Oliver: The Rainbow

15 August 2014

Despite being a huge fan of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I find myself on the verge of subscribing to HBO simply so I can watch John Oliver’s superior Last Week Tonight. The topical segments posted to YouTube often stun me with their clarity and–dare I say it?–educational value. While amusing, Oliver’s topical monologues explicate America’s problems with a simple, powerful eloquence rarely seen.

When I talk about Oliver, my remarks iterate this theme: He ought to be cloned and installed in every classroom in the USA. That said, I’d never thought about exactly how and what he was doing until I read this article in Salon:

“John Oliver Won’t Be Your Therapist: How He Torpedoed the Reassuring Tropes of Fake News”

I am in debt to Steve Almond for his first rate analysis of Oliver’s work. Thanks to Almond, I understand a bit more why I find John Oliver as fascinating as a rainbow–and a lot more informative.

Cassandra

A Rare Answer

11 August 2014

I have nothing but awed praise for blogger Andrew W. K.’s answer to this letter.

“Ask Andrew W.K.: My Dad Is a Right-Wing Asshole”

And I also got from this a new term for black/white. either/or thinking: binary thinking.

Cassandra

Death, Doom, and Destruction

20 July 2014

‘Declines in Insectivorous Birds Are Associated with High Neonicotinoid Concentrations

Why is this happening? How about this: Humans are greedy, lazy, and love to breed.

As of this moment, I have little affection for my species.

Since we haven’t used pesticides here for the last 35 years and since I have planted trees and fruit bearing plants and keep insect-attracting horses, I do have a yard filled with bird song.

For how long though? I’m surrounded by people who think I’m strange for disliking all those helpful Monsanto et al products.

Cassandra

So You Think?

14 July 2014

Having taught second semester college composition–the dreaded research-based essay–for decades, I already knew most people dislike studying logic, dislike intellectual challenges, and, in general, dislike thinking. Still, this appropriately titled article depressed me.

“The Most Depressing Discovery About the Brain, Ever”

In a world with 7 billion people, humans cannot afford to think like their Stone Age ancestors. While they had primitive technology, they had resources we are destroying–like soil and water. We are too many and we are using all that’s left. We are doomed.

Have a nice day.

Cassandra

Food Stamps and the American Dream

14 July 2014

After listening to so many neighbors, friends, and relatives complain about the welfare system in America, I thought I’d post this essay. Yes, I’m sure fraud happens, but then there are situations such as this:

“This Is Wwhat Happened When I Drove My Mercedes to Pick up Food Stamps”

Unusual? Perhaps.

But more and more Americans are discovering that being well off is not an American birthright, even for those who work hard and expect that to be enough.

Cassandra

The Loveland Fracturing Vote: Propaganda Bombing Fractures Community

8 July 2014

An abundance of funds and persistence paid off in a local election. Fracking advocates succeeded in Loveland, Colorado. Five other communities held together. By a narrow margin, Loveland voted to allow fracking within its city limits.

Then there’s this:

“Oil-and-gas Group Failed to File Finance Reports in Loveland Fracking Election”

If the well companies may or may not be the most law abiding of “people,” they fit right in with their employees. While we are not the most exposed to the development, several neighbors nearer the wells have warned us of attempted car break-ins.

I hope those in Loveland are as happy with their new neighbors as we are with ours. Aside from emitting a nearly continuous grinding noise, the “major operation” across the street from us also had a mysterious fire last Friday. So far no one we know has found out what it was. The site is still months away from pumping, so a flare off doesn’t seem likely

I am so fracking happy.

Cassandra

Old News about Journalism

12 June 2014

Within the last couple of years, I’ve heard a few out-of-touch folks talk about the liberal bias of the news. They need to read this essay from almost two decades ago: “The Rise of the Right-Wing Media Machine”

Thank goodness for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.

Cassandra

Iraq Update

11 June 2014

“Iraqi Insurgents ‘Seize New City'”

It seems like just yesterday we invaded the country and one of my comp students smugly told me that now Iraq “had its democracy.”

Cassandra

SPF WTF?

8 June 2014

“Logic Fail: Texas School District Bans Sunscreen, Calls It a ‘Toxic Substance’”

Maybe students could get a concealed carry permit for their sunscreen.

Cassandra

Cruel but Not Unusual

8 June 2014

As Jane Wagner said, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.”

“Peru Approves Genocide for Uncontacted Tribes”

I should stop reading the news.

Cassandra


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