Égalité is for commies

Last Week in Weird

Vive la France!

The ongoing comedramedary that is electoral politics has entered its next season, as the French presidential elections have completed their first round of combat. As expected, right-wing hate fear fascist nazi Hitler Trump white privilege patriarch poopyhead Marine Le Pen has made it to the second round, as has "centrist" Emmanuel Macron, an international banker and former member of the Socialist Party. No points for guessing which one George Soros is paying college students to riot for. Further research: what does "antifascistes" mean in French? It is a mystery!

Macron is expected to mop the floor with Le Pen in the runoff, and this is not predicted to be anything like the way Hillary Clinton mopped the floor with Donald Trump, nor the way "remain" mopped the floor with "leave" in the British EU vote I still refuse to call "Brexit" because honestly that’s hideous. We all know that the two things that are always and everywhere honest and correct are elections and electoral polls, so I’m sure that will remain the case.

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You're doing it wrong

Last Week in Weird

By fire be purged

There are just so many things we take for granted that we really should remember to thank the government for. After all, without the government, who would build the roads? Without the government, who would remove the snow from the government roads? Without the government, who would put out fires? Without the government, who would block the road when a government snowplow catches fire outside the fire station, and the fire department isn’t equipped to deal with it?

Wait, what?

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Glad I could help!

Last Week in Weird

Olha, que coisa mais linda, mais cheia de graça

Rio de Janeiro has a bit of an image problem lately. Tourists getting murdered on the beach will do that to you, to say nothing of this year’s Plague That Will Destroy Civilization, the dreaded zika virus. Still and all, Rio’s newly-elected mayor has a bold plan that will restore the city to its well-deserved place as the crown jewel of Latin tourism. No, he does. Listen:

"Rio de Janeiro cannot continue treating its tourists as if they were an afterthought," Mr. Crivella, 59, told the audience, emphasizing the need to "shatter" Rio’s "negative image."

"This is something we need to discuss," he said.

You’re on to me, aren’t you. You’ve already guessed that this is going to be something absurd. Still and all, your humble narrator is willing to bet you aren’t guessing anything quite as absurd as the mayor’s actual plan, which is to pay reparations to tourists who are mugged while in Rio. Now, understand this: I don’t mean to say the mayor is setting aside a block of money to pay people who’ve been mugged recently, along with maybe some plan to reduce the muggings going forward. No, the plan is evidently to tell everybody "come to Rio! Sure, you’ll get mugged, but we’ll pay you back!" which I’m not a hundred percent sure is a good sales pitch.

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If only

Last Week in Weird

Honest Journalism

You’ve probably heard by now, but the next president of the United States will be Hillary Rodham Clinton. We know this because a stalwart bastion of journalistic integrity said so — specifically Newsweek, which made the decision to go ahead and print its special commemorative "Madam President" issues well in advance of the election. Newsweek defended itself by pointing out that this is a common practice; production times being what they are, generally both commemorative issues do get printed, and only the correct one sees distribution. CNN even provided intellectual cover by referencing the true correct fact that MLB produced both Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians World Series championship memorabilia, but only sold the Cubs version (the Indians gear will be offloaded in the third world as discount apparel — no, that’s true). There’s just one problem with the story.

As CNN explains to its slower readers, "this is the media version of World Series keepsakes that were on sale in Cleveland and Chicago last week. Street vendors printed "Cubs win" and "Indians win" T-shirts, then trashed the Indians shirts after the Cubs won Game 7."

There is just one very notable difference: in the case of the World Series, there were two sets of shirts created. However, in the case of the infamous Newsweek special edition, the publishing company Topix, decided to print just one.

Guess which. [Emphasis original]

Whoops missus!

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Dangerous Precedents

I’m sure you all remember what happened on 11 September 2001. How could you possibly forget? It was the seminal event upon which the modern American republic was founded. A quick recap, though, for those who overdosed on cocaine back in the 80s and have been in a coma ever since: a group of Saudi nationals, in the United States on Saudi passports, hijacked several aircraft and crashed them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, killing thousands of innocent people and also the ones at the Pentagon too. Now, fifteen years later, the United States government has finally conceded that Saudi Arabia was perhaps — perhaps! — involved, and congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act:

This bill amends the federal judicial code to narrow the scope of foreign sovereign immunity by authorizing U.S. courts to hear cases involving claims against a foreign state for injuries, death, or damages that occur inside the United States as a result of a tort, including an act of terrorism, committed anywhere by a foreign state or official.

It amends the federal criminal code to permit civil claims against a foreign state or official for injuries, death, or damages from an act of international terrorism. Additionally, the bill authorizes federal courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over and impose liability on a person who commits, or aids, abets, or conspires to commit, an act of international terrorism against a U.S. national.

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Smell ya later!

Last Week in Weird

Gary Blues

Somebody must have told Gary Johnson that I actually wrote faintly nice things about the Libertarian Party, because he wasted absolutely no time making me regret them. Here he goes making disjointed, rambling remarks to the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney, in which he states that the federal government should have unlimited power to force people to associate with one another, with, evidently, the single exception that he personally shouldn’t be forced to be a social conservative. You think I’m just trying to make him sound like a fool, but, no, that is pretty much exactly what he says. When Carney asked if the government of New Mexico — Gary’s own home state — should have the power to punish photographers for refusing to cover gay weddings, Gary sputtered out this crazy thing:

Look. Here’s the issue. You’ve narrowly defined this. But if we allow for discrimination — if we pass a law that allows for discrimination on the basis of religion — literally, we’re gonna open up a can of worms when it come stop discrimination of all forms, starting with Muslims… who knows. You’re narrowly looking at a situation where if you broaden that, I just tell you — on the basis of religious freedom, being able to discriminate — something that is currently not allowed — discrimination will exist in places we never dreamed of…

It’s the right message, and I’m sideways with the Libertarian Party on this. My crystal ball is that you are going to get discriminated against by somebody because it’s against their religion. Somehow you have offended their religion because you’ve walked in and you’re denied service. You. (Emphasis original)

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NOT OPPRESSED ENOUGH

Last Week in Weird

I ain’t afraid of no jokes

When it comes to trolling, alt-right wunderkind Milo Yiannopoulos — whose name I had to check four times to make sure I spelled correctly — is the very best, like no one ever was. You may recall some months back, when he was mysteriously "unverified" on Twitter, as though suddenly it had become unclear if he was the real deal or perhaps a pod creature or some type of replicant. Well now he’s upped the ante a bit: Yiannopoulos has been officially permanently banned from Twitter. His crime? He irritated Leslie Jones, who is apparently famous, but who I had honestly never heard of until this story broke. Jones was indeed so flustered by Yiannopoulos’ horrible racist harassment campaign that she abandoned Twitter entirely.

The ironic masterstroke, of course, is that Yiannopoulos did not send the tweets that so infuriated Jones. He was, indeed, one of the targets of the tweets, which were sent by an account impersonating Jones. None of this appears to matter to the social justice crowd, who apparently view Jones’ blackness as being higher on the victimhood hierarchy than is Yiannopoulos’ homosexuality. It’s also cute to observe that, just last week, I was pointing out that it’s no longer important for hate crimes to contain any hate or any crime, and now just one short week later it’s not even important if the hate criminal actually did what he’s accused of. But what about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s constant quacking about how Twitter "doesn’t censor?" As Buzzfeed’s bizarrely gleeful summary explains it:

According to the company, Yiannopoulos’s permanent suspension isn’t a matter of speech as much as a matter of behavior — specifically, a violation of Twitter’s rules regarding the targeted abuse of specific users.

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PIkachu, I mug you!

Last Week in Weird

It’s super effective!

Though this is not explicitly a gaming publication, I have no concern about my readership’s familiarity with Pokémon Go — Nintendo’s augmented-reality monster-catching phenomenon is redefining what it means to be a hit mobile game, having long since drawn a larger user base than previous efforts such as Candy Crush Saga, Twitter, and Google Maps, while bringing in so much revenue that one has to suspect the Bernank himself is giving Nintendo advice on how to print money. Indeed, Pokémon Go has been such a runaway success that New York City assemblyman Felix Ortiz has decided that the game now requires his personal oversight:

"Like any new technology, it has its advantages and disadvantages, and like any new technology, it has to be looked at very, very carefully. Everything comes down to people’s responsibility as well as corporate responsibility," Ortiz said Tuesday. "Every single one of us who might want to play this game have to be very cautious. Who’s sending what, and what is the follow up? Everyone should be cautious to make sure that no intruders will be able to tap into this and have people think they’re going to the park when in reality they’re going to a be targeted by some rapist. People could think they’re going to the bank, but in reality, someone is waiting to take their money."

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Turn me on, dead man

Last Week in Weird

What an astonishing coincidence!

Sometimes strange things happen that may seem to have some sort of causal relationship with one’s actions, but are really just pure coincidence. The classic example would be "street light interference phenomenon" — people who believe that, when they approach street lights, those street lights are disproportionately more likely to turn off. While boring reality suggests that, actually, the mysterious phenomenon is primarily a product of confirmation bias, to one experiencing it, the effect can seem pretty profound. Similarly, while it’s no doubt purely coincidental, it can certainly seem suspicious that John Ashe, former president of the United Nations General Assembly, accidentally crushed his own throat two days before he was set to testify against Hillary Clinton. Man, what are the chances?

The New York Post’s Page Six reported that after Ashe was found dead Wednesday, the U.N. claimed that he had died from a heart attack. Local police officers in Dobbs Ferry, New York, later disputed that claim, saying instead that he died from a workout accident that crushed his throat. [Lack of italics original]

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