Miller, Tiller, and Price: 3 old white guys walk into a bar

Breaking: comedian, Larry Miller, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and as-of-now Former HHS Secretary Tom Price are apparently different people.

In related news: the first guy in the picture is Tom Price has resigned. I know you don’t care, and you have no reason to, so here are the quick hits:

HHS Secretary is the leader of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Tom Price was the guy in charge. He was an advocate for doctors.

He got hassled in the press over flying in private jets at taxpayers expense even though he claimed he was reimbursing tax payers for those flights. So he resigned because of all the bad publicity – and yes, he reimbursed the United States Treasury for his private flights, like he said.

Here he is performing his famous “Five Levels of Drinking” bit on stage in the 90s:

*Addendum: it’s been brought to my attention that this might be Tillerson in the above comic routine. Standby for further research.

Update: Interesting observation – Every time the President focuses on policy, that Cabinet secretary disappears.

Jack Abramoff reveals how he cheated the system

I’ve heard Jack Abramoff on a few interviews now that he’s out of jail and his new book sounds pretty good. reveals his secrets on how he bought politicians and proposes ways to make it harder or impossible.

Some interesting stuff – like he said he would always offer a politicians chief of staff a job with him “whenever theyre done in politics” so that from that point on they would pass and do whatever he wanted cuz they knew they had a secure high paying gig after their government one. if that was made illegal, they couldnt do that. -stuff like that.

Hidden camera Satire vs not satire

It’s annoying when news outlets and opinion commentators falsely ascribe seriousness or comedy to something to fit their bias. If someone they like says something outrageous, then it was just a silly joke, not meant to be taken seriously and thus can’t be offensive – but if someone they don’t like makes a joke that could be taken as mean spirited, the reverse logic is applied in the reporting of the comment. The Daily Show fits this balance perfectly in that supporters who think Jon Stewart may have made a particularly devastating point are able to tout the show as truth speaking journalism, however if a detractor tries to criticize a point made on the show, its supports and in fact Stewart himself, dismiss it because after all its a “fake news” comedy show. duh.

Here are 2 examples I recently noticed involving James O’Keefe, a 25 year old activist who specializes in illustrating absurdity by being absurd, such as holding an “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” in college (an event popular among Campus Republicans nation-wide where the racial discrimination of affirmative action, which lowers standards for racial minorities, is illustrated in a bake sale by charging whites more for a cookie than a minority). His latest work released a series of 5 hidden camera videos showing corrupt employees of community activist group ACORN, a Democrat front-line group closely associated with Barack Obama, helping him cheat the tax system, hide and operate a whore house, traffic illegal aliens, and use 13 year old El Salvadorian girls as sex slaves. In fact these revelations recently led congress to cut funding to ACORN.

Right wing media has been calling O’Keefes expose a “sting” and “journalism the mainstream media used to do” while left wing media has dismissed it as “Borat style gotcha-videos”.

Steve Krakauer, a writer for, is clearly not a fan of O’Keefe as displayed in a recent piece investigating and mocking O’Keefe. The title, Right Wing Darling James O’Keefe: The Man Who Exposed ACORN and Lucky Charms, gives the tone of the article away, but the snarkiness is also misleading. Krakauer reports about O’Keefe on the Lucky Charms thing:

He waged a campaign against dining halls serving Lucky Charms. You see, besides being magically delicious, O’Keefe thought the cereal was offensive to Irish Americans.

That sounds… odd. And it should. because it isnt true. The Mediate columnist failed to mention that O’Keefe didn’t find the cereal offensive, but rather was satirizing the idea that anyone would find it offensive. I was fooled by Mediaites mis-reporting on this myself until I read the real background from the New York times:

In 2004, at a buddy’s suggestion, he and a few fellow Rutgers students set out to satirize what they saw as a pious sensitivity to ethnicity on campus. The result is still there to see on YouTube: Mr. O’Keefe protesting to a slightly befuddled university dining official that the leprechaun on the cereal box “appears to be an Irish-American.”

“As you can see, we’re not short and green — we have our differences of height — and we think this is stereotypical of all Irish-Americans,” Mr. O’Keefe deadpans, as the official earnestly scribbles notes.

I appreciated the Times clearing that up for me as a reader, however in that very same column the author Scott Shane says this of O’Keefe’s previous under cover endeavors:

He has lampooned liberals by inviting them to become pen pals of imprisoned terrorists, and, more darkly, recorded Planned Parenthood staff members agreeing that he can designate his donation exclusively to the abortion of black babies.

eh.. “Lampooned”?… Really? I thought “lampoon” meant comedic satire, ie: the National Lampoon Chevy Chase movies were humorous satirizations of American life, aka: actors acting out a comedy.

Before I embarrass myself by having to make a correction, I went and looked it up and “lampoon” in fact means “a harsh satire”. So… what exactly is the satire taking place here? How are you “lampooning” anything when you ask an abortion advocacy group if you can donate money to kill black babies and they say yes, or ask a government aided organization if you can get help trafficking 12-15 year old south and central american girls to be used as sex slave prostitutes and getting help?

Satire should be reported as satire. Jokes as jokes. Serious acts as serious acts.

First tell the truth. then give your opinion.

Obama website to display transparency contains entire pages blacked out

Irony: The $18 million contract to build a website to make federal stimulus spending transparent was released – with entire pages blacked out.

So much for change we can believe in:

Back in July, a software company named Smartronix landed an $18 million contract to build a Web site where taxpayers could easily track billions in federal stimulus money. It was just another part of the Obama administration’s ongoing effort to bring transparency to stimulus spending, we were told.

But it seems the drive for transparency doesn’t cover the contract itself.

After weeks of prodding by ProPublica and other organizations, the General Services Administration released copies of the contract and related documents that are so heavily blacked out they are virtually worthless.

Don’t believe us? Take a look.

ProPublica sought the contract under the Freedom of Information Act to find out what kind of site Smartronix planned to build and to assess whether it justified the cost, which Republican critics of the stimulus plan called “unreal.”

Ed Pound, the director of communications for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, defended the redactions as “legitimate.” The Web site Smartronix is to build will replace, the existing stimulus Web portal run by the transparency board.

“I’m not concerned about whether journalists are concerned about this,” Pound said. “We have been very transparent.”

The GSA declined to comment, but said in its response to ProPublica’s FOIA request that such redactions were allowed if material “involves substantial risk of competitive injury” to a contractor.

rahm door shut

Some sections of the contract were redacted in their entirety. They include:

In all, 25 pages of a 59-page technical proposal — the main document in the package — were redacted completely. Of the remaining pages, 14 had half or more of their content blacked out.