Category Archives: Government

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.

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What John Oliver got wrong about Donald Trump’s post-Brexit speech

Back in June, Mr. Brexit celebrated the event from which he took his name during a visit to Scotland. No one summarized Trump’s take on the referendum better than John Oliver (link to full segment):

Continue reading What John Oliver got wrong about Donald Trump’s post-Brexit speech

Sometimes, the corrections just write themselves

Now that the President-elect elected to select the unelectable Rick Perry to direct the Department of Energy — the very agency he infamously  tried, and failed, to inform voters he would shut down if they made him President of these United States — I thought now might be a good opportunity to instruct the media on word choice.

Back in May, Grist published an article about Trump’s erstwhile plan to totally abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, and detailed Republican animosity toward that agency more generally:

Continue reading Sometimes, the corrections just write themselves

Now I’m not typically one to question your choice of cover photo…

… but if you’ve been charged by the SEC with playing “a key role in an alleged scheme that allowed a ring of brokers, investment advisers and their clients to profit from the deaths of terminally ill patients“, then you may not want to think twice before you select one that both touts the position that enabled you to play this exact role, and effectively summarizes the nature of said scheme:

Continue reading Now I’m not typically one to question your choice of cover photo…

Making sense of Lewis Black’s pre-election prophecy

One month before the election, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart holdover correspondent Lewis Black turned up on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to record a fresh segment of Back in Black. He highlighted how few Americans choose to vote and urged eligible voters to overcome personal distaste for both candidates:

Continue reading Making sense of Lewis Black’s pre-election prophecy

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

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

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

Digging for a bright spot amidst the prospective Cleveland riot gear purchase

Concerning news out of Cleveland for those invested in the future of American democracy: city police have begun to stockpile riot gear in advance of hosting the Republican National Convention in July. The news bodes ill not only for those interested in maintaining a civil discourse both within, and between, political parties, but also for those distressed by the increasing militarization of municipal police forces across the country.

Continue reading Digging for a bright spot amidst the prospective Cleveland riot gear purchase