The fizzling Tea Party

Who recently made the ridiculous comment, “The Tea Party is now most Americans”? Oh, yeah. Him.

I wonder if pictures like the one below, from a recent Tea Party rally in South Carolina featuring rising star Gov. Nikki Haley make him feel as silly as he should:

I’m guessing not.

They were expecting a crowd of 3,000. About 30 showed up. Most Americans? Hardly.

America, you’ve been punk’d

Donald Trump announced today that he wasn’t running for president after all.

Though he doesn’t admit it in the release, this may validate those who have thought all along that Trump’s ridiculous candidacy – which saw him wallowing in the depths of some of the dumbest conspiracy theories out there today – was nothing more than a huge practical joke.

Personally, I can’t decide if I buy that theory. On one hand, Trump appears to be a self-absorbed, humorless bastard. On the other hand, anyone who goes out in public in that hairdo cannot be completely without a sense of humor.

But, considering that, for a time, Trump was a Republican frontrunner, I think the joke may ultimately be on the GOP.

 

 

A little girl … and a dead squirrel

This is bound to be a classic clip. It is both hilarious and disturbing. My favorite moment comes near the beginning after the father asks the little girl what she has, and she says, “A squirrel! It’s dead.” Her father says, “You have a dead squirrel, huh?”

The speed of lies

“A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” said Mark Twain. (Or did he?) The speed of lies has increased exponentially since Twain’s days.

Take this quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”

I bet you saw that at least once yesterday as some people wrestled with their reaction to news about the death of Osama bin Laden. There’s just one problem: There’s no evidence that Martin Luther King ever said such a thing. As Megan McCardle said, “it’s a bit too apropos.  What ‘thousands’ would King have been talking about?  In which enemy’s death was he supposed to be rejoicing?”

It’s an intriguing phenomenon, witnessing the viral spread of a misquote. “What’s fascinating is the speed of it.  Someone made up a quote, attributed it to MLK jr, and disseminated it widely, all within 24 hours.  Why?  What do you get out of saying something pithy, and getting no credit for it?”

I just came across this, which may explain how a quotation mark in the wrong place led to the confusion. That being the case, maybe “lie” is too strong a word for this. In any case, it just goes to show that truth continues to have a hard time keeping up with myth.

This is the single-most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen on TV

I don’t even know what to say about this, other than John Stossel ought never work for a serious network ever again.

Oh, wait. He’s working for Fox News. Never mind.

Just look, as long as you can stand it:

(h/t Steve Benen)

He’ll be … back?

The former Governator wants to resurrect the Terminator.

The new film, loosely dubbed “Terminator 5,” is being shopped to studios. There is no script or screenwriter, but a person close to what Hollywood terms a film package, who asked not to be identified because of the early nature of the negotiations, confirmed that Creative Artists Agency has begun shopping the rights to make the movie, though with no plotline as yet. Schwarzenegger, the person said, would play a starring role as the title character in the science-fiction film, not a supporting role in which he passed the baton to a new hero. The movie would be directed by “Fast Five” director Justin Lin.

I certainly hope he’s been pumping a lot of iron since he left office – or the CGI experts are ramping up their game.

I liked the first two Terminator movies. The third was so-so. I had high hopes for Terminator: Salvation with Christian Bale starring as a post-Judgment Day John Connor, but it fell a little flat.

I’m not sure the world needs a Terminator 5 – and certainly not one with a 65-year-old Terminator.

Satisfied?

I already know the answer to the question in the headline. Not even the surprise release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate will quiet the birthers who insist that Obama was born in Kenya. “Yes, but … ” they will say, and only fellow inmates at the asylum would dare predict what might follow that “but.”

One wonders, though, what Donald Trump will come up with next to keep his face on the TV. It won’t be pretty.

Multitasking is a lie

Matt Yglesias has an interesting post on multitasking this morning in which the not-quite-30-year-old admits that “for me at least genuine multitasking is almost totally unworkable.”

My creaking brain is a decade and a half – give or take a year or two – older and more worn out than Yglesias’, so I’m happy to see that it’s not a generational thing when I agree completely with Yglesias. I think he makes an important distinction: What many people call multitasking is actually switching between tasks rapidly. Like Yglesias, I do that all the time. With music on in the background, I’ll be working on a blog post or writing something for the Center, switch over to read an e-mail that just came in, flip back to the blog post for a bit, flip over to a news site to see if anything’s happening in the world I ought to know about, take a phone call, flip back to the blog post, check in on Facebook for a second, then crank up a tune I really like that just came on and pick up the guitar behind me to jam along, then flip back to the blog post.

But, as Yglesias says, “I can really only carry out one linguistic function at a time—I’m reading, or I’m writing, or I’m thinking—and so I need to decide what’s what.” For instance, sometimes when I’m on the phone, an e-mail will come in and I’ll look at it. If I try to actually read it, though, it’s far harder – and sometimes impossible – to keep track of the phone conversation. You’ve probably been on the phone with someone who has attempted that and heard their voice get that far away tone that indicates you don’t have their full attention.

Like Yglesias, I doubt that today’s 20-year-olds are actually any better at that – though they may think they are. He talks about college kids sitting in lecture halls listening to their instructors while looking at Facebook. Something tells me they’re not absorbing all that they think they are. I could be wrong – but I bet their mothers’ have heard that same far-away tone in their voice during more than one phone conversation.

When multitasking first came to computers, it was not true multitasking, though it looked like it to the user. Two programs might be running simultaneously, but the processor was actually switching between tasks rapidly (today’s iPhone pulls much the same trick). Today’s multi-core processors can actually handle true multitasking.

But I don’t think our single-core brains can.

Dilbert and the sock puppet

I am a huge fan of the comic Dilbert, and of Scott Adams, its creator. In fact, you’ll see Adams’ blog on my blog roll over on the right side of this page. Having said that, the revelation that he’d been engaging in sock-puppetry on Metafilter (another blog in my blog roll) really takes him down many notches in my estimation. (Sock-puppetry is pretending to be someone else online to defend or promote your actual self.) Worse is the lengthy, incomprehensible defense of the indefensible he posted to his blog that, astoundingly, included a defense of a woman who sent out a racist photo of President Obama’s faced superimposed on a monkey:

If your only context is what the Internet says about this story, you assume it’s a typical racist act by a Republican who is already guilty by association. But if I add the context that Googling “George Bush monkey” gives you over 3 million hits, and most of them are jokes where President Bush’s face is transposed on a monkey, you see what’s really going on. Democrats and advocates of civil rights are using the media to further an agenda at the expense of a woman who was probably so non-racist that the photo in question didn’t set off her alarms as being a career-ending risk.

Uh, sorry, Scott, but that doesn’t wash. There is a long and unfortunate history of comparing blacks to lower primates and anyone with any racial sensitivity whatsoever would realize that. Of course, anyone with any racial sensitivity whatsoever wouldn’t respond to complaints about this e-mail with: “Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people–mostly people I didn’t think would be upset by it.” First, there’s the cliche “I have friends who are black” – which almost certainly means you don’t. Then there’s the “I only sent it to people I didn’t think would be upset by it” – What, your close group of racist friends?

But I digress. The issue is Adams’ sock-puppetry and his defense of it. Read the thread on Metafilter leading up to the revelation that Metafilter user “PlannedChaos” was actually Scott Adams. It isn’t pretty, especially with the foreknowledge of what Adams is doing – and what he admits to have been doing for years.

I’m not going to quit reading Dilbert or Adams’ blog, but my joy of both will be somewhat blunted because of this incident.

(h/t Scalzi)

Which part of this statement is the most nonsensical?

Ralph Reed on Donald Trump: “Evangelicals will like his pro-life and pro-marriage stances, combined with his business record and high-wattage celebrity all but guarantee he will get a close look from social conservatives as well as other Republican primary voters.”

Oh. My. God. So much nonsense packed into one, relatively short sentence.

Pro-life: Trump was, until he decided to become a right-wingnut, emphatically pro-choice: “I believe it is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors,” he said.

Pro-marriage: Hells, yes, Trump is pro-marriage. He’s so pro-marriage that he’s been married three times. (Full disclosure: I, too, am on my third – and final – marriage; the difference is I don’t put myself up as an arbiter of who ought to be able to marry and who shouldn’t.)

Business record: As many times as he’s been married, Trump has declared bankruptcy even more often: 1991, 1992, 2004, and 2009.

It really speaks volumes about the current condition of the Republican electorate – crazed – and its 2012 presidential field – barren – that Trump is essentially the current GOP frontrunner.

(h/t Balloon Juice)