting of American soldiers?  Might you lose your cool?  Might you get involved in an exchange that would ultimately lead to anger or descend into the shouting matches we've been seeing at so many Town Halls lately?
Not if you're Joan Baez, who, in the 50th year of her career, continues to live according to unshakeable ideals of non-violence and compassion in ways that should inspire us all.
Last night, four Vietnam veterans protested Joan's concert in Idaho Falls with signs reading: "JOAN BAEZ - SOLDIERS DON'T KILL BABIES, LIBERALS DO" and "JOAN BAEZ GAVE COMFORT & AID TO OUR ENEMY IN VIETNAM & ENCOURAGED THEM TO KILL AMERICANS!"
Joan was informed that the men were protesting her concert about an hour before it was due to begin and she immediately walked out onto the street to talk to them.  When she approached, one of the first things they said was "We appreciate the work you did on civil rights and women's rights."  They wanted to make that point clear.
She listened closely as they discussed their views.  Primarily, they wanted to express the way they felt betrayed by anti-war protesters when they returned from combat.  Joan assured them that she stood by them then and now.  They had mixed reactions as she explained her actual positions and her support for all veterans, across the board.
At this point, Joan's merchandise salesman, Jim Stewart, who was a Captain in the US Army during Vietnam, approached the group.  Jim is one of the most kind-hearted people you could ever meet.  He is not one to speak lightly of what he went through in Vietnam.  He took Joan's arm and said to these four men, "I stand by this lady 100%.  She did the right thing then, and she stood by us when we got home.  She even recorded a song at that time from which 100% of the proceeds went to us vets."
Here Jim listens, then engages in conversation:
Unbelievably, one of the four protesters began to question Jim in an accusatory fashion, pressing him for details about what division he was in and and where he served, as if, somehow, he were making it up.  It brings tears to my eyes, as I write this, to remember Jim being questioned in this way.  These protesters were there, theoretically, to lament the poor treatment of American soliders and yet they belittled and questioned the service of a veteran because he did not agree with their views.
Jim played their game for a bit before seeing it for what it was and disengaging.  Joan stood by his side and said, "Oh, he's got the stories all right.  But he doesn't feel the need to talk about them."
Ironically, a man on his way to the concert approached at this moment and, without really following all that had gone on, interjected, "Those who don't realize that what they did in Vietnam was wrong are kind of SLOOOOOOW."  I watched Jim's face as he heard that statement - literally getting it from both sides within less than a minute.
At this point I engaged in conversation with the man holding the sign accusing liberals, rather than soliders, of killing babies.  He said "I never killed any babies and I don't believe in guilt by association."  I asked him how in the world he could justify holding a sign with Joan Baez's name on it that basically implied she killed babies if he didn't believe in guilt by association.  He replied "It's an analogy, you probably wouldn't understand it!"
Uhhhh.... yeah.
Jim said he should destroy the sign and he then claimed we were trying to trample his Constitutional right to free speech.  We replied that we weren't questioning his right, by any means, but rather his sense of decency, considering that he was there having a conversation with Joan and she was clearly not a baby killer.  Since his entire point was that guilt by association was wrong, it made sense to us.  But he replied "I'm Pro-Life and I'm proud of this sign."  With those words, he held it higher.
As we discussed these things, one of them repeated, "Soldiers don't kill babies."  I said that so many horrible things happen in war that it's impossible to make such a blanket statement, especially when bombs get dropped from the sky, and I said it all comes down to the truth that "War is hell."
I continued, saying,  "And you all know that far better than me."
They were suprised by this statement, as if shocked that anyone on the "other side" recognized what they'd been through.  It seemd to render them speechless for a moment.
At this point, Joan's continuing acceptance of their stories and her willingness to hear them out began to melt their anger.  In a twist that seems hard to fathom, they then asked her to SIGN THEIR POSTERS!  She replied that she would sign the back but not the front of "those horrible things."  Incredibly, the man with the baby-killing sign replied that he would take her name off the poster if she would sign it.
She did end up signing them, and also getting copies of her book for each of them, and offering tickets to the show, which they did not accept.  She signed the back of the poster about her encouraging the killing of American soldiers - "All the very best to you, Joan Baez."
When we got back inside the theatre, Joan broke down in tears.  I said to her "You are so brave to face people like that."  She wasn't crying about the way she had been treated, however, but about the way Jim Stewart had stood up for her.  "Did you hear his voice shaking?" she said.  "That was bravery..."
And she was right.  Stepping back into the mire of Vietnam was not something he did lightly - he bore the literal denigration of his service by another veteran in order to defend her.
During the concert afterwards Joan dedicated a song to the protesters and said "You know, they just wanted to be heard.  Everyone wants to be heard. I feel like I made four new friends tonight."
She took the high road, as always.  It wasn't my name on those signs, yet I gave into anger.  She never did. As we deal with tea parties and increasingly violent right wing protests it would do us all good to remember the example of non-violence and compassion that Ms Baez has exemplified for the 50-plus years of her career.
Her heroes are Gandhi and Martin Luther King.  In my book, she's right there with them, leading the timeless and essential march along the high road.
UPDATE:  Thanks to everyone for the recs!  I'm so happy that this story has inspired members of this community.  You may want to check out the version of "We Shall Overcome" that Joan recorded in her kitchen in June, with some lyrics in Farsi, in the hope of directly inspiring the people of Iran as they stand up for real democracy against real oppression.  The link follows...

NYPD computers used to change police-brutality Wikipedia pages

Computers linked to Police Headquarters were used to scrub anti-cop rhetoric on some Wikipedia pages that described cases of alleged police brutality, officials said Friday.
Eighty-five IP addresses that are registered to the NYPD’s vast computer network were used to change the information on pages for Eric Garner, Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo, according to Capital New York.
Police Headquarters staffs more than 3,000 employees ranging from top-ranking officials to civilian call-takers, and has more than 15,000 registered IP addresses — a dozen of which were linked to “notable” Wikipedia activity, the Web site reported.
One anonymous user made multiple changes to Garner’s page on the free-access information site on the same night a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death.
The phrase “Garner raised both his arms in the air” was edited to “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke,” and the words “push Garner’s face into the sidewalk” were changed to “push Garner’s head down into the sidewalk.”
Language that Garner was placed in a “chokehold” was changed two times — once to “chokehold or headlock” and another to “respiratory distress.”
And added to the description of the July 2014 altercation was the sentence, “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them.”
A user on the NYPD’s network also tried deleting the page for “Sean Bell shooting incident” altogether in 2007, a year after the man was shot dead by police in Queens.
“[Bell] was in the news for about two months, and now no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore. The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable,” the user said on Wikipedia’s “Articles for deletion” page.
Wikipedia allows anyone to edit its entries — either with an account or anonymously. The site logs an anonymous user’s IP address and creates a public record of the edits.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said the various edits didn’t come from computers at One Police Plaza.
“We’re looking into remote servers. It could have been on any computer linked to the NYPD,” he said, adding that an internal investigation is ongoing.
Sources told The Post that changes made while Ray Kelly was commissioner weren’t officially sanctioned or coordinated to add a pro-NYPD spin.
Additional reporting by Natasha Velez and Lia Eusta


Apple just made a big announcement on Monday, except instead of the usual amount of hype, it was met with ridicule. Apple's new MacBook is way thinner and lighter, but it also has some severe shortcomings. This "translation" parody video pokes fun at the new MacBook, and I couldn't stop laughing!
Screen shot from the video I couldn't stop laughing at this MacBook comedy video