Charlie Crist’s insistence on using a fan may have backfired in a big way

#Fangate went down while I was out of commission, and I’ve been (and still should be) pretty busy since, so apologies for coming to it late. I’ll try to be brief — though I can’t promise this is my last word on the subject.

As you may have heard, the Florida’s governor debate was delayed because former governor Charlie Crist brought a fan onstage in violation of the rules to which he and incumbent Rick Scott had previously agreed. As a consequence, Scott refused to join him.

While Scott has received much of the criticism for demanding Crist proceed with the debate fanless, I would argue that Crist actually got the rawest deal out of the whole situation.

Continue reading Charlie Crist’s insistence on using a fan may have backfired in a big way

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Egypt may have found the solution to Gaza

Egypt has made a bunch of headlines recently for its decision to clear a buffer along its border with Gaza in an effort to prevent smuggling into (and out of) the coastal territory, and also to fend off further militant attacks in the region (like last week’s attack that killed 31 members of the country’s military).

One reason I’ve seen this story so many times is that some of my friends have used it to suggest that critics of Israel are hypocritical for not speaking out against Egypt’s decision to destroy homes in the fight against terror. But that’s not what interests me about this story –if Israel were destroying houses within its own borders, those critics of Israel would find something else to complain about, but mostly it demolishes homes inside occupied territory (or, as in the case of Gaza, once-occupied territory).

What instead caught my eye here was how Egypt planned to use this buffer in its effort to stem smuggling:

Continue reading Egypt may have found the solution to Gaza

That time I got a year-and-a-half headstart on my Sexy John Oliver costume

On this week’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver was quite pleased to report that at least one Halloween costume vendor is responsible for “Sexy John Oliver” (see above). But though Oliver may be all the rage after the successful launch of his weekly program at HBO, anyone just beginning to ape his wardrobe is already quite late to the party.

You see, I noticed back in February of last year — when he appeared in a segment titled Halal in the Family — that John Oliver and I own nearly-identical (to my flawed vision) glasses. In fact, I’ve had a folder pointlessly (until now) saved on my computer ever since titled ‘John Oliver has my glasses’, containing only a screenshot* I grabbed from that episode of the Daily Show as evidence:

Continue reading That time I got a year-and-a-half headstart on my Sexy John Oliver costume

No, John Oliver does not owe the Keene Police Department an apology

A little over two months ago last night, John Oliver* — in a segment on the phenomenon of police militarization, prompted by then-recent events in Ferguson — poked fun at the Keene Police Department for having cited the tiny town’s annual pumpkin festival as justification for its purchase of a Bearcat** (which looks like this):

keene bearcat

So when this year’s festival erupted in riotous disarray, a whole mess of people gleefully and predictably gloated that those events somehow served to vindicate the Keene PD. Here’s a brief sample:

Continue reading No, John Oliver does not owe the Keene Police Department an apology

Who says the media can’t write responsible Ebola headlines?

One oft-maligned symptom of the ongoing Ebola outbreak is the tendency of media organizations to overplay the risk it poses to the general public. News outlets based in this country’s largest city have proven hardly more immune than have its residents: “Ebola in New York fires up the media” reads a recent headline in The USA Today.

Thankfully, none other than the New York Times appears to have developed a hardy resistance to Ebola-related fear-mongering. Just check out this (complete) headline and synopsis a friend recently emailed me via the paper of record’s mobile phone application:

Continue reading Who says the media can’t write responsible Ebola headlines?

My New York Ebola prediction: precisely half right

Four days ago, I wrote a post titled “When ebola comes to New York City, ground zero will be about three miles from Ground Zero“. Unfortunately, I didn’t stop by giving the post a name: I also included a slightly more specific prediction: that the outbreak would begin at a restaurant called Pitopia, located 3.4 miles from Ground Zero:

Continue reading My New York Ebola prediction: precisely half right

Why the Muslim-Nobel Peace Prize argument won’t exactly convince its target audience

I want to briefly address another story that recently made the rounds, best expressed in this headline from Vox: “The perfect response to people who say all Muslims are violent, in one tweet“.

By ‘people who say all Muslims are violent’, the headline is responding to (inter alia) HBO comedian Bill Maher, who argued on his show that members of “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are actually not extremist outliers but represent the inherent violence and intolerance of Islam itself, and by extension its 1.6 billion followers.”

Vox counters by citing this tweet and subsequent explanation:

Continue reading Why the Muslim-Nobel Peace Prize argument won’t exactly convince its target audience

Vox article on the superiority of Canadians includes (at least) one unfortunate blunder

No doubt aboot it: Canada is better than America in at least 7 ways” crows Sarah Kliff — if that’s her real name — for Vox. The post itself is not all that exciting — except for the sorts of reasons I tend to find the internet exciting: Kliff done goofed, in a deliciously ironic way.

Number 5 of Sarah’s 7 ways has to do with educational  attainment:

Continue reading Vox article on the superiority of Canadians includes (at least) one unfortunate blunder

When ebola comes to New York City, ground zero will be about three miles from Ground Zero

That’s the distance between Ground Zero and a little modern-styled falafel place (i.e. not a food truck) in midtown called Pitopia.

I picked up dinner there right before watching the Seahawks season opener (only the Ebola portion of this post is timely*) and ordered a falafel sandwich. The process is pretty straightforward: You get a few balls in a pita, and it’s up to you to fill in the rest at the salad bar.

I think you can figure out where this is going.

Continue reading When ebola comes to New York City, ground zero will be about three miles from Ground Zero