Friday, May 26, 2017

You Can't Get Two Same-Flavor Scoops of Ben & Jerry's In Australia Until There's Same Sex Marriage

Do you want two scoops of the same flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney or anywhere else in Australia?  

You're out of luck, at least for now.

Australia is struggling with the question to allow same-sex marraige (the country is behind the times on this issue).

Activists there are bucking for same-sex marriage, and the reason for the Ben & Jerry's ban is part of that effort.

NBC News says that Ben & Jerry's declared that "love comes in all flavors" and in protest of Australia's lack of same sex marriage, they're banning ice cream cones with one flavor of ice cream.

You want two scoops? You must have two flavors.

Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's said the point of the scoop protest is to get people to imagine "how furious you would be if you were told you were not allowed to marry the person you love.

So, we are banning two scoops of the same flavor and encouragig our fans to contact their MPs to tell them that the time has come - make marriage equality equal."

For the uninitiated, "MP" stands for "member of parliament."

Polls indicate a majority of Australians support same sex marriage.

NBC said last November, the national Senate rejected a national referendum on same-sex marriage. Both liberals and sympathetic conservatives said the vote would have been just a delaying tactic.

Parliament could just change the law and allow same sex marriage.

The Ben & Jerry's scoop protest won't have a huge impact: There are only 26 Bem & Jerry's outlets in the entire country of Australia.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Assault On Reporter By Republican Candidate Gianforte A Campaign Boost

Republican Greg Gianfonte, in a special Montana Congressional
election today, is accused of assaulting a reporter Wednesday
evening. Will that help or hurt him?
Everybody is talking about Republican Greg Gianforte today this morning.

He's up for a special Congressional election today against Democrat Rob Quist in a closely watched race.

Of course the reason all the talking today is going on is because Gianforte assaulted a reporter who fairly aggressively questioned him about the Republican repeal and replace of Obamacare, which would kick 23 million people off health insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Yep, Gianforte is charged with misdemeanor assault for body slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the night before the election.

Many people rightly condemned the assault. Montana newspapers withdrew their endorsements of Gianforte. Many people are now hoping he loses the election, which had been tightening anyway due to revulsion over some Republican proposals.

If Gianforte loses, that would be something, as his Congressional district is normally reliably Republican.

Don't count on him losing, though.

There's a large subset of the worst of the Republican base who are thrilled that Gianforte punched a so-called obnoxious reporter, especially one from the left-leaning Guardian.

Gianforte's macho moves might lead hard-core Republicans to come out and vote for him in droves today.

After all, the Trump campaign and his administration has made literally bashing journalists - not just criticiziing them - a popular move among the Republican wacko caucus.

As CNN notes:

"Senior Huffington Post media reporter Michael Calderone pointed to the arrest earlier this month of a West Virginia reporter who shouted questios about health care reform at Health Secretary Tom Price and the manhandling by security gaurds of a Washington reporter at the Federal Communications Commisson headquarters."

All this led Modern Family Executive Produer Danny Zuker to tweet, "It's a sad fact that in this climate I have no idea if assaulting a reporter hurts Gianforte or helps him."

That is sad.

But people really are applauding the assault. Brent Bozell, the president of the conservative Media Research Center, tweeted, "Jacobs is an obnoxious, dishonest first classs jerk. I'm not surprised he got smacked."

If Jacobs is an obnoxious, dishonest first class jerk, does that justify assaulting him? To Bozell, the answer is yes.

Of course, Bozell might still have sour grapes because Jacobs broke a story about suspicious financial dealings by the Media Research Center.

Reports from Montana polling places this morning are not encouraging.  CNN National Correspondent Kyung Lah offered the following tweets from Montana this morning:

"MT GOP voter to me just now, knowing I work for @CNN. 'That audio made me cheer.' She smiled as she walked in to vote for Gianforte."


"MT  GOP voter, upon learning we're from @CNN: 'You're lucky soeone doesn't pop one of you.'"


 By the way, Jacobs also got Gianforte pissed off in another respect

The assaulted reporter - Ben Jacobs - had previously broken a story about Gianforte's investments in Russian companies and we all know how controversial that type of thing is under the Trump administration.

It was telling that Gianforte's statement after the assault blamed Jacobs, saying he was a liberal reporter being aggressive. I guess that's grounds for body slamming, I guess.

Also, how can anyone run for office if they can't stand reporters asking tough questions and shoving tape recorders in their faces? That's what life is like for all politicians, liberal and conservative.

Today's election in Montana has turned into a referendum on which is better: Civility, or the natios continued decline into an acceptance of mob "justice" or the rule of law.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Car Split In Half In Crash, Driver Somehow Survives

This car was split in half lengthwise in a recent California
crash, but the woman driving it somehow only had minor injuries
The video at the bottom of this post is probably the scariest auto wreck I've seen.

The scene is the aftermath of a crash on Highway 101 in California in which an SUV driven by Kevin Fenty, 27, drifted across the highway into the opposite lane.  

In that opposite lane was Apol Lansang, 26, who was driving a Chevrolet Impala and was hit by Fenty's vehicle.

The crash tore Lansang's car in half lengthwise down the middle. Amazingly, she suffered just minor injuries and was treated and released at a nearby hospital, says the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Fenty had more serious injuries but is expected to recover.

"The scene was, it was pretty intense.....It was definitely one of the most severely damaged cars I've ever seen," said CHP Sgt. Jason Bahlman.

In a follow-up interview with the Press Democrat, Lansang said when the crash was about to happen, she closed her eyes and hoped for the best.

When the crash subsided, she saw what appeared to be another car involved in the crash resting against an embankment. She later realized it was the passenger side half of her car.

Police said Lansang might not have survived had she not been wearing a seatbelt. Fenty had more serious injuries because he was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from his vehicle. He's been charged with DUI.

Here's the video:

“The scene was, it was pretty intense,” said Sgt. Jason Bahlman, who has been with the CHP for 16 years. “It was definitely one of the most severely damaged cars I’ve ever seen.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Working At White House Has Become Worst Job Ever

Working for Donald Trump has to be very rough on
anyone's mental health. 
It used to be that if you got a job in the White House, that was prestigious. If you got such a job, your elderly relatives whisper to each other about how sharp you are.

Having worked at the White House looks awesome on a resume, at least it used to. At parties, flattering friends probably pepper you for insights on what the president is really like.  

Now, not so much. We all know what our president is like.

Working for the explosive, infantile, attention-span-of-a-puppy with ADHD, narcisstic, throw-everybody-under-the-bus Donald Trump has to be the worst job in the world. 

Of course, a lot of what we hear is from anonymous sources, and not everything we read about or see on TV is necessarily true. But the missives coming from the bowels of the White House sound like hell. Except less friendly than hell.

Even so, there's all these details that leak out.

Like how staffers in the White House turned up the TVs as loud as they could go as Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer and other top officials screamed at each other. The staffers with the TVs are kind of like terrified children whose parents are in a violent relationship.

Trump's favorite thing to do, apparently is throw others under the bus. He does something stupid, the staff tries to spin the White House out of the mess Trump creates, then Trump goes ahead and contradicts everything the spinners say.

As the Washington Post reports:

"....some aides have 'moved to angry,' frustrated with a president who demands absolute loyalty but in recent days has publicly tarnished the credibility of his team by sending them out with one message - only to personally undercut it later with a contradicting tweet or public comment."

Nothing like building morale by basically yelling to the world that your staffers are stupid.

The staffers, of course, end up looking like fools. Why do you think Melissa McCarthy mocks Sean Spicer so relentlessly on Saturday Night Live?

Speaking of massaged egos,  it turns out that the briefings Trump gets are Playskol versions, and even then, the only way to hold the president's attention when he is reading the briefs is to mention his name as often as possible.

According to Reuters:

"Conversations with some officials who have briefed Trump and others who are aware of how he absorbs information portray a president with a short attention span. 

He likes single-page memos and visual aids like maps, charts, graphs and photos. 

National Security Council officials have strategically included Trump's name in as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he's mentioned.' according to one source, who relayed conversatios he had with NSC officials."

 Of course, the media, and much of the general public - never mind late night comedy show hosts - have not exactly been massaging Trump's ego the way he likes.

That has led Trump to be dark and brooding and scary and even weirder than he usually is.  Which makes life for his aides even more dire,

The New York Times had this to report on Trump's state of mind:

"And his own mood, according to advisors who spoke on condition of anonymity, has become sour and dark, and has turned againts most of his aides, even his sonin-law, Jared Kushner - describing them as "incompetent," according to his advisors."

The incompetent one is, of course, the president. Aides have to babysit Trump during official meetings. The New York Times  says General McMaster "has tried to insert caveats or gentle corrections into conversations when he believes the president is straying off topic or onto boggy diplomatic ground."

Trump also thinks McMaster talks too much and "is a pain."

In any event, working in the Trump White House has seriously got to be a danger to one's mental health.

The Washington Post again: 

"For many White House staffers, impromptu support groups of friends, confidants, and acquaintances have materialized, calling and texting to check in, inquiring about their mental state and urging them to take care of themselves."

We don't know what will happen to the Trump administration or how long it will last, but I hope there's an army of PTSD counselors ready for any and all staffers that eventually leave the Trump White House.

They'll need it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sinkhole At Trump's Mar-A-Lago Is Entertaining Millions Today

Today's little sinkhole in front of Mar A Lago. 
A four-by-four foot sinkhole opened up on a street in Palm Beach, Florida, today, which normally wouldn't make the news.

Of course, the sinkhole formed in front of Mar-A-Lago, Donald Trump's ritzy resort and "winter White House," so that made the whole thing a lot of fun.  

It's the ultimate metaphor for what many of us see as a sinking ship, amid the, how shall we say, hiccups in the Trump presidency.

When the Palm Beach Post tweeted out the story of the Mar-A-Lago sinkhole, with a "Breaking News" headline, somebody responded via Twitter: "Breaking: God Sends Really Obvious Sign."

Another wag on Twitter, Elizabeth Schwartz said, "Surely, this is somewhere in revelations."

Somebody named John Maguire imagined on Twitter Trump's reaction to the sinkhole this way: "But it is a beautiful sinkhole. The best sinkhole in history. A model sinkhole for all future sinkholes."

Several people brought up that bizarre photo from over the weekend in which President Trump was seen holding a glowing orb with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Journalist Jonathan Chait said, "This is because of the orb, isn't it?"

Another observed: "The sinkhole formed right after the orb was touched."

Somebody out there want to write a great science fiction plot about this?

Quite a few other people suggested the sinkhole is the swamp draining.

Don't we wish.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sweet Internet-Age Revenge On Rude Coffee Shop People

Some guy named Kahlil Sehnaoui was annoyed at a coffee shop recently, because the group of people  at a table next to him were loud and rude.  

They were especially mean to wait staff, and got even louder when they were told to keep it down.

Then Sehnaoui overheard the group agreeing to a name for their new business. Yay!

Sehnaoui got sweet revenge. He quietly went on his laptop and bought the domain name for the business.

And that, my friend, is how you exact revenge in the Internet age.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Worst Date Ever Involves Texting During Movie; Lawsuit, Accusations

I've gotten into the weird habit of watching "First Dates" on TV occasionally on Friday evenings. 
A first date at this movie was probalby the worst ever,
and ended with a small claims court lawsuit. 

It is a "reality show" in which people go on first dates and see if they establish a connection. It's oddly entertaining. 

Some couples seem to hit it off. Some dates are terrible. The guilty pleasure is watching how people looking for love find connections. 

However, the worst date ever wasn't on this TV show. It was in Austin Texas, when, according to the Austin (Texas) American Statesman, Brandon Vezmar, 37, of Austin took a 35 -year-old woman on a date to see a 3D showing of the movie "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2"

Veznar said the woman kept texting during the movie, and he got annoyed. "This is, like, one of my biggest pet peeves," Veznar said. 

Yeah, texting during a movie can be annoying, but what Vezmar did next was a little over the top. He's suing the woman for $17.31, the cost of the movie ticket.

He was particularly peeved that she got annoyed by Veznar's texting scolding, so she left, leaving him without a ride home. 

When the Austin American-Statesman informed the woman she was being sued by Vezmar, she said, "Oh my God.....This is crazy."

Well, yes. 

Sometimes, two annoyinig people can make magic together. However, in Austin, an obnoxiously texting woman and a litigious man couldn't make it work. 

How sad. Or not. 

On the bright side, the CEO of another Austin theater, the Alamo Drafthouse, has offered a $17.31 gift certificate to settle the lawsuit.