Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Just A Typical Australian Fist Fight

A very Australian fist fight.
Things are always a little different in Australia, including fist fights and brawls.

When an unpleasant opponent tried to hurt his dog, a big, burly Australian dude was quick to defend his beloved Fido.

Watch the fist fight ensue. It's definitely Australian:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Can We Do Anything About Our New Post-Fact World

Edgar Maddison Welch of North Carolina being
arrested after he shot up a Washington DC pizza joint
because he believed preposterous stories that
Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring
out of the business
It's clearer than ever that nobody actually relies on facts anymore.

That's being driven home by a series of news items that are getting more and more and MORE absurd, and I don't know where or when or if it might stop.

Through the looking glass, anyone?

My angst started the other day with was  in a stunning CNN interview about our fact-free world that went viral the other day.

It got even worse with a bizarre gun attack on a pizzeria that originated from a false news story about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party running a pedophilia sex ring out of the pizzeria that an amazing number of people believe.

I'll get to that weirdness in a minute, but let's start from the beginning.

CNN Hos Alisyn Camerota asked a panel of just regular folks, all Trump supporters.

All of the Trump supporters agreed with one of the people in the panel, who repeated Donald Trump's very, very debunked assertion that three million people voted illegally.  (The stunning interview is at the bottom of this post.)

"Where did you get that information,?" Camerota asked.

"From the media," the woman answered.

For the record, CNN did report that Trump said that there were 3 million illegal voters, but CNN also made it clear that assertion was false.

"Did you hear President Obama say illegal people could vote,?" Camerota asked the panel.

They all said yes, and of course Obama never said any such thing.

Camerota asked where they heard Obama said illegals could vote. One of the panelist said. "On Facebook. You can Google it."

Yes, you can. And you will find plenty of articles asserting that Obama gave the go-ahead for illegals to vote. These stories are false, but that's apparently besides the point.

But to many people, whether or not the purported source of "news" story makes it well known it's false matters to nobody.

Of course, people have believed fake news and false rumors ever since we existed. We've reached critical mass now, of people who discard facts in favor of things that want to believe.

We're all in our little silos now, having other people reinforce our misconceptions. And some of us allow these misconceptions to get more and more extreme.

We've been in a downhill slide toward this bad place for quite awhile now. Remember Stephen Colbert, when in 2005 he satirically popularized the term "truthiness," defined as using dubious facts to appeal to emotion, rather than let voters decide issues on pure facts.

Now, things no longer need to have even a tenuous connection to the truth.

Donald Trump was the first politician to fully exploit this phenomenon. He knows facts don't matter, so he says what he wants to fire up the crowd of loyal idiots, and it's working.

Too few people seem to have the mental energy or ability to think about what they hear and see. Attempts by legitimate news organizations to get facts through no longer work.

On the Diane Rehm show a week or so back, Donald Trump support and panelist Scottie Nell Hughes said, "There's no such thing, unfortunately, anymore of facts."

Hughes added, "And so, Mr. Trump's tweets amongst a certain crowd, a large - large part of the population are truth."

People are willing to believe anything, and I mean anything. Which gets us to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington DC.

I'll let the Washington Post start explaining it. Unlike much of what is circulating out there, the following Washington Post excerpt is totally true. Which scares me:

"The restaurant's owner and employees were threatened on social media in the days before the election after fake news stories circulated claiming that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring from the restaurant's backrooms.

Even Michael Flynn, a retired general whom President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to advise him on national security, shared stories about another anti-Clinton conspiracy theory involving pedophilia.

None of them were true. but the fake stories and threats persisted, some even aimed at children of Comet Ping Pong employees and patrons. The restaurant's owners was forced to contact the FBI, the police, Facebook and other social media platforms in an effort to remove the articles."

Got that? Somebody wrote news "articles" saying Hillary Clinton was running a pedophile sex ring and legions of people actually believed it.

And still do. Some idiot named Edgar Maddison Welch from North Carolina came up to DC, went to Comet Ping Pong pizzeria and shot up the place, as part of a "self investigation" into the child sex ring he "knew" was going on there.

Somehow, nobody got hurt, and the guy was arrested.

Not only are the pizzeria, its employees and their families being harassed, but so too are owners and employees of neighboring businesses who apparently are "in on the sex ring." .

Washington Post reporters who covered the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria attack this weekend were also threatened and received death threats by these wackos.

I can't make this stuff up, and if so many people created these weird alternative "realities," God help us all.

Here's that stunning CNN interview.

Monday, December 5, 2016

That Stupid, Awful Montreal Pit Bull Ban Is Back In Effect

Montreal's draconian pit bull ban is back in effect,
but it will probably only harm dogs, and not
prevent dog attacks against people, as intended.
Remember that pit bull ban that Montreal tried to enact and enforce earlier this year that a court temporarily put on hold.

It's baaa--aack. and once again a lot of innocent, docile dogs, some pit bulls, many who just sort of look like pit bulls, are now in danger of euthanasia, or at best. some terrible restrictions.

Back in June, a Montreal woman was mauled and killed by a dog that looked like a pit bull.

No question that was a totally sad and unnecessary. The owner of the dog that caused the problem is the most culpable, since the dog obviously wasn't trained right.

As is usual with politicians who genuinely want to "do something" about a problem or a tragedy like that terrible mauling, the fine leaders of Montreal totally overreacted.

The ban also affects American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and any dog that remotely resembles a pit bull. They have to be registered, muzzled in public, and nobody can own one if a criminal background check comes up with something.

The Dodo reported that a Quebec court had ended a temporary suspension of Montreal's ban on pit bulls.

The court at least did at least temporarily curbed a provision that would have spelled a death sentence to these types of dogs in shelters, The Dodo reported.  The Montreal ban would have banned the adoption of these 700 or so dogs in Montreal area shelters.

Rescue groups have been trying to move as many of these dogs out of Montreal for adoption elsewhere.

If Montreal thinks the "pit bull ban" would reduce dog bites, they need only look to Toronto to see how wrong they are.

Toronto passed a rather draconian pit bull ban in 2005,  and most pit bulls are gone from that city. However, the number of annual dog bite incidents has risen there in recent years. 

In other words, all dogs have the potential to bite. It's just a risk in life.

I'm glad Canadian politicians want to do something about problems that arise. I just wish they would do something that would actually make a difference, and not harm innocent dogs, or their owners.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Maybe Because I'm Polish, But This Christmas Ad Really Hits Me

This man in a Polish Christmas ad really REALLY
wants to learn English. Find out why. 
Christmas is the season for holiday ads that make you weep, and this one fits the bill.

Here, we have an elderly gentleman who, at the beginning of the ad at least, does not speak English.

But he's determined to learn, dammit. He's got a VERY important person to meet, and that person speaks English, not the Polish our gentleman speaks.

In the ad for Allegro, basically the Polish version of Amazon or Ebay. the man receives some learning material to help him learn English. Fortunately, our English As A Second Language learner is an enthusiastic student.

Even if that means plastering everything in his house, including his dog, with Post It notes labeling everything in English. He even converses with his rubber ducky in the bathtub to make sure he master the English language perfectly.

Spoiler alert: Our eldery Polish gentleman's meeting with the Very Important Person Who Speaks English seems to go well.

H/T my sister Lynn for this find. Here's the video, which is well worth the watch:  Note, there's a surprising moment of NSFW language part way through.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The New Fad; Screechy, Embarrassing Pro-Trump Rants

This woman went on an epic 45-minute pro-Trump rant
after a Michael's craft store had the gall to charge
her $1 for a reusable shopping bag 
There seems to be an, um, delightful trend among fans of Donald Trump:

A few of them are engaging in incredible, hugely embarrassing pro-Donald Trump rants in which they revel in the Donald's victory, whine about supposedly anti-white discrimination and pride themselves at being allegedly on top of the heap.

Except these people are at the bottom of the heap, given the derision, and punishment these ranters and ravers get.

We've had several that got their 15 minutes of fame. The guy in Florida who squawked at a Starbucks. The guy on the recent Delta flight who extolled the virtues of Trump and yelled at all the "Hillary Bitches" on the plane.

Then there was the woman who ranted exhaustively for 45 minutes about the anti-white discrimination against her because some black store clerks charged her $1.00 for a reusable store bag  Never mind that the clerks in question were charging everyone, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, age or whatnot.

If you can stand it, I've posted a couple of the videos of the rants at the bottom of this post. It's actually fun to laugh at how unhinged these people are.

I love the stupidity of these people. Trump won, the "logic" goes, so they  have free rein to spout whatever nonsense they can. Finally! A chance for revenge against the blacks/illegal immigrants/Muslims/gays/liberals that oppressed us all these years!

The ranters forget that there are still repercussions for what they do..They get their 15 minute of internet fame, but instead of fun, they're exposed as fools.
This guy is banned for life from flying on Delta
because of his obnoxious Trump rant aboard
one of Delta's planes recently. 

Some of them go on to complain how "discriminated" against they are. The Florida Starbucks ranter,  David Sanguesa, said he was having a "bad day" when he ranted, but was still angry at Starbucks

According to the Miami Herald, Sanguesa had this to say about supposed bias against him because he's a white Trump supporter:

"My attorneys want to file a lawsuit. No one saw the first part of the video. I was completely done wrong. I was racially discriminated against. I was refused service. I was wrong to get upset, but I was racially discriminated against. 

She wouldn't serve me.....She knew I was a Trump supporter and wouldn't give me coffee."

No, actually, they wouldn't serve you because you were being a jerk and bothering everybody else. It's really still OK in America to discriminate against morons like you, Mr. Sanguesa.

Oh, and by the way, the First Amendment still says the government can't tell you what to say and what not to say. But private companies, including your employer? They can pretty much do what they want.

Surprise! Your free speech rights don't, er, Trump our free speech rights to call you out as an idiot.

Take the incident at a Floor and Decor store in Colorado. A gay man named James Shawlin and his four year old son went into the store and were given permission by a clerk to look through boxes of stonework samples to determine which one he wanted to buy.

A store manager came up and rebuked Shawlin for looking in the boxes, and Shawlin basically said, "Geez don't treat me this way. My husband and I spend a lot of money in this store."

That set off the store manager. The manager called Shawlin "the faggot that voted for Hillary," and another customer chimed in to bully Shawlin.

Naturally, Shawlin took to social media to note this incident, and Floor and Decor quickly fired the store manager. I guess Trump wasn't able to keep that store manager's job, huh?  So much for job creation.

Our Delta flight ranter also eventually got nailed, too. At first, people complained that the Delta flight ranter should have been kicked off the plane and wasn't.

Delta has since banned the idiot from flying Delta. For life.  And Delta gave full refunds to all the other passengers on the flight who were subject to the Trump moron.

Sometimes, the rants are a work of art. The woman in Chicago went on for 45 minutes (!!!!!) about how she is discriminated against because she's a white Trump supporter.

This happened at a Michael's craft store. It's remarkable in the video how calm and professional the store clerk and manager sounded as this woman went on, and on and on.

"And I voted for Trump! So there! What, you want to kick me out because of that!"  the Chicago unhinged woman yells. "And look who won! And look who won! And look who won!"

You didn't, lady. You've become a national laughingstock, upper management at Michael's congratulated the store workers for their professionalism, and other witnesses stood up in support of the employees.

By the way, this lady apparently has a habit of doing things like this. There's another video of her launching into a homophobic rant at a Peet's Coffee shop not long ago.

Maybe we need a new TV reality show: "America's Best/Worst Trump Ranters."  Our Chicago ranter would really be a contender!

Here's some of the videos.

Let's start with the Delta flight guy:

And the Chicago woman at Michael's is REALLY an unstable piece of work. Watch:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Ok Go With Another Fascinating, Epic Music Video

A still from the band Ok Go's latest epic, innovative
video, "The One Moment." 
OK Go is a band, a bunch of musicians, but their forte is innovative music videos.

There was the famous Rube Goldberg video from 2010 on the song "This Too Shall Pass."  

On "Needing/Getting" they used a car to play various musical instrument.

In "Upside Down & Inside Out" they used real zero gravity in a jet to record the music video. (I bet there were some upset stomachs there.

Now, we've got another awesome epic from Ok Go. In this one, they recorded a series of explosive events that lasted all of 4.2 seconds.

Then they slowed it all down very, very much so that these explosive events last the entirety of a song called "The One Moment" that lasts a full four minutes.

As always, this video is an understandable hit, racking up more than four million views in the four days since it was released.

It really is a LOT of fun, and worth watching

So here's the video

Students Can't Figure Out What's Fake News

For a democracy to survive, you need a well-informed citizenry that knows how to get accurate information.

As many of you know, things are going so well in that department in the US of A.

Much has been written about fake news on social media that misled voters, and fired them up to vote for Donald Trump, or make other election decisions based on false info.  

The upcoming generation of young voters might not do any better, if a new Stanford University study is any indication.

Says The Verge, via the Wall Street Journal: 

"According to the study, 82 percent of students could not distinguish between a sponsored post and an actual  news article on the same website. Nearly 70 percent of middle schoolers thought they had no reason to distrust a sponsored finance article written by the CEO of a bank, and many students evaluated the trustworthiness of tweets based on their level of detail and the size of the photos..."

Stanford researchers recommend students learn to cross check the accuracy of websites and articles using other sources, and not to think a high Google search ranking means the site is more accurate.

Schools are increasingly trying to teach students to better evaluate what they see on line, but obviously, a lot more needs to be done.

Because of the uproar over the recent U.S. elections, Facebook has said it's working on ways to filter out fake news sites, and Google will ban fake news sites from its ad network.

But there will always be bad information on the web.

You'd think everyone would know by now you can't believe something is true just because it's on the internet, but clearly not.