Test questions were either outdated or the riddle of the Sphinx.
Georgia has reportedly subjected Puerto Rican transplants to Jim Crow-style testing to "prove" they were actually island residents. This was intended to "crack down" on illegal immigrants using fake Puerto Rican birth certificates to obtain driver's licenses. If you've driven in Georgia, you're probably surprised to learn that the drivers are licensed at all.
The Department of Driver Services didn't just test the the authenticity of the birth certificates. That's too straightforward. Instead, they tested applicants' knowledge of Puerto Rico's government, geography and culture. This seems unfair. Despite what half the country believes, Puerto Ricans are Americans and we notoriously know very little about our own government, geography, and culture. Thanks to the popularity of The Crown, we could probably more ably pass a test about the royal family.
Good for them!
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, are breaking up -- not with each other, but with the monarchy. They announced yesterday that they were "stepping down" as "senior members" of the royal family. Harry is the spare, not the heir, and now that his older brother, Prince William, has kids, Harry is at the end of a Shake Shack line for the crown. It's not like he's abdicating or anything, which I know is a familial sore point for the royals. He and Markle should do what they like.
The media is already calling the couple's decision "Megxit," because everything is Markle's fault. This is the joint statement they released:
(It is telling them to go fuck themselves, all to 'save' $20 million a year.)
The Trump administration is working on new rules for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program that appear to be designed -- you might want to sit down for this -- to kick people out of the program. (SSDI has long been a target of rightwing assholes who are certain that too many people qualify, and Trump is nothing if not a sloppy gift to rightwing assholes.) HuffPo reviews the draft rules, which were published in November. The public comment period is open until January 17, after which the administration will do as it pleases and then get sued.
As things stand, people who make it through the Sisyphean rigors of actually qualifying for SSDI already have to demonstrate every few years that they're still disabled. The new rules would add one more layer of review for certain recipients by adding a new category of disability classification that would require more frequent re-qualification than under the current system. The goal seems to be to eject people from the system by tossing more bureaucracy at them, all in the name of keeping SSDI "accountable."
And if disabled people end up without the help they need, that's a bummer, but if they didn't get through the paperwork process they must have been faking, right? It's precisely the same logic as red states' hard-on to add work requirements for people on Medicaid. The stated goal is reducing "fraud," but there's very little fraud. But if a lot fewer people get benefits, that's a win, and proof there were too many fraudulent takers living the high life off the hard-working taxpayer.
Stephen Miller pushes to declare Moon a 'safe third country.'
The Trump administration's efforts to eliminate the asylum process continues, this time into downright bizarre territory. Yr Wonkette likes to joke about how all rightwingers seem to think everyone from Latin America is from "Mexico," and as the above 100 percent real Fox News chyron demonstrates, the Right is pretty helpful in creating that impression. But now the administration is out to deter asylum applicants who really are from Mexico by sending them to Guatemala, which makes all kinds of sense. Buzzfeed News reports that, under an expansion of an already controversial program aimed at preventing anyone from gaining asylum at the southern border, the US will begin sending Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala instead of allowing them to seek refuge in the US.
Well sure it's probably a violation of US and international law. Why would that stop this bunch? Besides, look at all the federal judges Mitch is getting confirmed!
Hillary Clinton warned us all that an unstable reality TV host would make a piss-poor commander-in-chief of the world's most powerful military. Unfortunately, she shrunk the testicles of insecure men in the rust belt, so here we are. Donald Trump, flush from killing Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, tweeted threats at Iran yesterday like a drunk-dialing Dr. Evil. Duck and cover, y'all.
Irreconcilable differences, as they say.
For years, the United Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant denomination in America and the third largest in the world, has been arguing about the role of LGBT people in its church. This week, that argument has been settled as they have officially decide to split the church into two separate denominations: One that accepts gay people, performs same-sex weddings, and permits LGBT clergy, and another, for the homophobes.
Last year, they held a conference to decide what to do about same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy. Should they allow them? Should they let individual churches decide which way they they wanted to go? They had a vote, and to the surprise of many, the plan that eventually won out was one that would not only ban both same-sex marriage and LGBT ordination, but also would institute harsh penalties on churches and clergy that refused to go along and be bigots with them. While the "traditionalists" in the church were very happy about this, many others were not. And who can blame them?
We'll be 'greeted as liberators,' and other greatest hits from 2003.
Looks like the US has gone and started another Middle East war, or at least done its damnedest to try, with the assassination of Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad yesterday. Not surprisingly, the usual rightwing suspects are hailing Donald Trump as the Brilliant Tough Guy who took Brilliant Tough action, and any quibbles about the legality or wisdom of a targeted assassination, without consulting Congress, is moot. After all, America won, Iran lost, and that's all there is to it. We sure showed them!
Let's take a look at some of the very smartest takes!
Oh you can't, she got fired from 'cultural diversity trainer.'
Ding dong, the Nazis are gone.
Last month, a photo depicting 31 graduating West Virginia corrections officers doing a Nazi salute, with the caption "Hail Byrd" for one of the students' instructors, became public. Now, all of the cadets, the instructor they were saluting, and two other staffers from the Corrections Academy have been fired. Four additional instructors who saw the photograph and failed to report it to their superiors have been suspended with pay. And the Anti-Defamation League has been asked to help prepare Holocaust education for future Corrections Academy courses.
SHOCKINGLY, an investigation confirms exactly what we all expected it to.
People aren't 'basically good' and teenagers are stupid.
Rightwing intellectual Dennis Prager, the Family Values guy who explained child hunger is OK because free school breakfasts "weaken the parent-child bond," recently took on another pernicious corrupter of the world's morals: Anne Frank. The teen diarist, who died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen in 1945, was absolutely wrong when she wrote "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." Oh yeah? Dennis Prager, like any good Puritan, knows that human nature is essentially corrupt and sinful, which is why the Nazis persecuted Anne Frank and her family in the first place. And to rein in sinful human nature, we need strong authority figures who'll enforce God's laws and preserve us from chaos.
Prager summarized that a bit more succinctly, though, explaining Anne Frank didn't understand basic morality because she was a "secular Jew," and besides, "I don't get my wisdom from teenagers."
SO MUCH SEX!
Yr Wonkette, like Mike Huckabee, BRINGS THE SEX. Only unlike Huckabee, we bring the actual sex, or at least the sex that isn't all sad and depressing like all the harassment and the abortion restrictions, because it's the end of the year and we don't want to bum you out. So let's remember some of our favorite sexytimes stories of the year, shall we? We shall!
Open up the libel laws, uh huh uh huh!
There's been a funny thing going on in the ol' U-S-A. Conservatives are really really really concerned about "free speech," because of how Antifa keeps murdering them with "concrete milkshakes" every time they try to throw a white power party, but don't worry, they got better. (Antifa has yet to actually murder any conservatives with the wholly fictional concrete milkshakes, but it's like when your husband is mean to you in your dream, you still get to be mad at him about it.)
But at the same time, conservatives are really really really NOT concerned about "free speech" when people say or tweet mean things that are absolutely protected First Amendment "opinion" and absolutely protected First Amendment "satire" going way back through many Supreme Court cases. Like, this shit is some settled-ass case law -- far more than your dumb "everyone gets a gun," which only goes back as far as 2008's Heller decision, and even Antonin Scalia said that didn't actually mean that you can have a fucking rocket launcher.
And that's why Devin Nunes sued a cow.
Most of us. Just not the people in charge.
Let's start with good news on climate: In poll after poll, large majorities of Americans say they agree climate is a major concern and that the government needs to do more to reduce carbon emissions. More than three-quarters of adults and teens agree that human activity is affecting the climate, and a majority think it's not too late to find solutions. Some people are shaky on the scientific details; a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll earlier this month found that
43 percent of adults and 57 percent of teens cited "plastic bottles and bags" as a "major" contributor to climate change, which is incorrect. That response may echo a recent burst of news media attention to plastic pollution in the oceans.
But the main point is that big majorities know that burning fossil fuels is heating up the planet, so if some people drive less and recycle more plastic, that's not a terrible thing. How's this for encouraging? Among Republicans, a majority of millennials and Gen-Z young'uns want more government action on climate, too. Baby steps -- teach your parents well, young Rs.
What has the world come to?
This week, there was a whole bunch of hubbub over the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation airing an edit of the seminal 1992 holiday film Home Alone 2: Lost In New York in which Donald Trump's cameo was cut for time. Trump himself even claimed that this was somehow the nefarious doings of one Justin Trudeau as some kind of NATO-based revenge. On Thursday's edition of Fox and Friends, co-host Katie Pavlich claimed that this was obviously "censorship" and all the other co-hosts agreed that it was exemplary of "Trump Derangement Syndrome" and that the scene was cut because Canada itself was terrified to show that before Donald Trump was the New Hitler, he was a beloved cultural figure.
And sure, that was a thing. For a while. Right up until he started hollering at Rosie O'Donnell, and accusing President Obama of faking his birthplace and generally turning himself into a national joke. Lots of people have been beloved cultural icons prior to everyone figuring out they are actually horrible.
Anyway, the big problem with this very prescient take is that this particular edit happened not this year, but in 2014, back when "President Donald Trump" was still a bad Simpson's joke. So unless these editors had psychic powers of some kind and just knew that Donald Trump was going to run for president two years later on a platform of pussy-grabbing and racism, it really was just a not-very-important-scene being cut for time to make room for commercials.
On Friday's edition of The Five, on which Pavlich also appeared, she actually — shockingly enough — acknowledged this and admitted that she was wrong about it being "censorship."
Via The Daily Beast (where you can also watch the clip):
At the end of Friday's edition of Fox News chatfest The Five, Pavlich—serving as one of the hosts—took a moment to issue something of a mea culpa. After co-host Dana Perino noted that the CBC insisted the film wasn't edited for political purposes, which guest host Michael Loftus called a "lie," Pavlich addressed her previous remarks.
"I have to issue a correction," the conservative Fox host stated. "Because apparently this edit happened in 2014."
"I was saying it would have been censorship if they did it now," she added. "Because it would have been political. But it happened before he was president. So I apologize for that. However, it is still stupid."
And that is probably the best anyone is getting out of her. Why it's stupid, we don't know. Maybe she feels as though this was a very important plot point in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York? I wouldn't know! As much as I do love Tim Curry and Catherine O'Hara, I don't think I've actually seen that movie since I was a child.
Just to be clear though, there's a reason they are doing this — and as absolutely stupid and petty as it sounds, it's actually quite smart. In a way. It makes these people identify even more fiercely with Trump, it makes them feel like they have to step up and defend him from the mean liberals who won't even let him have his Home Alone cameo, and that creates loyalty like you can't believe. Are Trump, his supporters, or Fox viewers in general actually being "censored?" Of course not. But "I've been censored" is a lot easier on the ego than "No one wants to hear my shit." So the more Trump and Fox play up the "censorship!" and "freeze peach" angles on things, the more validated their target audience feels. They know they've got a winner with this particular line of bullshit, and they're not wrong.
The way this particular incident ended was perfect. It wasn't that Trump was being "censored," it was that the movie was edited well before he was ever president, and instead of looking like victims, they all looked like fools. All they needed was enough rope.
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LEARN A THING, SHEEPLE!
Oyez! It's time for ConLaw 101 with noted Perfesser of Teevee Law 'n' Suchlike Charlie Kirk. Don't worry, there's no boring crap like bluebook citation, or precedent, or even "laws" at Turning Points Lawskool. Here, you and your homeschool brethren will enjoy a fast-paced, tweet-based curriculum guaranteed to shut down those sissy elitists with their fancy "degrees" at your next family picnic. Just hand over those credit cards, patriots, and enjoy this premium lawtalkin' content!
Today we'll be covering due process and special rights. First up, where does it say that criminals are entitled to confront their accusers? NOWHERE, THAT'S WHERE. Well, nowhere but in the coastal hellhole of New York, where a bunch of unelected bureaucrats just passed a law saying criminals get to know who's going to testify against them before the trial even starts.
They call it "discovery reform." Which is just more liberal filth! Take it from your perfesser, kids, discovery is a thing that happens at boy scout camp late at night after the fire goes out and the adults go back to their own tents. And the proper reform is LATRINE DUTY, not passing a law encouraging that kind of exploration in the courthouse. What will they think of next!
'He just wants to kill anybody he can.'
Now that Donald Trump has ratified Fox News's assessment of former Navy SEAL chief Eddie Gallagher as a Genuine American Hero by pardoning him (and others) for war crimes, we're getting more information on the accusations that led to Gallagher's court martial in the first place. The New York Times reports today on videotaped testimony from members of Gallagher's SEAL platoon in Iraq, given during interviews with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service after the SEALs reported Gallagher's actions in early 2018. The special operators don't have a lot of nice things to say about their former chief, portraying him as a sociopath who just loved killing people, whether they were combatants or civilians.
Although the platoon members' testimony had previously been reported by the Navy Times and Task and Purpose during Gallagher's trial, the videos have not been seen publicly before now. (The Times has compiled clips from the testimony for its documentary series "The Weekly," showing now on the Hulu streaming service, and to be broadcast on the FX cable network Sunday.) The SEALS, breaking with the usual code of silence that Gallagher must have hoped would protect him, were pretty devastating in their testimony, recorded in a San Diego NCIS office after they'd all returned from Iraq.
Back in June, Task and Purpose reported, "A Navy SEAL sniper testified[...] that he fired warning shots to scare away a civilian noncombatant in Mosul before Chief Eddie Gallagher fired and told them over the radio, 'you guys missed him but I got him.'" The same sniper also said at the trial, "I shot more warning shots to save civilians from Eddie than I ever did at ISIS." The Times reporting gets far, far worse.
A very important message from the president.
This morning, President Donald J. Trump sent out an important tweet.
WELL! Yesterday, Old Dad told me he knew I worked very hard, "sitting on Twitter," and after I completely lost my shit at him, he backpedaled, saying that he "knows Twitter is a very important part of [my] job" and after I lost my shit at him some more, I went on Twitter and helped the president out with some other reviews of conservative actors in Hollywood.
If you followed me on Twitter, you'd be home to these jokes by now.
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