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Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Liberal Purity Test

Since news broke (thanks Fox Business!) that President Obama has agreed to give a speech in September for which he will be paid $400 thousand, many liberals have, for lack of a better phrase, lost their freaking minds. Heady, philosophical comments litter social media, written by Pure Liberals. Yes, Pure Liberals are an actual thing, it turns out, and they have very specific requirements for other liberals.

Are you a Pure Liberal? Do you spend sleepless nights staring at the ceiling, wondering if you're liberal enough? Wonder no more! Answer the following questions, add up your score, and you will know for certain if you can call yourself a liberal.

Grab a piece of paper, or a Post-It, and something to write with, and let's get down to the business of discovering just how liberal you really are.

Question 1:

Do you own a home?

1) No
2) Yes
3) More than one
4) More than two
5) Can I call estates homes?

Question 2:

Do you have a job?

1) No
2) Yes, part-time work for someone else
3) Yes, full-time work for someone else
4) Yes, I own a company/multiple companies
5) Is sailing about on my yacht considered a job?

Do you own a car?

1) No
2) Yes, but it's pretty old
3) Yes, but I owe money on it
4) I own several
5) I own so many cars, my garage is larger than your house

Do you own jewelry?

1) A friendship bracelet I made in camp when I was 12, and a brass pinky ring
2) Yes, but it's mostly paste
3) Yes, I have a few nice pieces I inherited from my mom
4) I have a safety deposit box for my jewelry
5) I have a vault in my home for my jewelry

Do you own stock?

1) God no
2) I have a 401k through work, is that stock?
3) What's a mutual fund again?
4) A bit, but no blue chips
5) I make TD Ameritrade my bitch

Are you white?

1) Yes, but I am deeply ashamed of that and sign lots of Change dot org petitions
2) Yes, sadly
3) No
4) Yes, but I recognize my own white privilege, and listen to people of color
5) Yes, but I've been to Black Lives Matter protests, and I listen to people of color

Are you cis?

1) No
2) Yes
3) What?
4) Is that Latin?
5) Yes, but I understand many people are not, and am learning more about that

Have you ever had an abortion?

1) Yes
2) No
3) No, I'm a man
4) No, I've never been in a situation where I had to make that choice
5) I could not get an abortion, but I support a woman's right to choose

Who did you vote for in 2016?

1) I wrote in Bernie Sanders
2) Jill Stein
3) I didn't vote because ILLUMINATI
4) Donald Trump
5) Hillary Clinton

Do you find President Obama's reported $400 thousand speaking fee offensive?

1) Deeply offensive, morally repugnant, there are children starving to death, shame on him
2) He's black, shouldn't he remember that?
3) If Wall Street can cough up that kind of money, why shouldn't Obama take it?
4) That's the dumbest question on this thing, and there are a lot of dumb questions on this thing
5) Oh my sweet Jesus, who cares?

And done! Now, let's add up your score. Here's the key:

1=1 point
2=2 points
3=3 points
4=4 points
5=5 points

A score of 10 is what we're aiming for here; anything higher than that, you're not a liberal.

Is this a sarcastic test? Sort of. But sarcasm is the only way to deal with Pure Liberals. Jonathan Odell, nationally-renowned author, wrote "Obama is a sellout because he doesn't eat vegan and make his own shoes from tree bark." Trevor Noah went on a wee tirade on the Daily Show, and pretty much summed it up perfectly.

Then there's this fantastic, amazing article, so fantastic and amazing, I want to take it to dinner.

And of course, Pure Liberals are ignoring some key information about the company that wants to pay President Obama $400 thousand: Cantor Fitzgerald. Does that name ring a bell? It should. On September 11, one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center flew pretty much directly into Cantor Fitzgerald. The CEO was running late that day; he took his kid to kindergarten. So he spent the next five years giving the families of his employees who died that awful day 25% of Cantor Fitzgerald profits, and the next ten years paying their insurance. Yeah, he's a real piece of shit isn't he.

You know who else gets paid to give speeches? Cornel West. Granted, he's not being offered $400 thousand, but $30-$50 thousand is still more than a lot of folks make in a year. I don't recall Pure Liberals losing their shit on Facebook over Dr. West's speaking fees, do you?

It seems it's alright for a black man to get paid for his work, as long as he's getting paid an amount that doesn't offend white people.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thanks to Nordstrom, Men Can Strut Around in $425 Jeans Covered in Mud

Image from Nordstrom

First, Nordstrom brought women jeans with transparent knees, and women said "Why? What? EW!" Realizing that men were being left out of the horrible denim pants market, the marketing geniuses at Nordstrom came up with a banner idea: Men's jeans that are covered in mud and insanely overpriced. And the Barracuda Jean was born.

These jeans are just awful in so many ways. Obviously, the price is awful. $425 for these suckers (and the suckers are both the jeans and any idiot who buys them). You know where I bought my last pair of jeans? Goodwill. You know what I would spend $425 on? BILLS. FOOD. MAYBE A VACATION FOR TWO WHOLE DAYS WITH MY HUSBAND BECAUSE WE HAVE BILLS AND NEED FOOD sorry, let me turn caps lock off.

But the true awfulness of the Barracuda jean is the mud. Setting aside that Nordstrom does not have these jeans for women, because obviously, women never get dirty, let's have a little chat about the mud. What's the point of the mud? To make men who get manicures look like they work for a living.

Don't get me wrong-there are plenty of jobs for men that don't involve dirt. Accounting, medicine, science, retail, hair stylist, IT. And I'm sure most of the men who perform these jobs are wonderful, amazing people who look at the Barracuda jean and gently pound their head into a wall. The men who are probably not-so-gently pounding their heads into walls are men who do get dirty for a living.

Farmers, for example. Farmers who buy their jeans at the local Farm and Fleet for about $45. Who get up before the sun to plant, grow, and harvest the food we eat. Find me a farmer who saw a pair of Barracuda jeans at Nordstrom and said "Oh those are neat, and so reasonably priced!"

These jeans are a costume, a way for men who last touched mud when they were toddlers to feel masculine. Look at the tagline Nordstrom came up with for the Barracuda jean:

Heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans in a comfortable straight-leg fit embody rugged, Americana workwear that's seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you're not afraid to get down and dirty.

Americana "workwear" that, oddly, is made in Portugal.

If you have $425 to throw away on a pair of jeans, good for you. Seriously. Having that kind of disposable income in this day and age is darn impressive. But if you're considering spending $425 on a pair of pre-muddied jeans just to make yourself look unafraid "to get down and dirty," may I humbly suggest actually getting dirty. Go plant a tree, volunteer to clean up a part of your town, build a house for Habitat for Humanity, volunteer with the Peace Corps, work with your neighbors to build a playground or community garden.

Dirt is part of life, and it's part of many jobs performed by unappreciated men and women every day. Nordstrom missed the mark by a mile with the Barracuda jean. If they thought this was somehow an homage to the working man, they were so, so wrong. The Barracuda jean mocks everything blue collar workers do, it mocks the men and women who grow and harvest our food, fix our roads, maintain our parks, build our homes, all those jobs so many of us take for granted.

You want to do something good with your extra $425? Donate it. Buy non-perishable food items and drop them off at a local food bank. Sponsor a kid at summer camp. But don't buy these offensive, stupid, overpriced, made in Portugal, pre-muddied jeans.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Show your support of Donald Trump with MAGA sneakers made in China!

Image from Printed Kicks

Monday morning, a man named Buddy came strutting into a comment thread on Facebook. Buddy, who is older and very, very white, is a YUGE Trump supporter. Buddy's Facebook page is littered with sludge from alt-right and conservative websites, memes about Muslims, and of course, smoochie posts about family, grandkids, and how women follow his orders. One thing on Buddy's page caught the eye of your intrepid sciblerian (hat tip to Bill Smithback): an ad for sneakers.

These are not just any sneakers, oh no, these are MAGA sneakers. MAGA stands for Make America Gentile Great Again, which is Donald Trump's propagandist slogan. The company that sells such amazingly awful sneakers, Printed Kicks, is fairly sparse on details about said sneakers, specifically where they are made. So, I emailed Printed Kicks:

Quick question about your MAGA sneakers: Where are they made? I can't find that info on your website.


Printed Kicks wrote back! Exciting!

We are actually a USA owned company.  Some of our products are manufactured in China and some are manufactured in the USA. For the shoes, they are made in China. 


Shoes. China. But the MAGA shoes might be made right here in America, right? Time to clarify:

So to clarify, the MAGA sneakers are made in China, correct?


Erin Nanasi

At this point, I got bored because I figured Joyce would catch on that I wasn't just a curious soon-to-be customer, so I went for a walk with my husband. It's a beautiful day, the only one this week, the trees are blossoming, we saw a butterfly, and...sorry. Anyway, Joyce emailed me back:

Yes. That is correct.


To be clear, SCROTUS most likely has no connection to Printed Kicks, but since he won't release any tax returns, and his finances are as murky as the water in Chernobyl, who knows, but probably. Maybe.

Make America Grope Great Again sneakers made in China. You know how much these little suckers cost? $59.99. They're on sale, though, marked down from $119.98. Yes, really. See for yourself. I can buy a really nice pair of shoes from an American maker for $120. There's even a list I can reference to make sure my next pair of loafers or sandals or sneakers is made right here in the U.S.A. This list. Bookmark it.

Buddy wants everyone to know how much he loves Donald Trump. Printed Kicks loves Donald Trump too, so much so, they are following in his footsteps: pretending to be patriotic while selling overpriced crap from China.

Buddy is your typical Trump supporter. Fervently anti-everything not white and Christian and straight, Buddy promotes products made overseas because they have a flag emblazoned on the front or side or wherever. Made in America doesn't matter to Buddy, as long as it makes him look like he loves this country. Or at least his version of it. A version where women do as they are told, where white, straight, Protestant men have all the power, there's lead in the gas, no EPA, and black people can't vote or become president.

Hope Buddy gets his Chinese-made pro-Trump MAGA sneakers before the sale is over.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Doctor forcibly removed from United flight to make room for United employees

Image of doctor being dragged of flight 3411 from New York Times

United Airlines is facing another PR disaster this morning, thanks to the forcible, and violent, removal of a passenger from one of their flights. United CEO Oscar Munoz's statement on the event:

The upsetting event Mr. Munoz refers to is the actions of his company on United flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, that resulted in a doctor having his face slammed against an armrest then dragged down the center aisle of a United plane. And why was this doctor assaulted on a United plane? Because United had overbooked the flight, and needed four seats for United staff. From NPR:

Passengers on a United flight from Chicago to Louisville, Ky., were horrified when a man was forcibly removed — violently wrenched from his seat and physically dragged down the aisle — to clear a seat for airline staff.

United has not responded to NPR's requests for comment, but on Twitter, a representative of the airline said the flight in question was "overbooked" and that "one customer refused to leave."
"This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United," company CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement. He said the airline is conducting a "detailed review" of what happened and reaching out to the passenger in question.

Multiple videos and photos were posted on social media, and other passengers described the incident online — at first upset about the delay, and then horrified by the violent turn of events.

Witnesses say passengers had already boarded on Sunday evening at O'Hare International Airport when United asked for volunteers to take another flight the next day to make room for four United staff members who needed seats.

The airline offered $400 and a free hotel, passenger Audra D. Bridges told the Louisville Courier-Journal. When no one volunteered, the offer was doubled to $800. When there were still no bites, the airline selected four passengers to leave the flight — including the man in the video and his wife.
"They told him he had been selected randomly to be taken off the flight," Bridges said on Facebook. She said there was no incident involving the man until he was told to give up his seat.

The man said he was a doctor, and that he "needed to work at the hospital the next day," passenger Jayse Anspach said on Twitter.

"He said he wasn't going to [get off the plane]," Bridges wrote on Facebook. "He was talking to his lawyer on the phone."

Then United brought in the police.

Both Bridges and Anspach posted videos of three law enforcement officers, who appear to be wearing the uniforms of Chicago aviation police, wrenching the man out of his seat, prompting wails. His face appeared to strike an armrest. Then they dragged his limp body down the aisle.

Having worked in the hotel industry, I understand overbooking. Statistically, when you have rooms reserved, a handful of people will "no show" on their reservations. In order to fill those rooms, hotels will give them to other guests, just in case. Airlines do the same thing. It's perfectly legal, and in many cases, works out fine. When it goes sideways, however, things can get very bad very quickly.

Airlines have always offered monetary compensation to passengers who are forced (or volunteer) to give up their seats. The airline will assist the guest in finding another flight, either on the original airline or another, they will pay for the guest to stay at a hotel if another flight is not available that day. But removing contracted passengers to make room for your own employees? And removing a passenger so violently, his lip is split open? What in the world did United employees tell law enforcement to instigate such a violent response?

People are upset with law enforcement for what was done to the doctor, and at first glance, that makes sense. What you have to understand, though, is United employees on that flight called law enforcement. Whatever those employees told the officers who responded convinced those officers they were walking into a dangerous situation. It could have been a terrorist, someone becoming violent against passengers or crew, the only information officers had was whatever United employees gave them. Thus, it would seem the crew of flight 3411 exaggerated the doctor's behavior to the point where law enforcement believed brute force was the only response.

The fault for this lies squarely with United Airlines. I have 30 years of customer and guest service experience, and this is the worst thing I have ever seen. And it's made even more awful by the fact that United did all of this to make room for four of their own employees.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Bachmann Diaries: We're One Step Closer to the End Times!

Dear Diary,

For years, I have been talking about the End Times, and how we are moving ever closer to Armageddon. Under Obama, it would have been a horrible thing, because he was the antichrist, but under President Trump, it will be a glorious event, filled with angels and singing and damnation for all the unbelievers and the liberals. And my heart is full of joy this morning, because we are one step closer!

President Trump bombed Syria last night. Which falls right in line with Isaiah 17:

Damascus is going to cease to be a city,
she will become a heap of ruins.
Her towns, abandoned for ever,
will be pastures for flocks.
There they will rest with no one to frighten them away.
Ephraim will lose his defenses
and Damascus her sovereignty;
the remnant of Aram will be treated
in the same was as the glory of the Israelites.
It is the Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

This is a wondrous day indeed. Creator God has spoken to all Christians through the actions of our most righteous president, and we will see the Glory of God soon. There are some other things that must come to pass, but with President Trump at the helm, I think those events will happen.

Obviously, the fall of Babylon is important, and I know for a fact President Trump understands this. John Hagee, along with David Barton and others, have been advising President Trump in secret for months, making sure he understands how to bring about the End Times, and cleanse the Earth of all the heathens. Isaiah predicted the fall of Babylon as well, when he wrote:

Babylon, that pearl of kingdoms,
the jewel and boast of Chaldaeans,
like Sodom and Gomorrah,
shall be overthrown by God.
Never more will anyone live there or be born there
from generation to generation.
No Arab will pitch his tent there,
nor shepherds feed their flocks.
But beasts of the desert will lie there,
and owls fill its houses.
Ostriches will make their home there
and satyrs will have their dances there.
Hyenas will call to each other in its keeps,
jackals in the luxury of its palaces...
Its time is almost up,
its days will not last long.

Now as we all know, the site of Babylon is in Iraq, which is why George W. Bush invaded Iraq. He doesn't know that's why he invaded Iraq, but Creator God knows. Obviously, Bush failed, but President Trump will succeed. All we have to do is wipe Iraq off the map, along with Syria, Iran, and Palestine, and we can usher in a glorious new world.

I for one am beyond excited. Obviously, Marcus and I will be richly rewarded for all the good deeds we have performed on Earth. I tried to keep America from legalizing gay marriage, I tried to keep Minnesota from passing those ridiculous anti-bullying laws, I have followed the interpreted teachings of Jesus. Those teachings were interpreted for me by Jan Markell, Pat Robertson, and Franklin Graham. According to Jan, Pat, and Franklin, Jesus didn't mean for us to take care of actual poor people. Those poor people are a metaphor, and what Jesus actually meant was we are supposed to take care of fellow Christians. Only fellow Christians.

And Christians will be embraced and glorified by Holy God once Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Palestine are gone, and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel once again. Sadly, Jews won't go to Heaven, because they are unbelievers, but Marcus and I are planning a trip over there this summer to convert all the Jews. Obviously, not all of them will do it, but that's okay-we don't want an overcrowded Heaven, looking like some sort of government housing project!

Diary, I am spending the entire weekend on my knees, praying that Creator God protects our brave and honest president. President Trump must stay the course to bring about the End Times, and with our help, I know he will.

No Arab will pitch his tent there. Oh what a joyous world we are about to see!

Love, Saint Michelle xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

*link to important stuff here*

Thursday, April 6, 2017

What is Fake News?

Image from Snopes

Elvis Presley died in August of 1977. Within a few months, tabloid headlines screamed "ELVIS ALIVE!," showing us a grainy black and white photo of someone they claimed was Elvis Presley, fishing or hiking or running a rural gas station. For many people, that was our first contact with fake news.

Fake news has been around a long time, but prior to the internet, it was contained. People who wanted to convince others we never landed on the moon, or lizard-like aliens wearing human meat suits were running the government, were forced to write letters to the editor, or scribble their musings on cocktail napkins. Some of them, like David Icke, managed to get published, but even then, their audiences were minimal.

Then came ARAPNET, which became the internet, and all bets were off. The nice lady down the block who believes fluoride killed her cat suddenly has a blog, and a You Tube channel. Mike Adams starts Natural News, Food Babe is born, World Net Daily crawls out of the slime, and millions of fans dip their online toes into a cesspool of lies.

The First Amendment protects your right to lie online. If Pizzagate had not devolved into an armed man entering a restaurant, looking for nonexistent children in a nonexistent basement, that fake news story would still be going. Even now, after the whole thing has been proven as completely fake, there are people who believe Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were running a child sex slave ring out of a pizza joint. In a just world, the sociopaths who started Pizzagate would be arrested for their role in the outcome of that fake news, but we don't have a just world online. Online, you can publish articles you make up in the shower, you can make a small (or large) fortune convincing people lies are truth, and you can wreak havoc on anyone you don't like.

Over the past ten years, fake news has exploded, thanks in no small part to Google Ads. In less time than it will take me to write this, someone can set up a Google blog, create an AdSense account, slap in ad code, and start writing absolutely fake news. Someone like Dimitri.

Dimitri (not his real name) lives in a small town in Macedonia, and is one of about twenty teenagers who got rich during the 2016 election by creating and posting fake news. According to his interview with NBC News, Dimitri made $60,000 in six months. And who read his fake articles, and clicked on his ads? Trump supporters:

Nothing can beat Trump's supporters when it comes to social media engagement. So that's why we stick with Trump.

During the interview, Dimitri showed NBC a receipt from Google for $8,000. He stated that is just one of many advertising accounts he has with Google, and bragged about making $27,000 in just one month as the election grew closer.

Disclaimer: I also have Google Ads on my website, but since I don't write fake news or click bait, I almost never meet my AdSense threshold, and the most I have ever earned is about $130.

There is a difference between fake news and click bait, just as there is a difference between fake and hyper partisan. And just because you personally don't like a website doesn't make it fake news. There are many sites on both the left and the right I refuse to visit, or even link, because the people running them are morally repugnant. That doesn't make them fake news websites; it makes them slimy, awful sites, managed by people who couldn't write their way out of a paper bag. Calling a click bait or aggregate site "fake news" makes it more difficult to find real sources, and often leads to more confusion.

Here's what I think is a surefire way to determine if something is fake news: Hyperlinks that never go to articles other than those written by the author. If you are reading an article and click a link that takes you to another article written by the author, and you click links in that article that take you get the idea. At the very least, that is an opinion piece, not news, and at the very worst, you're at Natural News, and will learn that Sandy Hook never happened. No, I am not going to link to Natural News-that website is complete and utter bullshit, Mike Adams is a monster, and I would rather drink goat urine than contribute to his rather vast fortune.

Want to fight fake news? Crave honest reporting and writing? Avoid click bait, trust your gut, and get your news from news sources. ProPublica, AP, Reuters, C-SPAN. You can lean a bit left or right, and read Forbes (the actual articles, not the blog), WSJ, NPR, or Politico. NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN are not hyper partisan, plus they sometimes have videos of puppies to break up the day, and keep us from curling up into fetal positions.

Now I am not a journalist, so I do not qualify as a news source. But I promise you, I never write fake news that is not satire. I don't use click bait, and I don't just link back to my own articles. Even though I am not a journalist, I adhere to journalistic standards and ethics, which is why I no longer write for anyone else. Large liberal and conservative sites have become nothing but aggregating, click bait, partisan crap, published only for revenue, truth be damned. Facebook incest (pages created for the sole purpose of promoting one or two websites) is making it harder and harder to ferret out the truth, which in turn makes it extremely difficult to tell fact from fiction.

Schools are starting to teach kids how to spot fake news. Can we get some classes for the grownups, too?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Exclusive: Donald Trump Admits Huge Secret; Republicans Reeling!

Image of Robot Chicken from Adult Swim

A Washington, DC insider has revealed Donald Trump's biggest secret, and Republicans are bewildered and shocked. Already reeling from Mike Pence's revealing interview about scary women, lunch habits, and baguettes, the GOP really couldn't handle any more news, but news is precisely what they're getting this lovely Saturday morning. Bad news. Sad!

The insider, who wants to remain anonymous only because he might move a bathtub this weekend and doesn't want to "fall out a window," told me late Friday night Donald Trump has no idea what he's doing. From the staffer, who we'll call Shaun Spicier:

"He signs anything you put in front of him. He signed an empty toilet roll. He signed a cat. He's signed curtain panels, the bottom of his tiny desk, a box of cereal, his own hand, hell, he tried to sign a gum wrapper, but the pen wouldn't write on the shiny part. Oh and that whole coal thing? Trump thinks coal miners are digging for diamonds, and that in like a year, we'll all have cars and homes that run on diamonds. And you know why he hates China so much? About fifteen years ago, he got food poisoning from some kung pao chicken. Seriously, that's it. Oh crap, hang on."

At this point, the phone went dead, and frankly, I thought the worst. Polonium in his coffee? Ebola virus in his shampoo? Smallpox in his neck cream?

Thankfully, Mr. Spicier called back. He had been startled by a loud chicken in his backyard, but all was well. He continued:

"Honest to God, Trump has no idea what he's doing. Do you know why he picked Mike Pence? He thinks Pence is older than he is because of the hair. If Trump would stop coloring his hair with orange Jell-O, it'd be this weird gray-white-purple color. Pence is 57. Which makes him younger than Trump, by...give me sec, math is hard...13 years? Yep, 13 years. Dude, I did that in my head! BAM! Anyway, this Russia thing is totally real. I go out there every damn day, look the press in the eye, that's not what I do, I work at Home Depot no Walmart no I work as a bathroom attendant in the Library of Congress aw shit. I gotta go, sorry, hey there's a black helicopter landing on my roof. Now there's like 5 black SUVs in my driveway. OH MY GOD THAT CHICKEN WAS A ROBOT!"

Mr. Spicier contacted me via burner phone Saturday morning. He was calling from a secure location in Lebanon, Kansas. It seems he fled his house after a gun battle with the robot chicken, and drove all night to Kansas. He stopped at a crossroads, and contacted a close friend we'll call Mr. Crowley. Mr. Crowley in turn took Shaun Spicier to friends who have a bunker, and that seems to be where Mr. Spicier is staying for the time being.

Fear coursing through his pudgy, quivering body, Shaun Spicier tried to continue our conversation. At points during the chat, I could hear him holding back tears. He admitted to me that during a sleep-driving moment late Friday night, he heard a million voices all cry out at once, and they cried out his nickname in college, Shaun Sphincter. Voice cracking, he courageously repeated his claims about Donald Trump, even though, as he eloquently stammered, "That fucking robot chicken is coming after me I know it."

We ended our phone call a few minutes ago. Mr. Spicier's call waiting indicated another caller, and he doesn't know how to switch back and forth, so he hung up on me. I wish him Godspeed, and hope his friends in Kansas can keep him safe from the robot chicken.

*Obviously, this is April Fool's, because there's no way the Winchesters would let Sean Spicer into the bunker. But it's also not April Fool's, because Donald Trump has no idea what he's doing, and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he had tried to sign a cat.