Tag Archives: California

The right way to fact-check President Trump

During the election, media organizations were forced to create new and inventive ways to communicate Donald Trump’s new and inventive relationship with the truth. Here’s one famous example:

Such efforts went over so well that some people have clamored for the networks to deploy such correctives on a more regular basis:

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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

I expect better from a website called *Tree*hugger

California is running out of water. Almonds take a lot of water to grow. California accounts for 80% of global almond cultivation (and 99% of U.S. production). The obvious conclusion, as the BBC put it, is that “almonds are sucking California dry“. You can tell a similar story about walnuts and pistachios, if you wanted to.

But misguided as that conclusion may be, some people have taken this set of facts as a reason to reduce their overall nut consumption — and, as usual, the internet is here to help them out. Last month, Treehugger published an article titled “5 nuts not grown in California”. It explained, “National almond, walnut and pistachio crops are very thirsty, and predominantly grown in drought-stricken California; if you’re looking for alternatives, consider these.”

Seems reasonable enough. So let’s find out: which five nuts does Treehugger have in mind (cumulative nut count in parentheses)?

Continue reading I expect better from a website called *Tree*hugger

A bit of Valentine’s Day advice from Mark Zuckerberg

The Facebook trend notification that inspired the present post actually appeared on my timeline last May, but since the lesson I think it conveys seems appropriate  to Valentine’s Day, I refrained from sharing it until now.

The lesson from Mark is really very simple:

Continue reading A bit of Valentine’s Day advice from Mark Zuckerberg

What are Alison Brie’s favorite hamentaschen?

Right now might seem like a bizarre time to ask about hamentaschen, which are traditionally consumed on Purim, a Jewish holiday that will be celebrated precisely five (solar) months hence.

Until, that is, you consider the fact that Jews around the world just finished celebrating (word?) Yom Kippurim, “A Day Like Purim”, and what better way to do that than by talking about food?

And now that you’ve had your fill of Yom Kippurim Torah, let’s get back to the question you didn’t know you wanted the answer to until you saw this headline. The question first occurred to me when I spotted Ms. Brie tweet the following to her followers (of whom, for the record, I am not yet one):

Continue reading What are Alison Brie’s favorite hamentaschen?

Oakland is on the verge of a monumentally epic collapse and it’s all because they picked the wrong mascot

Today’s excuse for blogging (as opposed to working) is a first: in a few hours, the Seattle Mariners will play in game #162 of the MLB regular season with a chance to wind up, when all is said and done, with a shot at making the playoffs. The Mariners have not made the playoffs since 2001, and have not made the World Series since ever, so — though their chances may be slim — I’m having some difficulty paying attention to, say, Property.

But this post isn’t about the Mariners, because the position in which the team finds itself has so little to do with the Mariners. You see, the Mariners have Marinered — but fortunately for them, the Oakland Athletics have Marinered even worse. Without their help, the Mariners would not be one game out with a game to play in 2014.

The magnitude of Oakland’s collapse is well-rehearsed, and I have no intention of repeating it here. Suffice to say that the team held a 10 (or so) game lead in the AL West at the trade deadline, made a series of moves that was widely applauded at the time, and now sits 11 games out of first place — just 1 ahead of Seattle. According to CoolStandings, an Athletics failure to make the playoffs would mark the second-worst collapse of all time, behind only the 1995 California Angels (the team that Refused to Win).

While many point to the trade deadline as the turning point in Oakland’s season, I think it makes a lot more sense to talk about a different date that came less than a week later: August 5, 2014. Sort of curious, since the team actually won that game with an extra-inning walk-off single and then won three of their next four, but I am absolutely certain that 8/5 was the date that portended the team’s doom. Why’s that? Because this:

Continue reading Oakland is on the verge of a monumentally epic collapse and it’s all because they picked the wrong mascot

One thing to remember about the back and forth over “Genie, You’re free!”

One of — if not the most — iconic reaction to Robin Williams’ tragic passing was the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Aladdin-inspired tribute to the comic legend. Surely, you’ve seen it:

Like any major news story, Williams’ death has spawned a veritable ecosystem of sideshows and distractions (an ecosystem to which I admittedly love to add).

One such offshoot revolves around the Academy’s tweet, which has come under some criticism for allegedly aggrandizing Williams’ decision to take his own life. According to one widely-shared piece in The Washington Post:

More than 270,000 people have shared the tweet, which means that, per the analytics site Topsy, as many as 69 million people have seen it.

The problem? It violates well-established public health standards for how we talk about suicide.

“If it doesn’t cross the line, it comes very, very close to it,” said Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “Suicide should never be presented as an option. That’s a formula for potential contagion.”

I’ll readily admit Moutier might have a point. Suicide is not something that should be encouraged.

But here’s the thing: a lot of people might have shared the same tribute before the cause of Williams’ death became clear, of simply without knowing the circumstances surrounding his passing. Take, for instance, the very first time* “Genie, You’re free” appeared on Twitter Tuesday:

Continue reading One thing to remember about the back and forth over “Genie, You’re free!”

Jon Stewart desperately courts his own controversy with the Asian-American community

Stephen Colbert was recently subjected to a Twitter campaign to force him off the air — #CancelColbert — thanks to a tweet* that was published late last week by his show’s account:

Colbert tweet

As something of a reward for surviving that media firestorm, Colbert was able to devote the majority of The Report on Monday to his response. He even got to have Twitter co-founder Biz Stone on as a guest.

Never wanting to be left out, Jon Stewart did his best to grab his own piece of the controversy. In a segment about the recent arrest of Chinese-American politician Leland Yee, he made a racially-insensitive joke that lumps orientals together just like Ching Chong Ding Dong in willful ignorance of the obvious fact that Yee is neither Vietnamese-American nor named Nguyen:

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Ski Free in real life

Via the AP, Bear turns heads on Lake Tahoe ski slopes:

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — An unusual sight for winter turned some skiers’ heads on the slopes at Lake Tahoe: a black bear.

What in the world was s/he doing out there?

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Paper Treiger braces for upcoming worker’s comp claim

I always joke I want to hire an intern. Like everyone else, I’m behind on life, and an extra set of hands to do all the things I’d like to but don’t have time for would go a long way towards fixing that problem — and until I can clone myself, an intern is the only viable option.

But as I said, that’s a pipe dream; though it has twice featured guest bloggers, this blog has always been wholly owned and operated by a single individual. It has never hired an employee to do its work, dirty or otherwise.

With one exception.

Back in 2011, when Paper Treiger was the subject of virulent protest less than one short week after its inauguration, it hired UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike to disperse the dirty occupiers:

Continue reading Paper Treiger braces for upcoming worker’s comp claim