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Welcome to another edition of Derp Roundup, the weekly feature where we scrape the dumbest possible news leftovers off our overheated browser tabs, blend them into an almost-digestible slurry, and serve them up to you with a muffin and a warning to imbibe heavily.


  • Our Prime Derp this week is actually not so much the derp itself -- a petition to Whitehouse.gov calling for the deportation of Justin Bieber -- but rather the fairly brilliant official response to it, which starts out with a "sorry, no way" and then moves on to make a case for immigration reform, because are you people nuts, if you're going to waste time with a dumb petition, we may as well talk about something that matters. The "response" starts with the stupid old fine print:

    Sorry to disappoint, but we won’t be commenting on this one.

    The We the People terms of participation state that, “to avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition."

    Then it does a pretty nifty pivot:

    So we'll leave it to others to comment on Mr. Bieber’s case, but we’re glad you care about immigration issues. Because our current system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers, and 11 million people are living in the shadows.

    That status quo isn’t good for our economy or our country. We need common-sense immigration reform to make sure everyone plays by the same set of rules.

    Yes, we know, our earlier piece today took issue with answering a question that wasn't asked -- you don't like it, send a petition to the White House.

    We just like how the White House reply weaves Bieber Facts into its argument for immigration reform -- reform would shrink the budget deficit by a trillion dollars over 20 years, equal to "12.5 billion concert tickets -- or 100 billion copies of Mr. Bieber’s debut album."

    Somebody enjoys their job a little too much.

  • We saw a couple of stories about Great American Teachers this week, like Gil Voigt, a science teacher in Fairfield, Ohio, who capped off a long string of problematic comments to students over the past few years by telling a black student who said something about wanting to be president someday that America just can't afford another president like Barack Obama. Voight says it was definitely not a racist comment, since he added "whether he's black or white." Voight was fired after receiving multiple verbal and written warnings after previous incidents, like calling a student stupid and suggesting that he and several classmates were gay, and a 2008 comedy bit where he "trained his laser pointer at a black student and said he looked like 'an African-American Rudolph.'" We're going to bet that aiming a laser near a student's eye may also have been part of the problem in that one (seriously, that's not cause for firing and arrest in itself?). No word on whether anyone's presenting him as a free-speech martyr yet. Oh, wait, google says that actually, of course is totally a martyr. (you'll be astonished to learn that these stories don't mention the earlier incidents).
  • Our other great teacher this week is the also-fired Dru Dehart, a Florida middle-school teacher, who told six boys in her class to beat up a classmate who had sassed her. The attack was caught on a school surveillance camera. The kid allegedly "threatened" Dehart in March 2013 by saying he "wished he could curse out teachers someday,” which certainly seems like a good reason for her to tell other students to "teach him a lesson." According to the boy's mother, the other boys

    picked him up, carried him, holding him by the neck, took him down to her classroom and forcibly made him apologize to her,” said Latasha Darrisaw, the boy’s mother. “Her remarks to him were, ‘I’ve got my eighth-grade boys on you; you’re not so tough now.”

    After a yearlong investigation, the St. Lucie school board voted to fire Dehart last week; so far, we haven't seen anyone blaming Common Core for this, but give them time. The other delightful part of this story is just how many other results you get if you search "teacher bullies student." No, please don't, you want to have a nice weekend.

  • Montana state Sen. Matt Rosendale, who's running for Congress, released the latest "Candidates Shoot Stuff" campaign ad; in this one, Rosendale pretends to shoot down a drone, because he is a Patriot Hero.

    Leaving aside the cheesy simulated graphics, we may quickly be reaching market saturation, a tipping point where it will be news when a Republican candidate releases an ad that does not feature something being shot.

  • The New York Post ran a story about pricey AirBnB rentals being hired by hookers who use them for doing prostitution in.

    The prostitute, a buxom brunette who charges up to $500 an hour, said her escort service generally rents an Airbnb apartment in the Financial District or Midtown West for up to a week at a time — then cycles numerous hookers through the place for trysts around-the-clock.

    The agency flies under the radar by having its workers secure the apartments through their own Airbnb profiles, then has them pay the rent with prepaid debit cards. The apartments usually cost between $200 and $400 a day.

    “[They] probably save $200 to $300 a night by not getting a hotel,” the sex worker said. “It’s really good for business.”

    See? The free market finds a way! We weren't even sure whether to include that story, honestly, since so far, no politicians have been caught doing sex with a prostitute in an AirBnB rental. But give it time, give it time.

  • The Oklahoma House passed a utility-backed bill to charge people with rooftop solar panels or home wind turbines extra fees for their hookups to the electrical grid, because when people generate their own clean electricity and sell it back to the utilities, that allegedly incurs "infrastructure costs" for the utilities. It's definitely, absolutely, 100% NOT an attempt to punish people for not relying solely on utilities and their coal or natural gas generating stations. Besides, there's no such thing as global warming, so anyone investing in "clean" electricity needs to be dissuaded from spreading dangerous propaganda. But don't worry, it's not punishing anyone -- the new surcharge will only apply to new installations, not existing hookups.

    Update/clarification: OK, looks like we got this wrong, or partly wrong depending on how high that infrastructure surcharge ends up being. As zippy_w_pinhead explains in a detailed comment, there's a legitimate case to be made for charging home solar users for costs of being connected to the grid. The amount of that charge is what would make it either reasonable or a burdensome disincentive; unfortunately, the article we cite doesn't say what the actual surcharge would be. Thanks to zippy for the clarification!

  • Bloomberg News ran a think-piece about "Why Rich People Feel Poor." It points out that a lot of rich people really struggle to enjoy their millions because of all the taxes they pay, and the fact tat they don't even qualify for a lot of the social programs that their taxes pay for. Heck, at least in Europe, the piece notes, everybody gets socialized medical care, long-term care for the elderly, parental leave, and generous subsidies for higher education and daycare and stuff, but in America, those things are only available to the poors, and pretty spottily at that.

    So if we're reading this thing correctly, we're pretty sure that, whatever the author's intentions, it's a strong argument for adopting several elements of European-style social welfare programs, if only to keep the rich happy. We could live with that.

  • Promoters in Missouri announced that, due to low ticket sales, they were cancelling a show by the Duck Dynasty people. Ratings for the Robertsons's reality teevee show are down by 30%, almost certainly to the liberal media forcing people to switch to MSNBC or something. We haven't yet heard any calls for a boycott of Missouri tourism due to the cancellation of the "Faith, Family & Ducks" show in Springfield -- don't those promoters have any respect for the First Amendment?
  • Dead Brietbart's Refuge for Stupid Questions ran a passionate defense of the Confederate Flag, asking why schools ban the display of the flag of the only North American entity to start a war against the United States of America,* but not "the Nation of Islam flag, as well as the Black Panther flag?"

    Best. Fake. Equivalence. Ever. And just to seal the deal, writer Javier Manjarres clarifies that

    Back in the 1900's when the Confederate flag proudly flew throughout the southern United States, it wasn't displayed to call attention the slavery of blacks that was occurring, but to represent those southern states.

    There is a very big difference here between the Confederate flag and those flags from the Black Panther Party, Nation of Islam, and the KKK, which all convey outright hatred.

    Yes. He doesn't even get the right century for the Civil War. Which wasn't about hatred, or slavery. Also, too, we suppose we should mention that while the Nation of Islam has a flag, the Black Panther Party had only a logo, not an official flag (yes, yes, you can buy "black panther flags" online -- in about ten different designs).

    * OK, there was the U.S.-Mexico war of 1846. But as you know, we started that one.

  • And that's all the Derp we have for you this week. There's actually a lot more, but sometimes, a guy just gets tired of shoveling.

    [Whitehouse.gov / TPM / Conservative Firing Line / Moonbattery / WPBF via RawStory / Slate / NY Post / NewsOK / Bloomberg / TPM / Breitbart]

    Doktor Zoom

    Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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