Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – A Victory for Big Glug

There’s very little I care less about than what size soda you buy. This makes me the ideal squirrel to comment on Big Glug’s victory yesterday in New York City. (More) There are many things I care about. Visit me on Twitter and you’ll find me discussing economics and politics with economist Jeffrey Sachs, or pondering the risks of a ‘grand bargain’ with an unscrupulous adversary, or even trying to learn to speak Republican. And that’s when I’m not busy explaining the difficulties of decorating a tree for the Easter Bunny. Between that, researching my thesis on 21st Century Political Nuttitude, and domestic duties at Árbol Squirrel, I stay busy. So I haven’t had much time to follow New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on giant sugary drinks. Well, that and I just don’t care. I know this is a Very Big Deal, pitting The Forces of Science and Health against The Defenders of Freedom. Or something. If you also weren’t following this Very Big Deal, Mayor Bloomberg made a rule that limited sugary drinks to 16 ounces. Sort of. The rule was enacted through the New York City Health Board, not the City Council, so grocery and convenience stores would have been exempt. Dunkin Donuts wouldn’t have been able to sell you a 20-ounce coffee with sugar in it, but the 7-11 next door could sell you...

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Furthermore! – The High Wire of Comedy and Outrage

“#NRA: We thank the 20 children who gave their lives in defense of constitutional liberty and the right to bear arms. #GunControlNow,” I tweeted when I heard about the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Many thought that was outrageous. (More) Was my tweet crude and offensive? As bad as or worse than The Onion‘s crude and offensive tweet on Sunday night during the Oscars? Probably so, and I apologize. I will not offer any claim of “comedic immunity.” Quite the contrary. To write comedy is to expose yourself to ridicule, and sometimes that ridicule will be entirely justified. Comedy is a high wire act. It is, often, the art of the absurd and the outrageous, spotlighting our follies and puncturing our egos. For example, my tweet after Sandy Hook tried to highlight the absurdity of NRA claims about “freedom.” Much of comedy is “tragedy at a distance,” events that would otherwise hurt or horrify us, portrayed with enough of an artistic buffer that we laugh rather than cry. Comics also take disparate ideas and play our surprise at experience those ideas together. Consider this Ricky Gervais stand-up bit: I watch hours and hours of the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. Just back and forth, like six-hour stints, History Channel, Discovery Channel. Ask me anything about sharks and Nazis. Not as bad as a lot of people make out....

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Furthermore! – Rumors and Lies

It’s hardly breaking news that the internet is not a 100% reliable source, but when a rumor seems just perfect for the point you want to make … be suspicious. (More) I find lots of information on the internet. Some of it is important, some of it useful, some of it fun. I mean, who would have guessed that a sea otter can play basketball? I know, I know. I otter have known. And you otter get a better joke. For example, you could send an email to a staffer for a Republican senator who is claiming Chuck Hagel may have taken money from terrorist-related organizations and ask for specific names and dates. You might include a joke, such as asking if the senator has evidence that Hagel gave a speech to the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France” or the “Friends of Hamas.” Your none-too-veiled point being: you’ll write about evidence, but you won’t join in a baseless smear campaign because you’re a principled, professional journalist. Then a day or two later you discover that your pointed joke is the hottest new element in that baseless smear campaign. Oops. It’s not your fault. You’re dealing with the kind of people who – when you see what’s happening and say “Um, I made that up. That group doesn’t exist. It was a joke!” – will then say you confirmed...

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Furthermore! – Chateaux Fauxrage

Say what you will about the weekend habits of BPI’s resident faculty. Unlike the Beltway press corps, our faculty don’t hang out in the whine cellar. (More) I stay out of the BPI wine cellar library. It may surprise you to learn that there aren’t a lot of books down there. Or it may not surprise you. Anyway, I do most of my research online and Chef gave me her old e-reader when she got her new tablet. She even helped me get it up into Árbol Squirrel, so I can read books in my office. I downloaded some teen books for Nancy and Michelle too, so we’re pretty much set. I also avoid the wine cellar library because I don’t want to look like this. And that’s pretty much what the Beltway press corps have looked like since Friday, when they were told they couldn’t follow President Obama around on his golf weekend in Florida. This is a very big deal, according to Fox News correspondent Ed Henry: Speaking on behalf of the White House Correspondents Association, I can say a broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the President of the United States this entire weekend. There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight...

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Furthermore! – Remember the Maine 5: Remember With a Vengeance

I watched the MSNBC documentary Hubris last night, and it sounded like the fourth Remember the Maine movie. Worse, now they’re trying to make another one. (More) MSNBC didn’t schedule their excellent documentary Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War with Squirrel Standard Time in mind, but I stayed up to watch it anyway. So the Remember the Maine movies may have happened in my dreams. But here’s how I remember them: Remember the Maine – In the original movie, the dastardly King Espana hatched a plot to attack the USS Maine in Havana harbor. Or at least that was the story as told by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, who were competing to sell newspapers in New York City. Most U.S. leaders knew the explosion that sank the Maine was an accident, and later investigation determined that gases in the coal bunkers ignited. But the newspapers hyped the attack story and, to the stirring strains of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” the U.S. went off to war and won a quick, decisive victory … if you ignore the three-year Philippine-American War that followed, as most history books do. Remember the Maine 2: Remember the Dominoes – The sequel begins in the Gulf of Tonkin, as two dastardly North Vietnamese torpedo boats hurl dominoes at the USS Maddox. Struck on the shoulder by a double-six, the captain of...

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