Category Archives: History

Republicans just moved to give away our public lands. It’s not too late for Obama to stop them.

Barack Obama has put the Antiquities Act to good use, especially over these past few weeks. The Act allows the President to unilaterally designate national monuments, and only a concerted effort by Congress can overturn that decision. In late December, Obama protected Bears Ears in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada despite some amount of state and Congressional resistance. Just last week, he protected three sites honoring the civil rights movement, and enlarged two existing monuments for good measure.

Even before his most recent spree, Obama had invoked the Antiquities Act more than any other President since the law was passed in 1906. So naturally, just hours before he steps down, I have one last proposal for him: President Obama must use the Antiquities Act one last time, to declare a National Monument on all federal land not already so designated.* If he doesn’t, there may not be much of it left by the time this Congress gives way to the next.

Continue reading Republicans just moved to give away our public lands. It’s not too late for Obama to stop them.

Trying to make sense of the Nin Com Soup Nutzy

A cafe in London intent on living up to a name that otherwise makes little sense for a coffee shop — Nin Com Soup — drew some attention last month when it introduced a new flavor of smoothie, decorated it with a swastika, and called it “Nutzy”.

Continue reading Trying to make sense of the Nin Com Soup Nutzy

Steve Bannon is not so far outside the American mainstream, after all

Now that erstwhile campaign manager Steve Bannon helped make the White House white (nationalist) again, President-Elect Donald Trump graciously decided to let him stick around. Unsurprisingly, the announcement that Bannon would fill the role of chief strategist in the Trump administration caused consternation in the Jewish community due to his ex-wife’s allegation that he is an anti-Semite.

Although said ex proffered several bits of evidence to support her claim, only one has been corroborated by independent sources: that Bannon wanted to know why the Westland School’s library stocked so many books about Chanuka. In context, the fact that Bannon singled out Chanuka suggests an unseemly level of concern over Jewish representation at the school.*

Continue reading Steve Bannon is not so far outside the American mainstream, after all

Mel Gibson and Stephen Colbert haven’t changed at all

On Tuesday night, Stephen Colbert hit Mel Gibson hard: “Hey, Mel-Mels? When you look back on your life, do you think you’ll have any regrets?” (Mel-Mels’ reply: “No. Not one.”) And had Gibson asked Colbert the same question in return, I’m sure Stephen could have come up with at least one regret of his own: going soft on erstwhile interviewee Donald Trump.

Continue reading Mel Gibson and Stephen Colbert haven’t changed at all

President Donald Trump is no more difficult to understand than Obama

Back on August 10, just after Donald Trump suggested that perhaps “the Second Amendment people” could do “something” about Hillary Clinton, and his supporters explained he meant they could put on an unprecedented display of unity, Trevor Noah had a very reasonable-sounding complaint about a potential Trump Presidency:

Continue reading President Donald Trump is no more difficult to understand than Obama

Why isn’t this Olympic gold-worthy tweet going viral?

This morning, Olympic spectators were treated to the sort of heart-warming interaction that encapsulates why so many people enjoy watching sports, and especially international competitions. As the New York headline described it, “Tripped-Up Olympic Runners Finish Race Together in Apparent Attempt to Make Me Weep Uncontrollably at My Desk“. In case that doesn’t paint you enough of a picture, here’s what that looked like in the form of a moving one:

Continue reading Why isn’t this Olympic gold-worthy tweet going viral?

The Big Short taught me one thing: Michael Scott pushed the wrong kind of paper

I found The Big Short difficult to watch, not because it does a poor job both man- and womansplaining complicated financial instruments, but because whenever Steve Carell is on screen I can’t help seeing Michael Scott.

And the confusion, in this case, was not purely a figment of my imagination. Indeed, my main takeaway from the Big Short is that the big banks that caused the financial collapse were more oblivious than the World’s Best Boss himself. Don’t believe me?

Compare, The Big Short, around the one hour, nine minute mark:

Continue reading The Big Short taught me one thing: Michael Scott pushed the wrong kind of paper

That time Treehugger jumped the shark

[Editor’s note: As should be clear from the very first sentence, the following post was originally written well over a year ago. I can offer no explanation for my delinquency in publishing it other than I have been delinquent in publishing just about everything around here.]

I wrote a post last week complaining about an extremely misleading headline over at Treehugger. But upon further reflection, I don’t know what about the #fail it discussed exercised me so. After all, I’ve been aware that Treehugger jumped the shark for quite some time.

My suspicions were aroused back in September, when I came across an unusual “Photo of the Day”. Treehugger has long periodically posted photographs culled from reader contributions. The pictures — how do I say this without sounding like a snob? — typically portray attractive subjects, but the photographer’s execution can sometimes leave quite a bit of room for improvement.

Continue reading That time Treehugger jumped the shark

Ready for Romney to be Ready for Hillary

As the list of Republicans who are officially With Her seems to lengthen daily, the world awaits word from Donald Trump’s immediate predecessor as Republican candidate for President.

Back when it still appeared Trump might be stopped, Mitt Romney famously dedicated an entire speech to encouraging other Republicans to oppose him. At the time he gave that speech, Romney was not willing to endorse Hillary Clinton:

Continue reading Ready for Romney to be Ready for Hillary

I can confirm 10 Cloverfield Lane is Cloverfield’s “spiritual successor” (and I’ve yet to even see it)

10 Cloverfield Lane, which just hit theaters, is not the sequel to Cloverfield. Rather, JJ Abrams has patiently explained, it’s its “spiritual successor”. But just what is a spiritual successor? I must admit, after watching two different trailers, as well as Abrams’ appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week, I still wasn’t quite sure what he meant. I figured I’d wait to see the movie.

Continue reading I can confirm 10 Cloverfield Lane is Cloverfield’s “spiritual successor” (and I’ve yet to even see it)