Compare and Contrast, or, satire is dead

MeFi pointed this out, but the key posts to view are this Volokh Conspiracy post, wherein he notes that

I think there’s a good case to be made that taxing people to protect the Earth from an asteroid, while within Congress’s powers, is an illegitimate function of government from a moral perspective. I think it’s O.K. to violate people’s rights (e.g. through taxation) if the result is that you protect people’s rights to some greater extent (e.g. through police, courts, the military). But it’s not obvious to me that the Earth being hit by an asteroid (or, say, someone being hit by lightning or a falling tree) violates anyone’s rights; if that’s so, then I’m not sure I can justify preventing it through taxation.

Our counterpoint is the Onion story with the following headline: Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth

A bit:

“The voters sent us to Washington to stand up for individual liberty, not big government,” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said at a press conference. “Obama’s plan would take away citizens’ fundamental freedoms, forcing each of us into hastily built concrete bunkers and empowering the federal government to ration our access to food, water, and potassium iodide tablets while underground.”

“We believe that the decisions of how to deal with the massive asteroid are best left to the individual,” King added.

Don’t miss the sidebar summarizing either side’s arguments.

What I Learned Today

Just because you could get both kittens in the carrier 18 months ago when you first took ‘em to the goddamn vet doesn’t mean you can do it today with two full-grown cats, Dr Doolittle. It’s been 25 years since you had to deal with genuinely unhappy felines, and having had a vet for a dad doesn’t impart to you permanent amounts of Dog Whisperer-level animal husbandry skills, you doofus.

Now go bandage your hand, reschedule the appointment, and buy a second fucking carrier.

If you’re one of those doofuses who thinks the TSA makes us safer, read this

In a test in Dallas, a TSA agent concealed a handgun in her underwear and repeatedly made it through the checkpoint without a problem. Despite repeating the test several times, the gun was never detected.

The persons responsible for screening at the time have been neither disciplined nor placed on alternate duty. But thank god we’ve got $500 million worth of body scanners, right?

The TSA is a monstrous waste of time, money, and resources. It’s a huge boondoggle for earmarks and spending, and produces no measurable benefits and significant measurable problems. And it’s not just the TSA; it’s huge chunks of the DHS, too — they’ve not stopped any plot yet. We have either passengers (think Reid) or conventional law enforcement (London) to thank.

Tablets: A Contrary View

This mild rejection of the current tablet landscape is worth your time:

In general, it’s less optimal to have an output area that also doubles as an input area. This is why the mouse and keyboard will be with us for decades hence—because they let you keep your hands away from what you’re trying to focus on.

Your Monday morning treat

Sigourney Weaver went on Graham Norton, and the discussion wandered to Alien and that horrific and iconic scene wherein John Hurt meets his grisly end. They speak briefly of the effects involved — it came out i 1979, so it’s all puppets and angles with no computer help — and Norton comments that they’ve set up a side stage for a re-enactment.

Madcap hilarity does, of course, ensue:

People need to shut this shit down NOW

The ongoing efforts of Wisconsin GOP governor Walker’s administration to kill unions are just another part of the obnoxiously retrograde GOP agenda — attacking Planned Parenthood, attacking women, and attacking labor are all part and parcel of their worldview. It’s not about budget problems; hell, they created the budget problems.

It should come as no surprise, then, to realize that mining magnates like the Koch brothers are funding and backing the union-killing effort that has at its root the notion of ending collective bargaining for everyone.

Maybe nobody in your family is in a union, and maybe you’ve forgotten what labor relations were like before there were unions, but if you enjoy things like a 40-hour week, insurance, and safe working conditions, you have unions to thank. Support the Wisconsin union folks, and make sure your reps know that unionbusting won’t fly.

Dept. of Crushing Disappointments

“Everybody Skype? Everybody Post?” Jesus fucking CHRIST, Lou, really? For fucking HP, of all things? You’re fucking killing me, man.

Sigh. That right there is plenty enough to avoid the almost certainly doomed hail-mary tablet from what used to be Hewlett Packard, which ate what used to be Palm. Fuck ‘em both.

As always, the Onion nails it.

Interim Apple Chief Under Fire After Unveiling Grotesque New Macbook:

CUPERTINO, CA — In his first major product release since stepping in for an ailing Steve Jobs last month, interim Apple CEO Tim Cook faced a storm of harsh criticism Monday after unveiling a grotesque new version of the company’s popular MacBook that many in attendance described as “disgusting.”

Cook presented the bizarre, malformed new product to stunned silence during a media event at Apple headquarters, revealing a device that, while vaguely similar to a computer in certain respects, appeared to be encased in a thick, flesh-like coating that was visibly moist and engorged.

“Oh, my sweet God,” Apple employee Kurt Starfeldt said after viewing the MacBook up close. “It appeared to be discharging some sort of mucus-type substance from the headphone jack and making these weird murmuring sounds. And then it started quivering at one point when Tim was demonstrating how to use the touch pad. It was quite upsetting, actually.”

and

One customer, who had been anticipating the release of the new MacBook for months, claimed he felt “nauseous” when multiple software applications running at once caused the computer to started wheezing.

“I tried to force-quit some of the programs, but it got all slow and began to turn this sickly purple color,” Bill DeLain, 39, said. “Finally I hit the eject button and a tray popped open and spit out a bunch of teeth. Why does it have teeth?”

Ow.

Note the sick enthusiasm with which Apple festoons extra snowflakes to better represent the unchristian conditions in which I’m now working.

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#webfail: “If the model sounds like TV, that is no accident.”

The Gawker network has adopted a new design that, more or less, genuflects towards TV as its guide instead of the random-access, user-driven way the web has worked before. It’s more about video and “appointment programming,” at least as they explain it. Oh boy!

Denton explains why you’ll probably stop reading his sites now. Of course, he doesn’t actually think that’s going to happen, but in the last week I’ve dropped 3 from my own personal rotation because of the shakeup. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Stay Classy, Jerry.

Ticketholders were essentially turned away at Cowboys Stadium after Jones’ bid to set the attendance record resulted in about 400 unusable seats.

The ticketholders were offered a few options, including SRO seats or the ability to watch the game on “big screen TVs”, along with the possibility of refunds of a multiple of the tickets’ face value — which, of course, ignores the fact that many tickets were bought on the secondary market, and that most attendees spent nontrivial money getting to Dallas, staying in hotels, etc.

Nice one, Jerry!

Best Wrestling EVAR: “How is this legal?”

This is the most awesome video you’ll see today: the Osirian Portal completely OWN these poor boys with sekrit Egyptian hypnosis moves!

Doomsday, you’re on notice. I thought your Dyketron 3000 — the Lesbian Robot from the Future! — couldn’t be topped, but it turns out actual wrestling has become even more hilariously absurd than your show. I eagerly await your response.

Oh, Fox. Just when we thought you couldn’t sink lower.

Via MediaMatters:

If you follow the link, you are taken to a page on Fox Nation that claims Obama “misquoted a familiar Bible verse” during his address yesterday:

President Obama misquoted a familiar Bible verse during a faith-based address at the National Prayer Breakfast.

“Those who wait on the Lord will soar on wings like eagles, and they will run and not be weary, and they will walk and not faint,” the president said during a speech to several thousand people at the breakfast.

But the actual passage, from Isaiah 40:31, states: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Somewhat ironically, while Fox Nation appears to be positioning themselves as the arbiters of authentic Christianity, they seem unfamiliar with the fact that there is more than one version of the Bible.

Obama was quoting from the New International Version, while Fox Nation was pointing to the King James Version to “debunk” him.

This would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

Ah, airport security. You never stop being hiliarious

Man puts wife on no-fly list:

According to the Daily Mail Online, an immigration officer who worked for the UK Border Agency managed to get his wife out of his hair for three years by putting her name on the no-fly list while she was visiting the in-laws overseas. Officials confirmed on January 30 that the man had confessed to adding his wife’s name to the list after she left for Pakistan, with the result that she was not allowed to get on a plane to come home. Airline and immigration authorities refused to explain to her why she was not being allowed to travel, although I imagine she put two and two together after her immigration-officer husband stopped answering his phone.