April 2008 Archives

The Daily Show: Abstinence - The Global War In Your Pants genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

In the following video, Jon Stewart tackles the question of abstinence-only sex education (with all of the appropriate sarcasm) and the fact that it has proven ineffective in reducing teen pregnancies and the transmission of STD's.

He first offers us a look at some of the techniques used and some of the arguments being offered by those opposed to comprehensive sex education. You're bound to love the dirty toothbrush example as well as the "god stick and shame cave" analogy that Stewart attributes to the likes of Senator Brownback. It's a good thing we've advanced from more primitive deterrent strategies and adopted these advanced measures of preventing children from exploring their sexuality.

He closes the segment with a pubic service announcement promoting dry humping as a reasonable alternative to getting 'dirty'. Stewart tells teens that dry humping is safe...it avoids the need for those disgusting condoms...and it allows you to still get into heaven.

Tagged as: Abstinence-Only Education, Condoms, Humor, Jon Stewart, Pregnancy, Religion, Senator Sam Brownback, Sex, The Daily Show

Daniel DiRito | April 30, 2008 | 2:16 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Sarcasm: The Onion & Seinfeld's "You're So Good Looking" genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

In the following video, The Onion reports that the vast majority of praise (compliments) is not sincere and is actually offered with sarcasm.

It reminded me of a Seinfeld episode titled The Good Samaritan. In the episode, George jumps the gun on acknowledging the sneeze of a woman in the presence of her husband. The husband is angered because George didn't allow enough time for the husband to issue the first "God bless you".

As the show progresses, the Seinfeld crew continues to debate George's alleged faux pas. During the discussion, Jerry decides that telling someone "God bless you" after they sneeze isn't really all that meaningful. Instead, Jerry suggests it would make people feel better if we said, "You're so good looking".

Since virtually everything on Seinfeld had to do with sarcasm, it seemed to perfectly complement the tongue-in-cheek satire offered by The Onion. With that said, next time you hear someone sneeze, give Jerry's suggestion a go and see if you get a thank you or a glare that tells you your smart ass sarcasm isn't appreciated.

Tagged as: George Costanza, God Bless You, Humor, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarcasm, Seinfeld, Sneezing, The Good Samaritan, The Onion, Video

Daniel DiRito | April 30, 2008 | 1:01 PM | link | Comments (2)
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Cross-Race Recognition Deficit: Why Linking Obama To Wright Is Wrong genre: Hip-Gnosis & Nouveau Thoughts & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

I've got a different take on the focus that is being placed on the statement's of Jeremiah Wright and their relationship to the candidacy of Barack Obama. I agree that he isn't doing Senator Obama any favors by appearing at numerous events...especially since many Americans seemed willing to accept his explanations and observations on the issue of race following the first release of excerpts from Pastor Wright's sermons.

However, realizing the detrimental effect of Pastor Wright's continued presence in the spotlight ignores an essential and salient question...one that asks why Wright's ongoing remarks and the associated media attention continues to result in a strong and persistent linkage to Senator Obama...despite the Senator's lucid observations on the complexities of race in America.

As I've watched this situation unfold, I've had a nagging suspicion that something else was at play. Fortunately, as I saw today's endless coverage of the topic, I was able to connect these troubling events with a theory I previously discovered as a result of my endless curiosity with human psychology. The theory hasn't received all that much attention though I suspect it soon will.

The theory, and my related hypothesis, suggests that the incessant linkage of Obama with Jeremiah Wright is indicative of a phenomenon that has typified race relations in this country for many years. The psychological concept has it's origin in the study of "cross-race recognition deficit"...or what would be commonly known as a predisposition to conclude that "they all look the same" when attempting to distinguish individuals of a race that differs from our own. Hence we are prone to conclude that 'they' all look alike...and more importantly...that 'they' are in fact alike in ways that exceed or transcend their physical descriptions or characteristics.

The following provides a basic explanation of, and a primer on, the research that underlies the theory of "cross-race recognition deficit".

From The American Psychological Association:

WASHINGTON - Why do people of one racial group fail to recognize faces from another racial group? This so-called cross-race recognition deficit, a topic of debate within the social science community, is sometimes explained by suggesting that people have less experience seeing faces from other races. But, a new research finding by Kent State University psychologist Daniel T. Levin, Ph.D., suggests that the information people "see" when looking at the face of a person of another race is information that allows them to classify the person as White or Black but is not information which allows them to individualize the person, such as the color of their eyes or shape of their nose.

Dr. Levin's conclusions, as published in the December issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, published by the American Psychological Association, is based on experiments designed to determine the kind of information people retain when looking at cross-race faces.

In his first experiment, Levin compared how well people recognize faces of other races with how readily they locate these faces in a visual search task. He made two average faces, one derived from 16 Black faces morphed together and a second created when 16 White faces were morphed together. These Black and White faces were at either ends of a cross-race spectrum of faces.

Using these faces, Levin tested 25 participants (the participants were nearly all White, with a few Asians also included) on their ability to locate a Black face amid a series of White faces or visa versa. Next, the same participants were shown yearbook photos of 16 White and 16 Black male students. They were then shown another set of photos and asked to indicate whether any of the second set also appeared in the yearbook photos.

As expected, on the face memory test using yearbook photos, participants were better at recognizing White faces than they were at recognizing Black ones. But, paradoxically, participants who performed most poorly in recognizing Black faces in the yearbook photo test were most likely in the first part of the experiment - the visual search task -- to locate Black faces among the White faces more quickly than the White faces among Black faces.

This occurs, according to Levin, because the information people focus on when looking at a face of another racial group is information that is optimal for group classification (that's a Black man") rather than individual recognition ("that's a man with a mustache and a down-turned mouth").

"Participants who were poor at recognizing black faces appear to code blackness as a visual feature while they may not code whiteness at all," says Dr. Levin. "The problem is not that we can't code the details of cross-race faces; it's that we don't. Instead, we substitute group information, or information about the race, for information about the features that help us tell individual people apart."

I contend that Dr. Levin's work on the subject is on the leading edge of better understanding what we're witnessing with regards to the campaign of Senator Obama and thus pushing us towards our next foray into understanding the impact of race in America.

Specifically, the notion of substituting group information or information about a particular race for the discriminations needed to distinguish one individual from another are at play with regards to the remarks of Pastor Wright and the linkage being applied as a result of Senator Obama's membership in his church.

Let's look more closely at the details of Dr. Levin's research. In his follow up work, Dr. Levin provides evidence that suggests that the recognition deficit does exist but he takes it a step further when he exposes the possibility that the deficit doesn't result from an inability to identify subtle differences; rather it may well be that we simply don't or won't.

The fact that he quickly demonstrates that it can be done with a minimal amount of instruction suggests that we're prone to what I would characterize as 'lumping'. Essentially lumping means that once we distinguish race, we frequently go no further in order to identify or delineate for the characteristics of each individual. I would argue that this process of generalization is apt to transcend physical attributes. If so, it may well explain why the words of Pastor Wright are being indelibly attached to Senator Obama.

From Monitor On Psychology:

People are notoriously awful at recognizing faces from other races. It's a human foible often explained by the notion that we have more experience looking at members of our own race and thus acquire "perceptual expertise" for characteristics of our own kind.

One influential version of that hypothesis argues that the so-called cross-race recognition deficit can be modeled by assuming that faces of other races are more psychologically similar than are faces of one's own race. But Daniel Levin, PhD, a cognitive psychologist at Kent State University, has been unsatisfied with that argument.

"The perceptual expertise position is pretty intuitive, and it makes sense," he says. "But I'm arguing that it's not really the case. The problem is not that we can't code the details of cross-race faces--it's that we don't."

Instead, he says, people place inordinate emphasis on race categories--whether someone is white, black or Asian--ignoring information that would help them recognize people as individuals. In recent research, Levin has shown that people can, in fact, perceive fine differences among faces of people from other races--as long as they're using those differences to make race classifications.

Levin hypothesized that when people see cross-race faces, they code race-specifying information at the expense of individuating information--something they don't do when they see same-race faces.

To test the notion that people are able to perceive subtle differences among faces of people from other races, Levin next explored how readily people distinguish among cross-race faces versus own-race faces in making race classifications. Using the two average black and white faces from the earlier experiments, he created a continuum of faces that ran from black at one end to white at the other. Thirteen participants viewed pairs of faces that differed by 20 percent along the black-white continuum. For half the trials, participants judged which of the two faces was most similar to the face at the black end point face. For the other half, they judged which was most similar to the face at the white end.

He found that participants were more often accurate when discriminating between two faces at the black end of the continuum than they were for faces at the white end of the continuum. That finding demonstrates, Levin explains, that people possess the perceptual expertise to detect minute differences among cross-race faces.

A final experiment corroborated those results. As before, for faces on a black-white continuum, participants were better at discriminating between subtly different black faces than they were for subtly different white faces. But on a different continuum that had black faces at both end points, making it impossible for faces to be distinguished based on race, participants did not show such skill at discriminating between faces. That suggests that the extent to which the subtle variations convey race information, as opposed to individuating information, is an important part of the discrimination task, Levin argues.

The excerpt that follows includes remarks from other researchers on the validity of Levin's observations and conclusions. While a discussion of the data would clearly need to be more complex than the text provided below, the gist of the alternate argument contends that Levin fails to provide evidence of reversal...meaning Whites and Blacks should exhibit similar abilities to 'classify' the faces of other races.

A prior political event may help us understand why the reversal sought by others isn't necessary to confirm Levin's hypothesis. In fact, the example may actually direct us towards the additional research needed to conclusively support Dr. Levin's contention that one must look at the differences in majority and minority status to fully understand the causations and ramifications of this theory. That further body of work could also substantiate the extrapolations I'm making with regards to Reverend Wright and Senator Obama.

Back in 1960, John Kennedy's candidacy was endangered by his Catholicism despite his assertions he wouldn't be beholding to or guided by those in Rome. He, like Senator Obama, found it necessary to explain his membership and the fact that he would remain a participant in his church of choice. Skeptical voters sought assurances that he could separate the duties and objectives of his party and the office of the president from the doctrines and objectives perceived to be espoused by his clergy.

Many years later, in 2004, John Kerry met with the disfavor of a number of leaders of the Catholic Church. His support for a woman's right to choose (and other positions) was in opposition to the teachings of the Church yet his ongoing commitment to his religion of choice didn't elicit suspicions as to his allegiances or what he might do once elected. With the passage of decades, those who chose to support John Kerry were able and willing to accept that the Senator's beliefs differed from those within the hierarchy of his church. In fact, he was even able to separate his own personal beliefs on abortion from the constitutional obligations he felt came with winning the presidency.

Returning to reversal, Levin disagrees, as do I, that it is a requirement to validate his hypothesis. Instead, it likely means that further research and better understandings are necessary to explain why there may be an absence of reversal in the minority group. To that end, I suspect that minorities simply begin to internalize the categorizations that society imposes...regardless of whether they have been applied by the majority consciously or as a matter of unconscious, though ingrained discriminations.

In fact, I believe that those who feel such recognitions are applied as negative attributions would be resistant to adopt the use of similar discriminations. While doing so could be construed (by the minority) at some level to be a measure of retribution, it could also lend support to those seeking vindication for their actions and validation of their generalized, though often arbitrary, attributions. I suspect the absence of reversal in minorities is therefore accompanied by an increase in dissonance. Over time, the negative discriminations...and thus the dissonance...may well abate as assimilation is advanced.

From Monitor On Psychology:

Tim Valentine, PhD, of Goldsmiths College, University of London, also challenges Levin's interpretation. In order for Levin to support his claim that people more quickly classify other-race faces according to their race than they classify own-race faces, he says, "it is necessary to show that an effect for one race of participants reverses for the other race--for example, that black participants classify white faces faster than black faces. Levin has never shown this crossover that is critical for his hypothesis."

Levin disagrees, however, that showing such a reversal is critical. His argument, he emphasizes, depends only on having found that people who are poorest at recognizing cross-race faces are in fact best at discriminating between them on the basis of race.

And Levin concurs with Mullen that members of minority groups are likely to respond differently than are members of majority groups. Indeed, he points out, his report discusses previous research that suggests that minority group members tend to code not only people of other races at the category level, but also do so for people of their own race.

Ultimately, suggests Alice O'Toole, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Dallas who also studies face recognition, Levin's new findings may be compatible with perceptual expertise and similarity hypotheses.

"I see less division in the ideas than he does," O'Toole says. "One consequence of the perceptual problems that we may have with other-race faces could simply be that race is just a much more salient aspect of our encoding of faces of other races than it is of faces of our own race. I think the hypotheses are compatible, but Levin's idea is at more of a social level of analysis."

Levin acknowledges, "The problem with the [perceptual expertise] models is not really that they're wrong, per se. Rather, it's a problem of focus. They're focused on this sort of reductivist analysis of similarity, when they really ought to be focused on trying to figure out why people use the features they use."

In the final paragraph of the above excerpt lies the fundamental question of interest. Understanding the phenomenon of cross-race recognition deficit and all the behaviors that may be associated with it is only the first step. Being able to dissect the underlying beliefs that lead to this type of behavior is likely to help us understand and deconstruct the dynamics that drive racial tensions and the prejudices that fuel and promote them.

In the end, Senator Obama is an individual. While many impugn the validity of his stated beliefs and refuse to accept any of the distinctions he has made with regard to his beliefs and those of his pastor, the degree of doubt that remains is likely to be more reflective of the society in which we live than it is of our ability to make informed discriminations absent the influence of race.

Barack Obama may well continue to be harmed by his linkage to the words and images of Pastor Wright. Unfortunately, I contend that connection is a manifestation of the subtle and insidious racial divisions that continue to inhabit our perplexing psyches. Much of what Wright says may be wrong...but concluding Obama is wrong for America because of what Wright has said is also wrong.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Cross-Race Recognition Deficit, Daniel Levin PhD, Jeremiah Wright, John F. Kennedy, John Kerry, Kent State University, Psychology, Race Relations, Racism

Daniel DiRito | April 28, 2008 | 11:27 AM | link | Comments (2)
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You & You genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Store window in Amsterdam - 2004
If You Know Yourself, Are You Two People?

Daniel DiRito | April 28, 2008 | 10:20 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Bill Maher: New Rules - 04/25/08 genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

A sad day indeed. This Friday was the end of the season for HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher. What will I do with my Friday nights now? Well I guess The Daily Show and The Colbert Report provide a safety net for those in need of irreverence...but it's still difficult to see Bill Maher drop off the scene for a few months. OK, enough with the lamentations...it's time for this weeks New Rules.

Bill starts out with a swipe at the high price of gas...call it the nine tenths rule. He then argues that psychedelic screen savers are a gateway drug...which may explain his reference to all things prickly.

Maher shifts to the upcoming wedding of Jenna Bush to remind our president that he's not losing a daughter...just a war. He knocks the obsession with cosmetic surgery and the need to bring our children to work, and he suggests those who think that Obama is a Muslim might want to be sure they haven't married their cousin.

Maher takes a jab at liberals and their oil burning and bumper sticker laden vans. He then closes with a segment on the lingering Democratic nomination in which he points out that the obsession with everything Jeremiah Wright may be Hillary Clinton's secret weapon...though I doubt the Reverend will provide the Clinton campaign with the offense Maher suggests will be needed to put her over the top.

Tagged as: Barack Obama, Bill Maher, Cosmetic Surgery, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Humor, Jenna Bush, Jeremiah Wright, New Rules, Religious Fundamentalists, Religulous, Screen Savers

Daniel DiRito | April 28, 2008 | 9:41 AM | link | Comments (0)
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News Flash: Gays Trying To Nail Christians...To The Cross genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

Have a seat, take a deep breath, and then watch the following video of Christian leaders assailing militant homosexuals and portraying themselves as victims of those who are seeking to undo all measures of morality. All that's missing from this piece of persecution propaganda is a wooden cross and the hammer needed to nail themselves to it. No doubt this is an attempt to demonstrate the degree to which they are being decimated by diabolical drag queens hell bent on effecting a holocaust on the holier than thou. Man your battle stations folks...the gays are coming.

I find screeds of this nature quite amusing in light of the concurrent efforts to stereotype gays as effeminate fairies who are gender challenged. Then again, why would one expect a gaggle of 'good old boys' to cease their efforts to maintain their long standing misogynistic masquerade. Apparently gays provide them with a multitude of targets. On the one hand, they can portray gays as militaristic monsters, and on the other, they can castigate them as nefarious Nelly's. Yes, these and other aspersions are an effective means of attaching antagonistic archetypes to their ardent enemy.

One things for sure, these folks are rather adept at crafting catch phrases and interjecting derogatory imagery meant to mobilize their minions. Note some of the one's they utilize in this short video - sexual politics, militant homosexual agenda, right of conscience, suppress, silenced, religious liberty, God's standard, dominance, second class citizen, clash, totalitarian regime, Nazi Germany, concentration camp, intimidation, beat into submission, discrimination on steroids, radical, hammer of the state, Taliban, authoritarian, and fascist.

Who would have thought that men of God would be so skilled at inciting anger and animosity. Then again, these megalomaniacs probably think a crusade is just what they need to advance their Christian charade...as well as making certain the cash cow doesn't dry up. Fomenting their flocks with fear reminds me of another evangelical instigator...the one ensconced in the White House.

Honestly, these people are exasperating. Their willingness to use selective comprehension to cherry pick Christ's message is not only disingenuous; it is an abrogation of his authenticity.

These rabble rousers might find themselves on the outside looking in when their magical moment of Rapture arrives. After all, whose to say God won't prefer to populate heaven with a group of gays that demonstrated the power and persistence to bring the 'good old boys' to their knees. Besides, God must already know that most of these men are a six pack of beer away from crossing over to the other side...if you know what I mean.

Tagged as: Bigotry, ENDA, Evangelicals, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, Hate Crimes Legislation, Homophobia, Humor, LGBT, Militant Homosexuals, Rapture, Religious Right, Same-Sex Marriage, Tony Perkins

Daniel DiRito | April 24, 2008 | 6:00 PM | link | Comments (2)
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Why Johnny Can't Breed - An Abstinence-Only Fairy Tale genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

Back in 1955, Rudolf Flesch, author of the book Why Johnny Can't Read, took issue with the latest trend in teaching children to read. Rather than learning phonics, students were simply being taught to recognize words and Flesch argued that the practice left them ill-prepared for the unknown. In other words, when confronted with unrecognized words, they lacked the ability and the tools to succeed.

Under the auspices of the Bush administration, children are being similarly handicapped with regards to sex education. Rather than provide children with the knowledge and the tools to confront their emerging sexuality, the president and his faith-based followers insist upon spending huge sums of money on programs that teach abstinence-only.

New data and testimony offered to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggests that we're reaching the point at which we must explore "Why Johnny can't breed...without transmitting an STD or getting Jane pregnant".

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Programs teaching U.S. schoolchildren to abstain from sex have not cut teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases or delayed the age at which sex begins, health groups told Congress on Wednesday.

"Vast sums of federal monies continue to be directed toward these programs. And, in fact, there is evidence to suggest that some of these programs are even harmful and have negative consequences by not providing adequate information for those teens who do become sexually active," Dr. Margaret Blythe of the American Academy of Pediatrics told the committee.

These programs, backed by many social conservatives who oppose the teaching of contraception methods to teenagers in schools, have received about $1.3 billion in federal funds since the late 1990s. Currently, 17 of the 50 U.S. states refuse to accept federal funds for such programs.

Experts from the American Public Health Association and U.S. Institute of Medicine testified that scientific studies have not found that abstinence-only teaching works to cut pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases or the age when sexual activity begins.

Comprehensive sex education programs should emphasize abstinence as the best way for a teenager to avoid pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease (STD), Blythe said.

Lawmakers cited government statistics showing that one in four U.S. teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease and 30 percent of U.S. girls become pregnant before the age of 20.

Panel chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, said, "We are showering funds on abstinence-only programs that don't appear to work, while ignoring proven comprehensive sex education programs that can delay sex, protect teens from disease, and result in fewer teen pregnancies."

"Meanwhile, we have no dedicated source of federal funding specifically for comprehensive classroom sex education," Waxman added.

Frankly, this insistence on offering abstinence-only education while resisting comprehensive sex education is another example of religious ideologues ignoring solid scientific evidence. This policy comes from the same president who is willing to pour trillions of dollars down the drain to fund a war that appears unlikely to resolve at any time in the near future. It just goes to show that the application of an absolutist template to matters of reason and rationality will frequently result in flawed judgments.

Further demonstrating the tendency of this president to apply absurd and arbitrary logic, he is seeking to cut 13 billion dollars from Medicaid spending for the poor. I guess he's seeking to assuage his legacy of unbridled deficit spending...and by all means...it's best to do so at the expense of the poor. After all, that's both compassionate and conservative, right? Fortunately, Congress rejected his efforts by what appears to be a veto proof margin.

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

WASHINGTON - The House voted yesterday to block the Bush administration from cutting federal spending on Medicaid health care for the poor by $13 billion over the next five years.
President Bush has threatened a veto, but supporters have more than enough votes in the House to override him, and maybe in the Senate, too.

Two-thirds of the Republicans joined every voting Democrat in the 349-62 vote to impose a one-year moratorium, through next March, on seven rules changes the administration argues are needed to rectify waste and abuse in the state-federal partnership to provide health care to the poor.

Supporters of the bill said the rules would merely shift financial burdens to the states at a time of economic distress while reducing access to health care for the country's neediest people.

The governors of all 50 states, state Medicaid directors, and others oppose the rules, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (D., Mich.) told the House. "They know the devastating effects these rules would have on local communities, upon hospitals, and upon vulnerable beneficiaries."

The White House, in a statement Tuesday warning of a veto threat, said the House bill would "thwart these efforts of the federal government to regain fiscal accountability and integrity in Medicaid."

I find it truly amazing that this president routinely chooses programs designed for those most in need to demonstrate his fiscal bonafides. He's willing to spend billions on unproven abstinence-only education but caring for the basic health of the poor just can't be justified. Such actions are not only hypocritical; they demonstrate the inherent lack of logical cohesion that has typified this president's tenure.

With that in mind, I thought I would have a little fun at the expense of science challenged Christian compassionate conservatives. The following graphic includes an updated book cover titled "Why Johnny Can't Breed" as well as my list of the top ten guidelines required to provide Johnny with proper abstinence-only training.

WhyJohnnyCan'tRead.jpg

Tagged as: Abstinence-Only Programs, Faith Based Programs, Humor, Religion, Religious Right, Sex Education, STD's, Teen Pregnancy

Daniel DiRito | April 24, 2008 | 9:50 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Yes To Tax Cuts & Loopholes - No To Fair Pay Legislation genre: Econ-Recon & Polispeak

FistfullOfDollars.jpg

Understanding the dynamics of the November election isn't all that complex if one simply takes the time to draw some necessary comparisons. In many ways, the policies of the Bush administration have provided the essential contrast. With that as the backdrop, we ought to be able to make prudent political decisions as an electorate. Further, it should guide the actions of our elected officials. Unfortunately, that may not always be the case.

Today, the defeat of legislation that would have enabled employees to pursue redress should it be determined that they have been unfairly discriminated against with regards to equitable pay highlights the division between those who foster favors for the wealthy (the GOP) and those who believe the fair treatment of the individual is an imperative (the Democrats).

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation to reverse a Supreme Court ruling that makes it tougher for workers to sue for pay discrimination.

Democratic presidential rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton interrupted their campaigns to return to the Senate to vote for the bill. The measure would lift tight time restraints to file claims that could expire before workers realize they were treated unfairly.

On a 56-42 vote, mostly Democratic supporters of the bill fell short of the needed 60 in the 100-member Senate to clear a Republican procedural hurdle and move toward passage of the bill approved earlier by the House of Representatives.

The blocked Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, named for an Alabama woman who lost her case in the Supreme Court last year, is backed by women's and civil rights groups that argue it would give workers a fair chance for justice.

On average in the United States, women are paid about 23 percent less than men, while minorities receive even less -- despite laws that mandate equal pay for equal work.

The White House said it opposed discrimination in the workplace. But it threatened to veto the bill if Congress passed it, saying in a statement the measure would "impede justice and undermine the important goal of having allegations of discrimination expeditiously resolved."

Backers of the bill complained that the Supreme Court, in its 5-4 ruling last May, reversed decades of legal precedent by declaring discrimination claims must be filed within 180 days of the first alleged offense.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presidential candidate, did not return to Washington to vote on the bill.

I suspect the McCain absence was intentional and in keeping with his efforts to straddle the political divide. Unfortunately, his actions betray his even-handed, straight talking proclamations. John McCain supports cutting corporate taxes from 35 percent to 25 percent. He has also reversed his position with regard to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Once opposed to these cuts, he now argues they are an important element of his economic platform.

When push comes to shove, voters need look no further than examples of this nature to discern where the candidates...and the party's stand...and where their bread is buttered. Back in 1992, "It's the economy stupid" became the mantra attached to the presidential election. Following eight years of George W. Bush's ransacking of the economy while rewarding the wealthy with more wealth, may I suggest we simply remember the following, "It's the haves versus the have-nots, stupid".

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Democrats, Discrimination, Fair Pay, George W. Bush, GOP, John McCain, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Republicans, Supreme Court, Tax Cuts, U.S. Senate

Daniel DiRito | April 23, 2008 | 7:28 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Adventures In Mind Control genre: Indie-Script & Video-Philes

The following video is one of those cool mind benders. All you have to do is stare at the center of the image, keeping your eyes still and steadily focused on the image while the video plays. You will eventually be instructed to look away. When you do, the strange man behind the curtain will have taken control of your mind. Good luck with taking it back.

Tagged as: Humor, Mind Bender, Mind Control, Visual Distortion

Daniel DiRito | April 23, 2008 | 7:15 PM | link | Comments (2)
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The Democrats' Dilemma: Stupid Is As Stupid Does genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

StupidIsAsStupidDoes.jpg

During the last two presidential elections Democrats marveled at the number of voters who cast ballots for George W. Bush, a move that was obviously contrary to their own economic self-interest. Time and again, Democratic operatives have marveled at the stupidity of such actions. As we approach the 2008 election, the number of Democrats who suggest they will do the same appears ready to exceed any prior measurement on the "stupid voter" continuum.

The most recent polling indicates that Democrats are prepared to either jump ship and support John McCain or simply sit out the coming election if their candidate should fail to be the nominee.

From CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- New polls show many Democratic voters could swing their support to Sen. John McCain in the general election if their candidate isn't nominated.

The most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, taken March 14-16, shows the percentage of Sen. Barack Obama supporters who said they'd be dissatisfied or upset if Sen. Hillary Clinton wins the nomination has gone up -- from 26 percent in January, just after Clinton won the New Hampshire primary, to 41 percent now.

The poll suggests if Obama wins, a majority of Clinton supporters -- 51 percent -- would be dissatisfied or upset. The number was 35 percent in January.

According to a Gallup Poll taken March 7-22, about one in five Obama supporters -- or 19 percent -- said they will vote for McCain if Clinton is the Democratic nominee.

If Obama's the nominee, more than one in four Clinton supporters -- or 28 percent -- said they'd vote for McCain.

The ongoing slog towards choosing a Democratic nominee isn't apt to diminish the animosities that underlie the apparent willingness to vote Republican or stay at home. Exit polling in Pennsylvania supports these prior numbers and paints a dismal picture for the Democrats in November should they hold.

From CNN:

(CNN) -- John McCain said Tuesday he isn't sure if a prolonged Democratic race is benefiting his candidacy, but the exit polls appear to show it is.

The Arizona senator stands to win supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama if their candidate does not win.

Only 50 percent of Clinton voters in Pennsylvania said they would support Obama if he is the nominee. Twenty-six percent said they would back McCain over Obama, and 19 percent said they would not vote at all.

Among Obama's Pennsylvania voters, 67 percent said they would support Clinton if she is the party's nomine. Seventeen percent said they would back McCain instead, and 12 percent said they would stay home.

Add in the number of voters who indicate they wouldn't vote for a woman or a black and the depth of voter stupidity is fully illuminated. It also highlights the challenge facing the Democrats in November.

From The New York Times:

The results of the exit poll, conducted at 40 precincts across Pennsylvania by Edison/Mitofsky for the television networks and The Associated Press, also found stark evidence that Mr. Obama's race could be a problem in the general election. Sixteen percent of white voters said race mattered in deciding who they voted for, and just 54 percent of those voters said they would support Mr. Obama in a general election; 27 percent of them said they would vote for Mr. McCain if Mr. Obama was the Democratic nominee, and 16 percent said they would not vote at all.

From Yahoo News:

Obama would be the first black president, and the survey detected some evidence of racial discomfort in voters' minds. It found that about 8 percent of whites would be uncomfortable voting for a black for president. It produced an estimate of about 13 percent of Republicans who would feel that way, but suggested very few if any Democrats would now be uncomfortable. In November, about 5 percent of Democrats indicated discomfort at voting for a black person for president.

From The New York Times:

Thirty-nine percent of the women who responded to the Lifetime poll said that they would not vote for Senator Clinton, and another 7 percent said that they would not vote for any woman under any circumstance.

Unfortunately, according to NBC News polling, the number of Democrats who will ONLY be happy if their candidate becomes the nominee has continued to grow since the California primary. This irrational partisanship reached a high point in Pennsylvania. While I expect that the number of Democrats who will vote for John McCain or sit out the election will decrease once a nominee is selected, the final number is apt to be large enough to jeopardize the election of the Democratic nominee.

Come November, should the Democratic nominee lose the election as a result of this self-defeating intransigence, the Party will find itself in the unenviable position of having lost a third election due to a portion of the electorate voting against their own self-interest. However, they won't need to look any further than their fellow card carrying Democrats to place the blame.

The truth of the matter is that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in virtual agreement on every issue of import to Democrats. Yes, there are subtle policy differences and marked stylistic distinctions...but both candidates would serve the self-interests of their Democratic constituents. John McCain, on the other hand, would be a virtual continuation of the Bush administration.

Should Democrats aid in the election of John McCain, we will have proven that our stupidity matches or exceeds that of those we assailed for placing George W. Bush in the White House for eight years. If that happens, Forrest Gump had it right when he stated, "Stupid is as stupid does". Even worse, we will have conceded what should have been a certain victory in what may have been the most important election in recent history.

Doing so would suggest that the Republican Party holds no monopoly on pettiness and that we Democrats are not only willing to engage in "lip service"...we're willing to kneel down and swallow defeat rather than buck up and stand together. That would really suck.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Democratic Nomination, Democratic Primary, Gender, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Race

Daniel DiRito | April 23, 2008 | 8:26 AM | link | Comments (1)
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The Onion: Dude, You Were So Drunk Last Night genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Drinking stories are clearly a part of our culture...especially on college campuses. In the following spoof, The Onion provides the "research" on the most popular phrases 18-24 year olds use to describe their state of drunkenness to their roommates from a weekend of partying.

Ironically, little has changed over the years with regards to getting trashed. When we're young, the goal is to be the most outrageous drunk...the one everyone talks about the next morning. Wearing that badge becomes the objective. Then as we get older, the goal seems to shift to being able to drink the most without showing any tell-tale signs of impairment.

On the one hand, the unedited is celebrated...on the other, masking one's actual status becomes preferential. Perhaps it's all a result of societal expectations. We're willing to allow youthful indiscretion until the point at which we require adult inhibition. Makes one wonder if either approach makes any sense. I find that realization to be a downer..but then again, we're talking about drinking, eh?

Tagged as: Alcohol Consumption, College, Comedy, Drinking, Humor, Impairment, Research, The Onion

Daniel DiRito | April 22, 2008 | 9:56 AM | link | Comments (1)
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GAO Calls Bush On His Game Of Chicken SCHIP genre: Econ-Recon & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

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Last year, President Bush shut down legislation designed to provide health insurance to more low income families and rewrote the rules to limit the coverage states could provide. At the time, his minions were busy eviscerating a family that spoke in favor of the measure. According to the Government Accountability Office, it turns out that the President didn't have the authority he thought and and actually violated the law. Nothing new there, eh?

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration violated federal law last year when it restricted states' ability to provide health insurance to children of middle-income families, and its new policy is therefore unenforceable, lawyers from the Government Accountability Office said Friday.

The ruling strengthens the hand of at least 22 states, including New York and New Jersey, that already provide such coverage or want to do so. And it significantly reduces the chance that the new policy can be put into effect before President Bush leaves office in nine months.

At issue is the future of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, financed jointly by the federal government and the states. Congress last year twice passed bills to expand the popular program, and Mr. Bush vetoed both.

In a formal legal opinion Friday, the accountability office said the new policy "amounts to a marked departure" from a longstanding, settled interpretation of federal law. It is therefore a rule and, under a 1996 law, must be submitted to Congress for review before it can take effect, the opinion said.

But Jeff Nelligan, a spokesman for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said, "G.A.O.'s opinion does not change our conclusion that the Aug. 17 letter is still in effect."

What happens next is not clear. New York, New Jersey and several other states have filed lawsuits challenging the Bush administration policy. In addition, Congress may consider legislation to suspend the directive.

Under the Aug. 17 directive, states cannot expand the Children's Health Insurance Program to cover youngsters with family incomes over 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($53,000 for a family of four) unless they can prove that they already cover 95 percent of eligible children below twice the poverty level ($42,400).

Moreover, in such states, children who lose or drop private coverage must be uninsured for 12 months before they can enroll in the Children's Health Insurance Program, and co-payments in the public program must be similar to those in private plans.

The administration told states they must comply with the directive by August of this year or else they face "corrective action." Compliance could mean cutting back programs.

It amazes me that a President who sold himself to the electorate as a compassionate conservative is willing to restrict health care to the needy while insisting on spending billions of dollars year after year on his failed war in Iraq. It makes one wonder just who the President is protecting with his war on terror. I suspect those who risk losing coverage under Bush's arbitrary guidelines feel terrorized by their own government.

Then again, we shouldn't be surprised that a man of privilege (who acted out like a rebellious teenager until reaching the age of forty) lacks any tangible empathy for those in need. No, he would rather wax endlessly about the need to make permanent his tax cuts for the wealthy and finish the job his daddy didn't have the wherewithal to pursue.

When it's all said and done, I can't help but conclude that America has been the playground for an insecure and ego-challenged charlatan with little regard for anything that didn't serve to stroke his obtuse persona. Yes, his legacy will be legendary...though I'd wager it won't be of the nature he had hoped. In the end, I doubt many Americans will shed any tears when this 'little big man' rides off into the sunset.

Tagged as: Compassionate Conservatism, George W. Bush, Health Care, Iraq, Little Big Man, Poverty, SCHIP, State Children's Health Insurance Program, Tax Cuts

Daniel DiRito | April 19, 2008 | 4:11 PM | link | Comments (1)
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When Rationality Fails, Does Faith-Based Fascism Prevail? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

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It's not difficult to argue that the alliance of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini was akin to two rival gangs uniting to bully the folks in the neighborhood. The long-standing constructs of thuggery remain intact today and the ransacking of Rome's LGBT Center is proof positive that rational thought is often the victim of formative fascist ideations. The degree to which these perpetrators draw some of their justifications from faith-based dogma merits exploration.

From 365Gay.com:

(Rome) Rome police are searching for members of a mob of youths who burst into the city's LGBT center, ransacking the building.

The attack on Mario Mieli Homosexual Cultural Circle occurred Thursday night while members were in the building.

As they attempted to confront the gang the youths yelled anti-gay and anti-Semitic slogans. As they ran off the gang yelled praises for Benito Mussolini, Italy's wartime dictator.

"We fear that this situation is linked to the electoral climate," the association said in a statement.

Rome is in the midst of a mayoral runoff between rightist and leftist candidates.

Earlier this week Silvio Berlusconi became Prime Minister when his rightwing coalition swept national elections.

Fascist and Nazi youth have stepped up their visibility since the election.

In the north of Italy this week police broke up what is described as a neo-Nazi gang arresting 16 people on charges of inciting discrimination, hatred and violence based on race, ethnicity and nationality.

Police said the gang had ties to skinhead and Neo-Nazi groups in Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

All too often the Catholic Church has given tacit legitimacy to such acts through encyclicals that condemn homosexuality and exhort its followers (especially politicians) to defend the family. The recent effort on the part of the Church to influence the elections in Spain highlight the willingness of the Vatican to scapegoat gays in an effort to reassert its relevance.

From The Times Online:

Spanish bishops waded into the election campaign [...] when they effectively directed Spaniards to vote against the Government and in favour of the conservative Popular Party.

In a paper setting out the Church's "moral guidance" for voters, the Episcopal Conference attacked the Government's moves to legalise gay marriage, make divorce easier and remove religious education from the compulsory school curriculum.

Relations between the Church and the Left have been poisoned since the Civil War in the 1930s, when Communist and Anarchist irregulars burnt churches and killed thousands of priests. The Spanish Church strongly supported Franco's Fascist dictatorship and some bishops were even pictured in stiff-armed salutes.

To understand the reticence of the Church to acknowledge its duplicity in promoting discrimination and persecution, one need only recall that it wasn't until the year 2,000 that Pope John Paul II held his "Day of Pardon" mass. That historic mass, designed to atone for the misguided acts and omissions of the Church, followed its tardy and tepid apology in 1998 for remaining silent during the extermination of millions by the Nazis.

From The Guardian:

From the altar of St Peter's Basilica in Rome he led Catholicism into unchartered territory by seeking forgiveness for sins committed against Jews, heretics, women, Gypsies and native peoples.

Fighting through trembles and slurrings caused by Parkinson's disease, the Pope electrified ranks of cardinals and bishops by pleading for a future that would not repeat the mistakes. "Never again," he said.

Centuries of hate and rivalry could not recur in the third millennium. "We forgive and we ask forgiveness. We are asking pardon for the divisions among Christians, for the use of violence that some have committed in the service of truth, and for attitudes of mistrust and hostility assumed towards followers of other religions."

Defying warnings from some theologians that the unprecedented apology would undermine the church's authority, the 79-year-old pontiff asked God to forgive the persecution of the Jews. "We are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood."

Wearing the purple vestments of lenten mourning, the Pope sought pardon for seven categories of sin: general sins; sins in the service of truth; sins against Christian unity; against the Jews; against respect for love, peace and cultures; against the dignity of women and minorities; and against human rights.

There was no reference to homosexuals, who had asked to be included for suffering theocratic violence.

Ironically, even those of the Jewish faith...who have been highly critical of the Catholic Church's behavior during the Holocaust...have participated in the vilification of gays. The controversy over World Pride Day being held in Jerusalem drew outrage and condemnation from within Israel as well as from the Vatican.

The fact that Pope Benedict XVI is just beginning to acknowledge and address the child molestation that has existed in the Church for decades simply places an exclamation mark on the hypocrisy that has typified its deference to silence in the face of adversity. Ever mindful of its need for power, the Catholic Church has all too often placated history's hoodlums and participating in vilifying those most in need of protection.

How the Church can justify years of stonewalling victims of pedophile priests while simultaneously assailing the acts of consenting and loving adults is beyond comprehension. While summarily destroying the lives of thousands of children and protecting their own from prosecution, they have the audacity to hold homosexuals accountable for the decay of the family.

Given the Church's stance, there is no doubt it will be a future Pope who will be forced to issue an apology for the victimization of gays. What remains to be seen is the degree to which the Church was a player in fomenting the fascist feelings that are beginning to emerge.

Perhaps I'm biased, but when I witness Pope Benedict XVI being idolized by throngs of followers at the new National's stadium and I envision the same soon happening at Yankee Stadium, I can't help but think about my visit to the Coliseum in Rome. Granted, there aren't any lions or tigers being released from cages to devour the deviants at these Papal masses...but the alarming number of attacks on the LGBT community coupled with the track record of pedophile priests diddling while Rome turned its head have all the makings of another "Day of Pardon".

As a matter of practicality, I struggle to see the merits of a monolithic ministry that makes the same mistakes over and over again. For all the assertions that the Pope is infallible, there are far more historical records indicating that he and his cohorts are run of the mill bullies who foster the fallacies of each new flavor of faith-based fascism.

Tagged as: Catholic Church, Day of Pardon, Faith-Based, Fascism, Francisco Franco, Gay, Gay Marriage, Holocaust, LGBT, Mario Mieli Homosexual Cultural Circle, Neo-Nazi, Pedophile Priests, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Rome, Same-Sex Marriage, Spanish Elections, Yankee Stadium

Daniel DiRito | April 19, 2008 | 9:01 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Olbermann: Did Stephanopoulos Get Caught Steppin-In-It? genre: Polispeak

While ABC and George Stephanopoulos are busy defending the focus of their debate questions, Keith Olbermann took the time to find footage of Stephanopoulos (while working for the Clinton campaign) arguing that Americans care about the important issues and don't want to be inundated with petty distractions.

In the following video segment, Olbermann offers to help Stephanopoulos prepare for his upcoming interview with John McCain by delivering a list of obscure questions. In keeping with the ABC rationale, Olbermann argues that these questions will certainly be part of the Democratic campaign strategy and if George asks them on Sunday it will undoubtedly allow him to maintain the even handed though hard-hitting journalist persona he sought to display in the Democratic debate. After all, we'd hate to see George Stephanopoulos "steppin-in-it".

Tagged as: 2008 Election, ABC Debate, Barack Obama, George Stephanopoulos, Hillary Clinton, Humor, John McCain, Keith Olbermann

Daniel DiRito | April 19, 2008 | 8:25 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Bill Maher: New Rules - 04/18/08 genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

This week Bill Maher argues that mailing our tax returns shouldn't require a stamp, that the airlines provide such dismal service that they ought to start loading us in the cargo hold, and that the Pope ought to wear a slip under his holy garments...especially in light of the church's long history of cover ups. Maher then blasts Blockbuster's plan to takeover Circuit City...calling it an effort to create the worst retail experience in America.

He closes with an excellent observation on the latest Barack Obama bitter-gate brouhaha. Maher isn't buying into the manufactured maelstrom when he seeks to understand how in the hell one defines an elitist in America. He then insists that those who think Obama is an elitist need to reconsider what lies behind the candidacy of John McCain and the presidency of George W. Bush. Instead, Maher suggests it is he who should be bitter at the fact that "shitkickers voted twice for a retarded guy they wanted to have a beer with".

Tagged as: Air Travel, Airlines, Barack Obama, Bill Maher, Bitter-gate, Blockbuster, Catholic Church, Circuit City, Elitism, George W. Bush, Humor, John McCain, Pope Benedict XVI

Daniel DiRito | April 19, 2008 | 7:48 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Ken Miller On God, Darwin, & Intelligent Design genre: Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

Anyone seeking the skinny on the battle between evolutionists and creationists would be well served to watch the following presentation by Ken Miller, a biology professor at Brown University. Miller, a Catholic, maintains his belief in faith while arguing...

Tagged as: Darwin, Dover Trial, Evolution, Faith, God, Intelligent Design, Ken Miller, Monkey Trial, Religion, Scopes Trial

Daniel DiRito | April 17, 2008 | 10:00 AM | link | Comments (0)
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A Contemplation On Race, Politics, Obama, & The Future genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation & Video-Philes

It's clear that the pundits in the mainstream media prefer to stir the pot. Doing so generates the ratings they seek but it also serves to bolster the talking points of the political campaigns they cover. This symbiotic relationship...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Cornel West, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Media, Partisanship, Politics, Poverty, Punditry, Racism, Religion, Ronald Reagan

Daniel DiRito | April 16, 2008 | 10:32 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Bill Moyers Journal: Hunger & The Rising Cost Of Food genre: Econ-Recon & Gaylingual & Video-Philes

During election years, it's easy to get lost in the pettiness of the political battles that we think are important. Unfortunately, that partisan focus often leads us to lose sight of the issues that really matter. While we are...

Tagged as: Abortion, Bill Moyer, Compassionate Conservatism, Food, Food Banks, Food Pantries, Gay Marriage, Hunger, Inflation, LGBT, PBS, Poverty, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | April 15, 2008 | 9:25 AM | link | Comments (2)
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Mo Rocca Explores The Five Second Rule - Here Piggy Piggy! genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

We've all heard the expression, "Her floor was so clean, you could eat off of it". In the following video, Mo Rocca wants to know how many people would actually give it a go. OK, he doesn't ask them...

Tagged as: 180, Cleanliness, David Hasselhoff, Five Second Rule, Food, Germs, Humor, Mo Rocca

Daniel DiRito | April 14, 2008 | 8:54 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Do The New Ads By Hanes Make You Feel Good All Over? genre: Gaylingual & Just Jihad & Six Degrees of Speculation

Hanes used to tell us they would make us feel good all over. With the following ad campaign, one might question whether the underwear company has had a change of heart. The tagline states, "Because the world gives you...

Tagged as: Bigotry, Gay, Hanes Underwear. LGBT, Homophobia, India, Labels, Prejudice, Racism

Daniel DiRito | April 12, 2008 | 3:17 PM | link | Comments (1)
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McLaughlin Group: Dancing In The Dark In Iraq? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak

The following video contains a good discussion on the recent remarks of General Petraeus as well as George Bush's subsequent statements about the status of the war in Iraq. From the video, one quickly sees the disconnect between what...

Tagged as: Eleanor Clift, General David Petraeus, George W. Bush, Iraq, John McLaughlin, Pat Buchanan, Troop Surge

Daniel DiRito | April 12, 2008 | 1:04 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Bill Maher: New Rules - 04/11/08 genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Bill Maher walked a fine line tonight...and he may have even crossed it a couple times...so much so that Jason Alexander tells him (while holding two fingers close together), "You've got to be just this far from madness at...

Tagged as: Aetna Insurance, Astrology, Bill Maher, Catholic Church, Jason Alexander, Magic Johnson, New Rules, Olympic Torch, Pope Benedict, Virgin Airlines

Daniel DiRito | April 11, 2008 | 10:02 PM | link | Comments (3)
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The Daily Show: John Oliver Documents Fox's Faux News genre: Six Degrees of Speculation & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Should we laugh at the fact that The Daily Show provides a more accurate version of the facts that underly the news than does Fox News? Here's your chance to decide by watching John Oliver's documentary on the two...

Tagged as: Bill O'Reilly, Comedy Central, Democrats, Fair & Balanced, Faux News, Fox News, George W. Bush, GOP, Humor, John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Partisanship, Sean Hannity, The Daily Show

Daniel DiRito | April 11, 2008 | 4:51 PM | link | Comments (0)
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A Bible In Every Ford, Porn At The Marriott, & A New Top Ten genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek

If the American Family Association had their way, I suspect they would require a Bible in the glove box of every car and nonstop airing of The 700 Club in all hotels. Yes, the loons that boycotted Ford for...

Tagged as: 700 Club, Adultery, American Family Association, Bible, Divorce, Ford Motor Company, Gay Marriage, James Dobson, LGBT, Marriott, Pornography, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage, Tony Perkins

Daniel DiRito | April 11, 2008 | 11:58 AM | link | Comments (1)
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Westboro Baptist "Hummers" Sing Homo Hymns genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

Well the folks at Westboro Baptist Church have really taken a liking to singing their message of hate. Two of the following videos are examples of their handiwork. The first, "There Are No Heroes" is a remake of Bonnie...

Tagged as: Albert Snyder, Bible, Bonnie Tyler, Five Man Electrical Band, Fred Phelps, Funerals, God, Holding Out For A Hero, Homophobia, LGBT, Matthew Snyder, Religion, Shirley Phelps-Roper, Signs, The Drifters, Topeka, U.S. Military, Under the Boardwalk, Westboro Baptist Church

Daniel DiRito | April 10, 2008 | 11:22 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Bush Puts Hold On Troop Cuts: Back To The Future? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak

I was sure the writers strike had ended...but then I tuned in today to see the President repeating the same script he's been promoting for years...the one that suggests the war in Iraq will come to a happy ending...eventually....

Tagged as: Back To The Future, Doc Brown, General David Petraeus, George W. Bush, Iraq, Network, Troop Cuts, Troop Surge

Daniel DiRito | April 10, 2008 | 10:37 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Fiction Rules: Bible Tops List Of America's Favorite Books genre: Hip-Gnosis

Since I'm feeling rather sarcastic today, I found the following story irresistible. A new Harris Poll suggests that fiction is numero uno when it comes to Americans choosing their favorite books. Topping the list is none other than the Bible...which...

Tagged as: Angels and Demons, Atlas Shrugged, Bible, Creationism, Evolution, Fiction, Fundamentalism, Gone With The WInd, Islam, Literature, Reading, Religion, The Catcher in the Rye, The Lord of the Rings, The Stand

Daniel DiRito | April 9, 2008 | 11:22 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Beer Goggles: What Happens When You Drink & Drive? genre: Indie-Script & Tongue-In-Cheek

Did you ever wonder what happens to your vision when you've had a few too many cocktails? The following visual is from an ad campaign aimed at drunken drivers and it simulates the effects of being intoxicated. The ad...

Tagged as: Ad Campaign, Advertising, Alcohol, Drinking & Driving, Humor, Visual Illusion

Daniel DiRito | April 9, 2008 | 10:37 AM | link | Comments (4)
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Lewis Black: The Lowdown On Celebrity Endorsements genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

In these political times, every day brings a new endorsement. In the following video clip, Lewis Black gives us the skinny on the value of celebrity endorsements. Once Black finishes skewering the merit of endorsements from the likes of...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Celebrity, Dick Van Patten, Donald Trump, Heidi Montag, Humor, Kal Penn, Lewis Black, Oprah Winfrey, Political Endorsements, Rosie O'Donnell, Sean Penn, The Daily SHow

Daniel DiRito | April 9, 2008 | 8:57 AM | link | Comments (2)
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Jimmy Kimmel's Fancy Pants Makeover With Richard Simmons genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Who would have ever thought that Jimmy Kimmel could be a Richard Simmons' protege? In the following video, Richard does his best to save Jimmy from the ravages of a life of leisure...and poor hygiene. Try as he might,...

Tagged as: fitness, humor, Jimmy Kimmel, LGBT, Richard Simmons, Sam Elliott

Daniel DiRito | April 7, 2008 | 2:55 PM | link | Comments (0)
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E.J. Dionne: The Shifting Relationship Of Religion & Politics genre: Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

In a recent presentation, E.J. Dionne discussed the waning influence of the religious right and the general shift in the focus of religious organizations to include issues that have been relegated to the back burner for the last thirty...

Tagged as: Abortion, E.J. Dionne, Evangelicals, Faith, Gay Marriage, God, Jesus, Politics, Religion, Religious Right, Rick Warren, Values

Daniel DiRito | April 7, 2008 | 11:22 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Bill Maher: New Rules - 04/04/08 genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Bill is on a tear in this episode of New Rules. He begins with an assault on the TSA and their plans to make the screening process more comfortable - Maher just wants them to get him through the...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Ann Coulter, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bill Maher, Democrats, Hillary CLinton, Humor, Monica Lewinsky, TSA

Daniel DiRito | April 5, 2008 | 8:56 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Bushwhacked - The Sequel: Jobs Down, Unemployment Up genre: Econ-Recon

By all accounts, George W. Bush was determined to win reelection and thus avoid a repeat of his father's embarrassing defeat. Unfortunately, they say the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son. If true, the declining...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Economy, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Iraq, Jeb Bush, Jobs, John McCain, Recession, Unemployment

Daniel DiRito | April 4, 2008 | 10:07 AM | link | Comments (2)
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Senate Steamrolls Measure To Assist Homeowners genre: Econ-Recon & Polispeak

Most people understand the meaning of "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". The government's actions to bail out the big dogs in the subprime lending fiasco, in conjunction with the seeming disregard of the plight of the individual homeowner,...

Tagged as: Banking, Bankruptcy Laws, Corporate Bail Out, Corporate Welfare, Dick Durbin, Economy, Foreclosures, Homeownership, Housing Crisis, Interest Rates, Lobbyists, Savings & Loan Scandal, Subprime Lending

Daniel DiRito | April 3, 2008 | 6:50 PM | link | Comments (1)
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You Decide: Are Americans Stupid? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

It's one thing to be uneducated; it's another to be stupid. If a new report on drop out rates in major U.S. metropolitan cities is to be believed, fewer Americans are educated. If the following video represents a cross...

Tagged as: 2008, Australia, Diplomacy, Education, High School Drop Outs, Humor, Intelligence, Iraq, Israel, John Howard, Preemption, Tony Blair, War on Terror

Daniel DiRito | April 3, 2008 | 12:51 PM | link | Comments (0)
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R-E-C-E-S-S-I-O-N: The Ownership Society - You've Been Pwned genre: Econ-Recon & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

With the Bush presidency coming to an end...with talk of a lame duck administration...and despite the negative reviews on George Bush's ambitious yet seemingly endless epic, The Iraq War...GWB Studios, in conjunction with GOP Tax Cut Productions, is moving...

Tagged as: Alfred Hitchcock, Depression, Economics, George W. Bush, Humor, National Debt, Ownership Society, Recession, Tax Cuts, The Birds

Daniel DiRito | April 2, 2008 | 4:25 PM | link | Comments (1)
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South Dakota: Save The Fetus - Flog The Mommy? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

Abortion opponents are an interesting lot. For years, they have argued that all abortion is wrong as it involves the taking of a life. An inability to sway the public to embrace laws that would ban all abortions seems...

Tagged as: Abortion, Gun Control, Incest, Planned Parenthood, Pregnancy, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Rape, Religion, Roe V. Wade, Second Amendment, South Dakota, Supreme Court

Daniel DiRito | April 2, 2008 | 12:21 PM | link | Comments (0)
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The Best Of April Fools: The BBC Presents Flying Penguins genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

If you're going to attempt an April Fool's prank, it ought to be good. In the first of two videos that follow, the BBC has created one that definitely meets this criteria...flying penguins. In the second video, the BBC...

Tagged as: April Fools, BBC, Corona, Guinness Beer, Humor, Penguins, Rain Forest, South America

Daniel DiRito | April 2, 2008 | 9:33 AM | link | Comments (0)
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The Onion: Christ's Love Is Available...If You're Not Gay genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

The Onion has some fun with the work of Christian charity groups in foreign countries. In the following faux video, the Onion anchor interviews, Josephine Bates, founder of "God's Hands", a Colorado Springs based charity. They proceed to discuss...

Tagged as: Abortion, Africa, Christian Charity, Evangelical, Heaven, Humor, LGBT, Muslim, Pro-Choice, Religion

Daniel DiRito | April 2, 2008 | 9:01 AM | link | Comments (0)
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