Culture

Michelle Obama Once Got Asked for Help at Target, Thinks It Was Probably Racist

By on 12.17.14 | 1:09PM

Look. I honestly believe that yes, there are lingering vestiges of racism in our society. You don't exorcise something that pervasive in modern culture in less than a century. Occasionally - not regularly, but occasionally - we've all been known to make varying assumptions about other people based on existing stereotypes.

I have no doubt that, in their lifetimes, the Obamas have experienced lots of instances of discrimination based on skin color, and I think that's a tragedy. However, I do not think being asked to reach something on a high shelf at a big box retail store is one of those instances.

"I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn't see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn't anything new," Michelle Obama, who is 5'11", said. 

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Fed District Court Declares Obama’s Executive Amnesty Unconstitutional

By on 12.16.14 | 3:43PM

It's only the first court of many that will review the order, so it's nothing to get horribly excited about, but one Federal district court in Pennsylvania has declared that some aspects of President Obama's executive action on immigration go beyond mere "prosecutorial discretion" and are therefore unconstitutional.

Earlier Tuesday, a federal court in Pennsylvania declared aspects of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy unconstitutional.

According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals.  As a consequence,  Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.

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US Government Wants to Keep You Out Of Comfortable Boxers

By on 12.11.14 | 2:20PM

As I am a woman, I cannot effectively comment on the pros and cons of various forms of men's underwear and their comparative comfort levels. I understand that each type has its merits, and that men are frequently disposed to discussing them in great detail at cocktail parties, but given that women are frequently enticed to purchase underwear that consists of little more than a triangle of cheap fabric held in place by unreliable strings, I do not feel much sympathy in regard to this particular male conundrum.

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Sony Hack Reveals Sony Executives are Kind of Racist UPDATE: Apologies Issued

By on 12.11.14 | 1:50PM

Sony Pictures Entertainment was the victim of a very serious hack last week, possibly originating from North Korea (though North Korea denies it and the technological prowess necessary to bypass the kind of protections on Sony's archives would imply hackers whose nations have evolved beyond the Bronze Age). The attack exposed a number of Sony's upcoming pictures, Sony employees' personal details, thousands of emails between Sony employees and executives, and a teensy bit of abject racism on the part of Sony Entertainment bigwigs.

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Columbia Law School Lets Students Take Exams Late Because of Ferguson

By on 12.8.14 | 5:39PM

My first year of law school, it snowed so much on the morning of my Contracts exam, that I had to have my dad drive me to school and wait for hours in the library while I finished my test because the school refused to cancel or move the test even though basically everyone was snowed into their respective apartments. And there was no reason they should have moved the test. Aside from general concerns about safety and welfare, that are almost always secondary to a legal education, causing mental anguish seems to be the goal of most first year legal programs, and no one gives actual lawyers the day off of work because they didn't have the requisite foresight to buy Hunter boots on clearance sale. At least, so I've heard. I got all that education and barely practiced.

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Barack and Michelle Obama’s Romance May Be Headed to the Big Screen

By on 12.5.14 | 2:43PM

These days, the only people who seem remotely satisfied with Barack Obama's job performance are people living in beachfront mansions on the California coast. Even actual Communists and socialists have taken to things like social media to express their deep regret that the guy who promised to even the playing field has, in fact, been more inept on the subject of income inequality than Scrooge McDuck. They may as well have run Paul Krugman, if they could pry him away from his cats.

But, as I noted, Hollywood is still deeply in love with their President. Gwyneth Paltrow probably has an autographed photo of Barack hanging above her bed, so that it's the first thing she sees when she awakens from slumber in her bed that costs more than you'll make in a decade. George Clooney likely considers Barack the third person in his marriage, and while everyone has long forgotten Barack and Michelle's fairytale romance, as loosely-source campaign propaganda, Hollywood is, apparently, greenlighting movie about their Chicago courtship that will begin filming in July.

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Everything is Terrible, So Here’s Barack Obama Awkwardly Dancing with Santa

By on 12.5.14 | 2:26PM

Is it just me, or has this been the longest week in history? Literally, everything is terrible. I don't even know why. 

Anywayyyy, since I have not yet figured out how to click my heels together and dramatically change the entire political landscape, thus rendering me your benevolent dictator, here's a video I found of Barack Obama dancing awkwardly with Santa Claus at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony that took place last night. Pay special attention to the 'thumbs up, overbite move" he does.

Oh, and you're welcome, America.

And if you're wondering, the Obama daughters did look like they enjoyed this cheesy holiday tradition, at least.

Have a happy Friday, everyone!

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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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