Tag Archives: Idaho

The Daily Show wasted its imagination on Marco’s road to the White House

[Editor’s note: I wrote this post a week ago. I promptly forgot to publish it. Rubio’s departure from the primary this evening simultaneously reminded me of its existence and rendered it obsolete. C’est la vie.]

Last week [Editor’s note: two weeks ago], in the immediate wake of Super Tuesday, The Daily Show put together a segment contrasting the Rubio campaign’s persistent optimism with Marco’s underwhelming performance in the Republican primaries so far:

Continue reading The Daily Show wasted its imagination on Marco’s road to the White House


The original Stephen Colbert made Stephen Colbert’s job that much harder

Erstwhile right-wing pundit Stephen Colbert famously introduced us to the concept of Wikiality coming up on ten years ago. On the now-defunct The Colbert Report, he explained that — under the rules of Wikipedia — in order for something to be considered true,

Continue reading The original Stephen Colbert made Stephen Colbert’s job that much harder

John Oliver’s evisceration of Miss America shows he doesn’t understand beauty pageant winners

In John Oliver’s acclaimed evisceration of the Miss America pageant, HBO’s new host investigated the pageant’s oft-repeated claim that it makes $45 million in scholarship money available to contestants on an annual basis. Unsurprisingly, he concluded that the stated figure substantially overstates reality.

But he was wrong,* and it’s all because his fact-finding elves didn’t dig deep enough into the types of people who compete in the pageant — and particularly, into their educational proclivities (emphasis added):

Continue reading John Oliver’s evisceration of Miss America shows he doesn’t understand beauty pageant winners

The Lincoln Memorial was vandalized last night — or was it?

The CBS headline is blunt — “Lincoln Memorial vandalized“:

Green paint was splattered overnight on parts of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., U.S. Park police say.

They say a patrol officer found green plant splashed on the floor near the famous statue of President Lincoln, and some on the base of the statue, at around 1:20 a.m. local time.

The memorial, on the National Mall, will be closed until the U.S. Park Service can clean it up.

NBC changes a few of the details, but still reaches the same conclusion — “Lincoln Memorial vandalized“:

The Lincoln Memorial will be closed until further notice after green paint was discovered on the monument Friday morning.

A visitor found the paint splattered on the statue and on the floor around it just before 1:30 a.m. and reported it to police. No words or symbols were written on the statue, News4’s Megan McGrath reported.

The U.S. Park Police say the monument will reopen once the National Park Service cleans the statue. There’s no estimate on when that work will be done, but maintenance crews are expected to arrive Friday morning.

Some people have predictably overreacted:

Clubbing seals is horrendous. Assassinating the President is horrendous. Enslaving another human being is horrendous. This is just paint.

But while it’s tempting to pin the crime on a marauding band of Germanic barbarians or the University of Idaho football team, I’m not so sure vandals were responsible. There’s another possibility that seems not to have been considered, and might just put Mr. Klapper’s outrage to rest — perhaps the Lincoln Memorial turning green is simply natural processes at work:

Continue reading The Lincoln Memorial was vandalized last night — or was it?

One questionable policy straight out of Parks & Rec

Unless you’re a Western cattle rancher or ardent conservationist, you probably haven’t been following the fight over delisting the wolf. I’m one of those two things, so I’ve been receiving emails about the issue on an almost daily basis, and will happily catch you up with some good news and some bad news.

The good news: after being driven to extinction across the continental United States, wolves were reintroduced to the Rocky Mountains during the 1990s under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. They increased in number and helped restore some of semblance of a balanced ecosystem in Yellowstone National Park and across the Mountain West.

The bad news: Before the keystone predators could recolonize their historic range — the level of recovery mandated by the Act —  two senators from Idaho and Montana (Tester and Simpson) managed to delist the wolf and return wolf management to the states.

Without even closely examining the issue from a scientific perspective — for instance, by noting the critical role played by wolves in maintaining healthy ecosystems — you can tell this was a horrible idea for three reasons:

One, Tester and Simpson only managed to get their proposal through Congress by attaching a rider to the 2011 federal budget. This method puts it in good company with other exemplars of good governance like this year’s Monsanto Protection Act, which conveniently granted the biotechnology giant a six-month period of immunity just before a farmer in Oregon announced he had discovered genetically-modified wheat illegally growing on his farm.

Two, you may recall from earlier in this post what happened last time wolves were not listed as an endangered species: we killed every. last. one. living in the United States, threw ecosystems out of whack, and had to undertake an expensive and still only partially-successful reintroduction program. I’m sure that if we remove that federal protection everything will go back to being perfectly fine.

Three, delisting devolved the responsibility of creating wolf management plans to the states. Here’s, for instance, what Montana came up with [click to embiggen if you have trouble reading it]:
Continue reading One questionable policy straight out of Parks & Rec

Why I love the internet: Exhibit A

The summer of 2001 was a magical time – and not just because it was the last period of my life living in a pre-9/11 world. It kicked off with my eighth grade trip to Israel; the Mariners did not lose a single game the entire time I was out of the country (true story). Starbucks CEO, local hero, and Sonics owner Howard Schultz delivered the commencement speech at my eighth grade graduation. My dad sent regular box score dispatches to me at camp in New York as the Mariners completed the Greatest Regular season Of All Time (GROAT) – and for once, I had something to say to those incorrigible Yankee fans.

But the final month of the summer of 2001 – the August I spent traveling the American West with Camp Lech Lecha – was the most memorable experience of them all. Lecha Lecha was a roughly three-week bus tour that traveled from Seattle to the Olympic Peninsula, swung through Idaho and Montana, down to Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, and ended with a train ride to Los Angeles, a visit to Disneyland, and a flight home — sorry, Oregon — just in time for the start of high school.

A lot has changed in the dozen years since. As you know, we now live in a post-9/11 world. Once baseball resumed, the Mariners lost to the Yankees in the playoffs (the one time I do not begrudge that team its success) and haven’t seen the postseason since. Howie sold the Sonics to Oklahoma Shitty, so yeah, I don’t think he’ll be invited back to SHA graduation. And the financial model for Lech Lecha turned out to be sadly unsustainable – after a couple more summers in operation, the camp ceased to exist.

But even with all that’s changed for the worse, those memories of that magical summer can never be taken away from me. Or from the internet. And that’s what this post is all about.

Continue reading Why I love the internet: Exhibit A

It’s useful in a pinch (pun intended), but is all that salt a good idea?

Continue reading It’s useful in a pinch (pun intended), but is all that salt a good idea?

So, how many states actually voted for Mitt Romney?

In the weeks and months leading up to November’s Presidential election, I was quite vocal about the electoral outcome I preferred.* But since the election ended, I’ve given in to the temptation to gloat only once — and even then, only sort of, and in passing.

*I would have linked to more articles but I ran out of words. OK, here’s one more.

The point of this post is not to gloat. The election is now last year’s news and Barack Obama has been sworn in as the 44 and 1/2th President of the United States of America, so I’m hoping people are not sensitive about the election anymore. Which is good, because that means I’m cleared to write about how Mitt Romney actually did worse against Obama than you thought: he won exactly four states.

Immediately after the election, there was a brief flurry of map-making. People compared the electoral map to other state-by-state breakdowns. Some of those parallels may have had something to them —

Continue reading So, how many states actually voted for Mitt Romney?