Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Note: Here's the posting schedule for the rest of the week. Regular C&J tomorrow, a special Thanksgiving edition Thursday, and then no C&J Friday. Back Monday for the ceremonial fighting over the leftover gizzards.
By the Numbers:
Days 'til the Democratic candidates’ debate in New Hampshire: 25
Days `til the Lighting of the National Chanukah Menorah with Three Cantors. Dreidleman, and special guest "Performer": 12
Percent chance that girls spend more time studying and reading than boys, according to an Education First study of 70 countries: 100%
Percent of women in Randa who have jobs, versus 66% in the U.S., according to the Global Gender Gap Report: 88%
Percent of Rwanda politicians who are women, versus 19% in the U.S.: 64%
Percent chance that October was not just the hottest October on record, but it was "absurdly hot" according to NOAA: 100%
Price of a 16-pound turkey this year, up 6% because of the avian flu outbreak according to Bloomberg News: $23.04
Totally Random NFL Score
New England Patriots 20 Buffalo Bills 13
Puppy Pic of the Day:
Back scratch done right…
CHEERS to gettin' outta Dodge. Thanksgiving is looming like a 20-pound platter of mashed potatoes, and Triple-A predicts that 47 million travelers will scream, curse and smell kinda gamey between now and next Tuesday---the highest level in nearly a decade, so if you're going by plane prepare for lots of seat-back kicking. Meanwhile Triple-A also says more of us will be on the roads compared to last year, with a little under 42 million expected to venture at least 50 miles from home:
“This Thanksgiving, more Americans will carve out time to visit friends and family since 2007,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “While many people remain cautious about the economy and their finances, many thankful Americans continue to put a premium on traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones. One holiday gift has come early this year. Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Lower prices are helping boost disposable income, and enabling families to kick off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway,” continued Doney.
If you'll be among the road-trippers, please be safe and practice proper driving etiquette: use your right hand for texting and your left hand for flipping the bird.
JEERS to Behind-the-Times Ben. As if things couldn’t get any nuttier than Carly Fiorina raging against a non-existent Planned parenthood "fetus harvesting" video, Ben Carson has now joined Donald Trump in claiming he saw footage of "thousands of" Arab-Americans in New Jersey laughing and cheering after the 9/11 attacks. First things first: neither of them saw such footage (even Carson is flip-flopping no), and we hardly need a president with such scrambled-egg memories. But what caught my eye about Carson is how he described his source of the hat he claims he saw:
Ben Carson, who told reporters gathered in Nevada that he did see celebrations of American Muslims in New Jersey after 9/11.
“I saw the film of it, yes,” he said. Asked what kind of film, he said: “The news reels.”
Yes. The news reels. Specifically, Movietone News in a darkened theater just after a Three Stooges short and right before an Andy Hardy feature. At least that's what I read in this morning's broadsheets.
CHEERS to "Old Rough 'n Ready." And Happy birthday to "#12" Zachary Taylor, who became president in 1849. Odd fellow:
Taylor was one strange-looking dude. Given his thick trunk, long, spindly arms, and a face like shoe leather, he bore an unsettling resemblance to an orangutan. Old Rough and Ready may have been at home in the saddle, but he needed help getting into it---his legs were too short and bow-shaped to do it alone. His hat of choice was a broad-rimmed, floppy thing woven of palmetto leaves, which---along with a mismatched set of rags that he frequently passed off as clothes---led some people to mistake their president for a farmer.
---From Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents by Cormac O'Brien
He ruled the national roost for a whopping 1 year and 126 days until he became "Old Gastroenteritis" and died from either a) tainted water, b) tainted cherries, or c) tainted iced milk. You know the drill...pay your respects and move along. Taint nice to stare at dead folks.
CHEERS to knowing the enemy. I saw this in yesterday's midday open thread and thought I'd give it another mention. Robert Evans of---of all places---Cracked magazine studied the slick P.R. campaign being waged by ISIS to spread their ideology and swell their ranks. It's a fascinating read. Evans read every issue of their official magazine and concludes:
My main takeaway from 700-odd pages of ISIS propaganda is how fucking little reading the news and listening to American politicians had educated me about what ISIS really is, and what it wants. …
But the most surprising thing I learned about ISIS during my reading is that the primary target of their hatred is not the United States. It's not France or Russia, either. The one "enemy" they devote more time to ranting against than anyone else is the "apostate Muslim." The vast majority of people ISIS kills are Muslims. They use one slur in particular---"Safawi"---to refer to Shiite Muslims. That word is a play on the name of the Safavid dynasty, which ruled Persia in the 15-17th centuries and which you almost certainly haven't heard of even though soldiers for the most notoriously evil organization in the world use it as a curse every day.
Our most notoriously evil organization has a similar slur it uses every day. But somehow "pinhead" just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
CHEERS and JEERS to Ma Nature's 2015/2016 playbook. Last year, the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center ran---pardon the pun---hot and cold. They were right that we'd get pummeled with snow in New England, but really off the mark when they said it would be warmer than usual. Now they're back with their latest forecast, and I'll be taking it with a grain of road salt:
Precipitation Outlook: Wetter-than-average conditions most likely in the Southern Tier of the United States, from central and southern California, across Texas, to Florida, and up the East Coast to southern New England. Above-average precipitation is also favored in southeastern Alaska. Drier-than-average conditions most likely for Hawaii, central and western Alaska, parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, and for areas near the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
Temperature Outlook: Above-average temperatures are favored across much of the West and the northern half of the contiguous United States. Temperatures are also favored to be above-average in Alaska and much of Hawaii. Below-average temperatures are most likely in the southern Plains and Southeast.
As usual, some predictions are harder to make than others. For example, there's a zero-percent chance of knowing actual snowfall amounts this far out, but there's a 100 percent chance of knowing that climate-change deniers will scream "Global cooling!!!" every time a flake sticks to the pavement. C&J recommends you start assembling your winter management kit now: shovel, ice-melting pellets, blankets, candles, and earplugs.
CHEERS to common sense backed by science. On today's date in 1859, Darwin's The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published. As proof that the theory works in reverse, more Americans believe in creationism today than evolution. Even the one-celled amoeba's are rolling their eyes.
Five years ago in C&J: November 24, 2010
JEERS to mean people. Five anti-gay organizations have been officially declared hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center:
1. American Family Association
2. Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
3. Dove World Outreach Center
4. Family Research Council
5. Illinois Family Institute
Generally, the SPLC’s listing of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods---claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities---and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.
Dan Savage makes a great point in saying that these groups---and all the others like 'em---should immediately have the door slammed in their faces by the media. Hopefully this designation by the SPLC---a group that doesn’t make these decisions cavalierly---will prompt news outlets to stop giving hate such a mighty megaphone. Oh, and also: they are so getting crossed off my Christmas card list.
And just one more…
CHEERS to loading the holiday catapults. Speaking of Christmas cards, my partner Michael recently drove the family forklift to the local box store and hauled home our greeting cards for December. Continuing our decade-long crusade to keep Fox News paranoid about a left-wing conspiracy to "destroy" Christmas via a "war," they feature the usual Sharia-Atheist-Secular-Hippie-Socialist-Tyrant greeting:
Some say that the birth of Christ
Is the tale that should be told.
The swaddled kid in a bed of straw
And wise men bearing gold.
But I think the joy I truly feel---
What really makes me smiley---
Is saying "Happy Holidays"
Just to piss off Bill O'Reilly.
On the front of it is a painting of a loofah sitting under a sprig of mistletoe.
Have a nice Tuesday. Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?
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