Culture

Tony Blair’s Awkward Family Photo

By on 12.4.14 | 2:29PM

Is it just me, or does former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair look terrified to be in his own Christmas card photo?

His wife looks a bit like she's trying to hold him back. 

Nothing says "Happy Christmas!" like a terrified former Prime Minister in a slightly-too-open dress shirt, I suppose. At least it's not a "Get Well" card.

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Guy Who Filmed Eric Garner Death Gets Indicted

By on 12.4.14 | 1:00PM

The Eric Garner case is hitting home with people on both sides of the aisle, and for good reason. It's hard to imagine a more terrifying scenario: stopped by the police for a minor infraction based on a ridiculous tax law, dead in seconds after repeatedly begging for mercy from authorities, who stood by almost completely uninterested. The video of Garner being choked by an officer isn't just about an overreaching authority at every level, from legislative to on-the-street enforcement, it is, as Matt Lewis notes in his piece at The Week, a horrifying example of utter callousness at the value and dignity of human life. 

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CIA Thinks “State of Affairs” is Terrible

By on 12.3.14 | 5:00PM

Not that any of you watch cable television, but there's been a small epidemic of female-driven primetime dramas about what it's like inside the office of the Secretary of State. In pretty much every iteration, a plucky, courageous and outspoken, if somewhat inexperienced low-level CIA or State Department staffer, has their brillance recognized when they're shoved into the Secretary of State position. These blonde, pantsuited heroines, whose profiles are clearly based on no one in particular, are forced to navigate the torrid waters of foreign policy, while holding down their positions as Mama Bear to unruly children and an inattentive husband at home. To accomplish this, they wear dark-rimmed glasses to look smarter and say Very Serious Things while standing in rooms with lots of computers with maps on them.

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Former Dem Staffer Won’t Do Time for Sexual Assault

By on 12.3.14 | 3:18PM

While the media has been busily raking Elizabeth Lauten over the coals for her critique of the Obama daughters' fashion sense (the horror!), a former Democratic staff director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee pleaded guilty to " third-degree sexual abuse, two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor threats."

Apparently, Donny Ray Williams, charming as he is, wrangled a female colleage to his apartment by promising that he could introduce her to important Senate people, then spiked her drink with Ambien, waited until she was asleep and then raped her. And as if this wasn't #WaronWomen, #RapeCulture-y enough for you, Donny felt he was so successul at assaulting his female colleagues, he tried it again. 

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Media Matters

The Sins of Elizabeth Lauten

By 12.3.14

Elizabeth Lauten, communications director for a GOP congressman, committed a cardinal sin in politics last weekend: posting on Facebook about a couple of aggravated teenagers forced to endure their dad’s turkey-pardoning ceremony, during a space of time where little to nothing of note was happening on the national scene. Thankfully, our esteemed fourth estate immediately seized on her transgression against the cult of personality inhabiting the White House, and badgered her and her under-the-radar Republican boss until she was forced to publicly apologize, resign, and pack up her things from her Hill apartment and return to that segment of flyover country from whence she came. The media may not know how to handle more pressing matters facing their industry, like whether they should report accurately on a Missouri grand jury investigation so as not to further inflame community tensions, but they sure know how to make a girl cry.

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Russell Brand Does Not Want to Talk About How Rich He Is

By on 12.2.14 | 3:08PM

Russell Brand is a British comedian who recently named himself the voice of the oppressed and the leader of the coming proletariat revolution against the super-rich despite having a net worth of an estimated $15 million, some of which came from his recent book's, Revolution, banner sales. The book describes, in detail, how Brand would reformat the world economy to benefit the people who, I suspect, purchased his book, but fails to mention whether he'd also donate the exceptional profits he's made telling them how to run their lives.

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Lacking a Sense of Irony, Planned Parenthood Joins #BlackLivesMatter

By on 12.2.14 | 11:45AM

In 2012, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Vital Statistics more abortions were performed on black women in New York City than black children were born. As of 2008, according to Planned Parenthood's statistical arm, The Guttmacher Institute, only 36% of all abortions were performed on non-Hispanic white women. According to the pro-life group Live Action, in 2010, Planned Parenthood began the process of accepting donations from undercover investigators posting as willing funders, who requested the money specifically be directed to programs that followed Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's original intent in providing family planning services: eliminating minority populations.

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Prepare for Thanksgiving: How to Head Off Your Liberal Relatives

By on 11.25.14 | 4:30PM

Look, I think the last thing you should talk about at Thanksgiving is politics. There's too much food, too much alcohol, too much football-related disappointment, and generally, far too many relatives you'd rather not see let alone be related to by blood. But in anticipation of the dinner table conversation turning to (what else?) the national healthcare program known as Obamacare, liberal website Think Progress has released a set of talking points designed to silence conservative family members lest they deign to criticize our fearless leader and his signature achievement. 

No, I'm not sure they realize that releasing it this early would give people time to Google appropriate responses, but they also assume that the only person opposed to authoritarian governmental policies is somehow over the age of 120, so make of that what you will. 

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Convenience Store Michael Brown Allegedly Robbed Was Looted Last Night

By on 11.25.14 | 11:46AM

Last night, I tried to stay off social media, but felt the urge to Tweet about how looting and destroying local businesses does nothing to harm corporations, the police, or the legal system, but it does harm community members who are working hard to put food on the table for themselves.

No matter how you feel about how justice was or was not served last night, it does not justify the wanton destruction of other people's property. It's not even an effective tactic for expressing outrage at the state. As anyone involved in civil disobedience, past and present, knows, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lennon, to name just a couple, police and media understand how to deal with violence. It's non-violence they don't understand.

That said, one of the strangest visuals to come out of last night's riots is this, from Reddit. I can't substantiate the veracity of the photo itself, but according to multiple sources, it appears to be the owner of the market Michael Brown was accused of robbing before he encountered Officer Darren Wilson

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Ferguson Grand Jury Has Reached a Decision

By on 11.24.14 | 3:42PM

This is developing.

The grand jury assembled to determine whether Officer Darren Wilson should face charges in the death of Michael Brown has reached a decision. News outlets expect to hear from the County Prosecutors Office in Missouri and from the Governor's Office either around 5pm EST today or early tomorrow morning. Cable news anchors have been ordered to pack up the tents they've been sleeping in in Ferguson for the last month as they waited for the decision and get into makeup. 

I made the last part up, but you know it's happening.

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