Google Doodle: Cesar Chavez Picked Over Easter, But It’s Not a “Snub” to Christians

Published:  mic (March 31, 2013)

The Internet is aroar right now. Why? Because even though it’s Easter, Google decided to honor Cesar Chavez instead of Jesus Christ in its banner today.

A quote from Henry Cabot Lodge comes to mind:

“The facility of saying something is counterbalanced by the difficulty of saying anything worth hearing.”

Unfortunately, we live in an era in which the trivial becomes controversial with depressing regularity. “Easter” and “Cesar Chavez” are already among the top search engine trends, FoxNews Radio pundits from Glenn Beck to Todd Starnes are waxing apoplectic at the thought of a “leftist” being honored over their Lord and Savior, and Twitter is bursting with the outrage of God-fearing websurfers publicizing their resolve to switch to Bing, declaring that “Google goes left,” and telling the company to “take your Chavez doodle and your insulting snub to all Christians and go away.” Now that the furor is (inevitably) starting to be picked up as a major story by mainstream media outlets, an issue that by all rights should have remained in the realm of the meaningless has metamorphosed into the “newsworthy.” As such, the following deconstruction has been rendered regrettably necessary: read more

Colorado Passes Domestic Violence Gun Ban Law

Published: mic (March 30, 2013)

One might hope that a law which keeps guns out of the hands of perpetrators of domestic violence would receive bipartisan support.

One would think.

As reported by the Huffington Post, “a Colorado bill that prohibits convicted domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms passed in the House Judiciary Committee on a 7-4 party line vote, with all Democrats approving the bill.”

While champions of women’s rights celebrated this new measure, its Republican opponents saw nothing but an ominous sign that the America they had grown to know and love was being lost. As State Senator Kevin Lundberg intoned, “This arc is headed toward tyranny, and it is clear.” read more

Jay Leno: History Ph.D Student Watches ‘Tonight Show’ and Laments

Published: mic (March 25, 2013)

Although it’s being rumored that NBC is planning on replacing Tonight Show host Jay Leno with Jimmy Fallon, Leno is still outranking his late night competitors at present. That said, I can’t help but wonder who those people are, since it amazes me that no one has picked up on this hilarious (and sobering) incident.

On the February 26 episode, Leno did his weekly “Headlines” routine, wherein he spends several minutes showing the audience humorous newspaper misprints and inadvertently suggestive titles. While his critics often deride these segments for being too on-the-nose, they remain one of his longest running bits, as well as a reliable crowd pleaser. To open this set, Leno pulled out a casino advertisement that read “Stay Where The Presidents Play,” underneath which were pictures of rolled up $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills. For those of you who can’t immediately recall which national heroes appear on which monetary tender, those feature Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Benjamin Franklin. read more

There’s Nothing More Pathetic Than a Pennsylvania Bigot in 2013

Published: mic (March 23, 2013)The Express Times (March 23, 2013)

From neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan to the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers, there is nothing more inherently pathetic than a bigot in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

This isn’t to say that bigots aren’t a pitiful sight as a general rule. As the philosopher Eric Hoffer noted in his classic monograph on mass movements and fanatical ideologies The True Believe, “The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race, or his holy cause.” Although this insight was meant to apply to all forms of political zealotry, it had special relevance for those based on hate. “Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life,” he explained later in his book. “Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance.” read more

Mississippi Anti-Bloomberg Law: Complete Hypocrisy

Published: mic (March 21, 2013)

I was reluctant to use the same Thomas Jefferson quote twice in less than two weeks, but because the governor of Mississippi missed his golden opportunity to mention it, I simply had to post it again:

“The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.” read more

Obama Has Failed to Live Up to Previous Statements About Marijuana Decriminalization

Published: mic (March 10, 2013)

The marijuana editorial you are about to read begins with a recent speech by Ron Paul and ends with a tongue-lashing penned more than a century ago by a presidential prostitute.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last Friday, former Congressman Paul (R-Texas) spoke to a gathering of prominent Canadian conservatives to declare that “the drug war needs to be repealed.” Reading his remarks, one might have been reminded of the words of another idealistic legislator nine years earlier: read more

Hugo Chavez’s Real Legacy is One of Vicious Anti-Semitism Against the Jews of Venezuela

Published: mic (March 10, 2013)

To anyone who may doubt the appalling nature of the late Hugo Chavez’s mistreatment of his nation’s Jewish community, it’s worth noting that communist dictators are generally a pretty vile bunch. As such, it should go without saying that when one Marxist authoritarian feels compelled to call out another one on a humanitarian flaw, decent people everywhere should take notice.

Such was the case when, in an interview with The Atlantic back in 2010, Fidel Castro drew attention to the anti-Semitism plaguing Chavez’s rhetoric and policies as the leader of Venezuela. Of course, sensitive as always to Chavez’s notoriously delicate ego, Castro was careful not to name Chavez directly in his criticism. Instead he focused on the notorious Holocaust denial and Jew-baiting of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who had developed close ties with Chavez), declaring, “I don’t think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews” and reviewing in great detail how Jews have been persecuted for millennia and “blamed and slandered for everything.” read more

5 Underrated Songs That Blow Today’s Pop Music Out of the Water

Published: mic (March 4, 2013)

When I think of the cookie-cutter music so often churned out today the visceral club beats of a Nicki Minaj or Kesha, the vapid tween-targeted sugar pop of Justin Bieber or the Jonas Brothers I can’t help but remember a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville, back when the legendary French sociologist went on his famous tour of America in the 1830s:

“It would be to waste the time of my readers and my own if I strove to demonstrate how the general mediocrity of fortunes, the absence of superfluous wealth, the universal desire for comfort, and the constant efforts by which everyone attempts to procure it make the taste for the useful predominate over the love of the beautiful in the heart of man. Democratic nations, among whom all these things exist, will therefore cultivate the arts that serve to render life easy in preference to those whose object is to adorn it. They will habitually prefer the useful to the beautiful, and they will require that the beautiful should be useful.” read more