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November 4, 2012
7:31 pm PST
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The Onion editorial cartoons

I really like The Onion’s editorial cartoons. The cartoons themselves aren’t that funny, the joke is really about the cartoonist creating them. I especially like when he tries to make a broad statement about society while clearly talking about something from his own life:


http://www.theonion.com/articles/no-ribbon-no-cure,27750/?ref=auto

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November 4, 2012
7:16 pm PST
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Nature’s Best Friends

Something reminded me of this old Space Ghost clip. Only watch if you like absurd humor:

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October 29, 2012
8:53 pm PST
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Sandy

For those keeping up on the hurricane, NYT has a liveblog that I’ve found to be pretty good.

This picture is scary:

“Flood waters rush in to the Hoboken PATH station through an elevator shaft.”
(from port authority twitter feed)

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October 28, 2012
10:09 pm PST
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Decoding Romney’s platform

I honestly have no idea what Mitt Romney will do as President. Who will show up on day 1? The self-described “severe conservative” from the primaries or the moderate from the debates? I really have no idea what this guy stands for.

I looked at the spending page on his web site to try to learn more about his platform. A few things stood out to me:

Reduce Waste And Fraud — Savings: $60 Billion. The federal government made $125 billion in improper payments last year. Cutting that amount in half through stricter enforcement and harsher penalties yields returns many times over on the investment.

This is confusing to me. If you know that $125B of the payments you made were improper (you’d have to know which payments in order to get that number), why wouldn’t you cut that amount to zero? What are these payments? Who’s getting paid? What?

His plan to cap federal spending at 20% of GDP says this:

Requires spending cuts of approximately $500 billion per year in 2016 assuming robust economic recovery with 4% annual growth, and reversal of irresponsible Obama-era defense cuts

GDP growth hasn’t been at 4% in about 13 years (source). Why you would assume Clinton-era growth in this economic climate is beyond me.

The bigger issue is that he seems to promise all these things (20% tax cut, increased military spending) without calling out what he’s going to cut to balance the books. When asked this in the debate, he brought up PBS (0.0012% of the federal budget). There are two possible reasons for not telling us what he’ll cut: either he doesn’t know (thus his assurances of balancing the budget are meaningless) or he doesn’t think we’ll vote for him if he tells us. Could be both.

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October 28, 2012
9:54 pm PST
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This is not how statistics work

This was the weirdest (but maybe cleverest) line from Paul Ryan’s debate with Joe Biden:

“Do you know what the unemployment rate is in Scranton? [...] It’s 10%. You know what it was when you guys came into office? 8.5% That’s how it’s going all around America.”

What a clearly intentionally misleading statement. That statement was aimed directly at, uh, underinformed people. Why not just pick one person who is unemployed and claim that the rate is 100%? We have real statistics for this data: unemployment has been declining and is ~7.8%.

This is really the bottom of the barrel for lying with statistics. I get frustrated when people say that statistics can be used for lies, therefore they don’t trust them. Yes, statistics can mislead, but it takes an uninformed/uninterested/uneducated listener to make that misdirection really work. (I don’t mean formal education, just lacking an ability to interpret statistics, understand things like correlation vs. causation, etc.)

This post has been edited to make it slightly less condescending. These things make me cranky.

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October 28, 2012
9:40 pm PST
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If Obama wins in 2008…

In 2008, Focus on the Family sent out an article describing what would happen if Obama was elected. It was presented as a “Letter from 2012″, a warning from the future of what those 4 years would yield. They made 37 predictions and zero of them came true.

Patheos.com has a thorough walk-through of the document, if you’re interested. My favorite part of the Focus on the Family letter was the prediction that “Conservative talk radio, for all intents and purposes, was shut down by the end of 2010.” Ha!

Unsurprisingly, there’s no retraction or apology to go along with this. The same old scare tactics still work with the base, despite a four-year record. The vastly different ways in which people view Obama’s presidency is really stunning to me. I think it’s largely an issue of priming: if you think he’s a Kenyan leftist radical to begin with, you’ll view things through that prism and cherry-pick your facts from dubious sources.

This is a president who passed one of the largest tax cuts in decades (1/3 of the stimulus bill was tax cuts… a measure that garnered exactly zero republican votes). His health care bill is derived from those of Mitt Romney and Bob Dole. He has increased drone warfare dramatically (you know how liberals love those!). The public sector lost 600,000 jobs under Obama. The fact that so many people consider him such an unrecognizable shift from the status quo is really stunning to me.

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October 28, 2012
9:20 pm PST

Tight fit

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that this image was photoshopped:

Surreal.

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October 28, 2012
9:10 pm PST
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“Who won the debate?”

Jimmy Kimmel had a funny segment interviewing people about the presidential debate before the debate happened:

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October 28, 2012
9:09 pm PST
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For the record

During the foreign policy debate, Mitt Romney referred to Syria as Iran’s “route to the sea”. They don’t actually share a border, and Iran already borders the sea:

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October 12, 2012
8:31 am PST
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Flip Flip Ctd.

From The Onion:
Romney Proudly Explains How He’s Turned Campaign Around: ‘I’m Lying More,’ He Says

“The best part is, it’s really easy to lie,” said Romney, who added that voicing whatever untruths come into his mind at any given moment is an easy thing to do because all it requires is opening his mouth and talking. “For example, if someone accuses me of having a tax plan that makes no discernable sense, I just lie and say that I do have a tax plan that makes sense. I also say there is a study that backs up my plan. See that? Simple. None of it is remotely true, of course, but now we’re moving on to the next topic because people are usually too afraid to ask me straight up if I’m lying, because that is apparently not something you ask someone who is running for president.”

One of those funny-because-it’s-true things.

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