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The most idiotic moment on Fox News so far today

Fox and Friends’ resident cheerful idiot Steve Doocy is obviously one of the stupidest people on television. Doocy comes off as so completely brainless that his utterly gormless co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Elisabeth Hasselbeck look good (or at least slightly better) by comparison. One would have to think that Fox News viewers with low to barely average IQs would be perceptive enough to realize that Steve Doocy is an abject buffoon. I don’t think SNL even does Fox and Friends parodies anymore, do they? Why bother?

In any case, this morning Doocy made a game attempt to get a small number of “Fox fans” (as he called them) to react negatively to the new multigender bathroom signage at Illinois State University (This is the latest “outrage” on Fox News, in case you aren’t aware of it, even though they are for single-occupancy restrooms!)

Here’s how it went down, live on Fox News as Chyron captions read: “Bathroom Boondoggle: Are New Gender Signs Just Too Confusing?” and “Gender Bender”!

Doocy: “See, they were designated as ‘family restrooms’ in the past and now, apparently, they’re going to be known as ‘all-gender’ restrooms! Does that make sense?”

Woman: “Restrooms for both genders.”

Doocy: “That’s right. Bathrooms for both genders, or transgenders!”

Man: “Transgender, that’s right.”

Unable to rile up even the slightest bit of “moral” indignation, let alone any anxiety even among these “Fox fans,” the floundering Doocy quickly threw it back to his co-tool Brian Kilmeade in the studio who then, astonishingly, offered up pretty much one of the truest things that I’ve ever heard a Fox anchor say (if only accidently):

“Well, they’re better people than us.”

Yes, indeed they are. Most people are better people than bigoted Fox News morning show hosts, I’d have to agree with that and this segment proved it. In spades!

Just yesterday, Fox News ran a story mocking the University’s attempt to accommodate everyone with equal respect.


Bonus clip, Steve Doocy before his tenure at Fox and Friends, back when he was a serious journalist…
Via Media Matters

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Brain-dead, redneck diesel lovers brag about how much toxic smoke their trucks can spew

Rollin' Coal
I’ve long since stopped being amazed at the mental knots that white, male conservatives (usually white and usually male, anyway) will tie themselves into as a reaction to their rage that other voices are permitted to participate in the political process and even occasionally combine to form a consensus that might infringe on their god-given rights to be a malicious dickwad. In the last month or so we’ve seen the phenomenon, in reaction to some 2nd Amendment infringements that are mostly imaginary, of shotgun-toting fellows deciding that Home Depot as well as various chain eateries might be a appropriate venues to bring portable machinery expressly designed to kill living organisms. The pushback on the part of Chili’s, Sonic, Chipotle, and Starbuck’s have largely been successful.

Valorizing guns is stupid and rude. When you enter a restaurant with lethal weapons, the best-case outcome is that everyone else in the establishment feels threatened and must cower in the face of your cheaply purchased superiority (it’s not that difficult to carry a gun, after all, any dummy or old fart can usually accomplish at least that much). Even to mention the disheartening statistics is a sure sign that you support Obummer’s incipient Orwellian police state, but here goes: In the United States, deaths due to firearms occur on the order of 30 a day; over a 99-day period in 2013, 215 children were killed, the vast majority as a result of accidents.

Anyway, the latest display of inconsiderate mouth-breathing bullshit has to do with climate change. It’s become common for the proud owners of diesel trucks to champion the unpleasant black spew that emanates from their vehicles as a key blow struck in the name of freedom, against the liberal elite that seeks to save the planet from climate-related catastrophe. The keyword for this, er, “movement” is “Rollin’ Coal.” There’s a “Rollin’ COAL” group on Facebook that has 15,000 likes. The commenters who push back against the fossil fuel stupidity routinely invoke the modest penis length of the “Rollin’ Coal” crowd:

“I’ve never seen a larger collection of men with tiny dicks over-compensating than on this page.”

Truck Yeah
One of the favorite tropes of the “Rollin’ Coal” groups is a little poem that goes like this:

Roll, roll, rollin’ coal
Let the hybrid see.
A big black cloud.
Exhaust that’s loud.
Watch the city boy flee.

Here’s a brief description of the trend, from “‘Rollin’ Coal’ Is Pollution Porn for Dudes With Pickup Trucks” by Elizabeth Kulze:

In small towns across America, manly men are customizing their jacked-up diesel trucks to intentionally emit giant plumes of toxic smoke every time they rev their engines. They call it “rollin’ coal,” and it’s something they do for fun.


Aside from being macho, the rollin’ coal culture is also a renegade one. Kids make a point of blowing smoke back at pedestrians [see the video at the bottom of this page], in addition to cop cars and rice burners (Japanese-made sedans), which can make it dangerously difficult to see out of the windshield. Diesel soot can also be a great road rage weapon should some wimpy looking Honda Civic ever piss you off. “If someone makes you mad, you can just roll coal, and it makes you feel better sometimes,” says Ryan, a high school senior who works at the diesel garage with Robbie. “The other day I did it to this kid who was driving a Mustang with his windows down, and it was awesome.”

I haven’t figured out a way to embed it, but Kulze’s article features a video that makes the resentment-based roots of the diesel enthusiasm explicit, with its tittering references to “Prius driving socialists.” It’s really worth a look.

What’s most astonishing about the “Rollin’ Coal” folks is that, I mean, surely the highly visible black smoke tends to make the climate change case, doesn’t it? Is there any way that that smoke could be good for the environment? Have these diesel drivers ever seen a fish, a pond, a leaf, or a tree? Do they think that bees, trees and tadpoles can just withstand the toxic fumes with no consequence? It’s difficult to figure out what they’re thinking about or if they are even capable of thought at all. At best the practice is a way of saying “I get to do whatever I want, and any bad things that occur are your problem.” Lovely. I gain some comfort from considering that these types of particularly stupid good ol’ boys often graciously volunteer to remove themselves from the gene pool with drunk driving and other fun activities.

Below, a compilation of asshat diesel truck drivers intentionally releasing their smoky coal-black smoky on pedestrians, bicyclists, children and so forth. Surely this meets the definition of “assault” wouldn’t it? It’s as bad as spitting in someone’s face…

via Lawyers, Guns & Money

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Bone music’: Soviet-era bootleg records of banned rock and jazz pressed on X-ray plates
12:43 pm

The wrong side of history


X-ray records
What do you do if you’re living in the USSR in, say, 1957, and you’d like to press an illegal record of some banned rock and roll or jazz? Consumer tape recorders don’t exist, and in the USSR, vinyl is difficult to come by. How do you proceed?

One thing you might do is press your contraband beats into discarded X-rays. A police state does wonders for the sheer inventiveness of its citizens, does it not? Clever Russians eager to hear some liberating rock and roll would salvage exposed X-rays from hospital waste bins and archives and use them to make records.

In the 1946-1961 era, some ingenious Russians began recording banned bootlegged jazz, boogie woogie and rock ‘n’ roll on exposed X-ray film. The thick radiographs would be cut into discs of 23 to 25 centimeters in diameter; sometimes the records weren’t circular. But the exact shape didn’t matter so much, as long as the thing played.

“Usually it was the Western music they wanted to copy,” says Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev. “Before the tape recorders they used the X-ray film of bones and recorded music on the bones, bone music.” As author Anya von Bremzen elaborates: “They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. ... You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan—forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens.”

I can’t wait until Record Store Day 2015, when limited edition X-ray releases will surely be some of the most sought-after purchases!
X-ray records
X-ray records
X-ray records
X-ray records
Previously on DM:
Vintage X-ray ‘vinyl’ from Russia

via Vinyl of the Day

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The disappearing face of New York
09:55 am

The wrong side of history


During the eight years it took Jim and Karla Murray to photograph these New York storefronts, a third of them had closed down. According to the Murrays:

...the influx of big box retailers and chain stores pose a serious threat to these humble institutions, and neighborhood modernization and the anonymity it brings are replacing the unique appearance and character of what were once incredibly colourful streets.

Taken from their book The Disappearing Face of New York, these beautiful photographs of neon-lit, window-crammed, characterful storefronts document the cultural cost of the malls and online retailers that have taken business from small shopkeepers, in favor of the supposed “choice” offered by corporations. As the general Julius Agricola noted way, way back in the invasion of Britain circa 73 AD, when the invading armies brought bath houses, roads, and alike, the so-called advancement of civilisation can often disguise its inherent servitude.
More disappearing New York stores, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Treat yourself to that real working guillotine you’ve always wanted!
04:33 pm

The wrong side of history


If you’re going to stage a coup d’etat, you need to make a bold statement to the populace that you’re not playing around, and what says “DO NOT TRIFLE WITH THE NEW ORDER” like public executions? Trouble is, modern methods like lethal injection are too painless and clinical to satisfy the bloodlust of a proper mob, so how’s a budding dictator to quash dissent?

Auctioneer Francois-Xavier Duflos of Nantes, France may have your execution solution. Via The Local:

A working French guillotine is expected to fetch up to €60,000 [about $83,500 USD] when it goes under the hammer on Thursday in the western French city of Nantes. 

The wood, iron, steel and brass relic, synonymous with the French Revolution, was used to execute people in the second half of the 19th century.

The blade of the guillotine bears the inscription ‘Armees de la Republique,” a reference to the Revolutionary Army that was created to defend France from its neighbors in the aftermath of the 1789 French Revolution.

“It was used by the army, it was assembled and disassembled,” Duflos told Europe 1. “It has certainly known several battlefields.”


“It was used by the army” surely means that people met their doom on this very machine, right? How could it be otherwise? Though the devices are most closely associated in the world’s consciousness with Maximilien de Robespierre’s excesses in the French Revolution, France used guillotines as their primary method of execution until 1977.

Bidding begins on Thursday. Good luck.

This 2004 interview with France’s last living guillotine executioner is mercifully bereft of any actual beheading footage. Its subject only speaks French, but if you turn the captions on, they’re not only in English, they’re sometimes wrong in amusing ways.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Juden Raus’: Nazi-era anti-Semitic board game where you deport the Jews
02:09 pm

The wrong side of history


Juden Raus!
Who would have guessed that the Holocaust wouldn’t make for a perfectly peachy board game for the little German children of the Third Reich? As it turns out, getting rid of all the Jews just isn’t that much fun. (Of course, given sound game design principles, just about anything can be made fun, but foregrounding one’s own small-minded intolerance and hatred and desire to exile a minority group is probably not the first step in that creative process.)

In 1935 the Nuremberg Laws were passed in Germany—these laws codified the desire of the Nazis, at a minimum, to segregate Jews from all areas of public life. In effect the laws—which communicated the idea, “You’re not wanted here!”—were a powerful argument for accelerated out-migration. Those Jews who could afford it and who also avoided the tragic tendency to rationalize away the hatred directed towards them, got the point, and left if they hadn’t already done so. As the years ticked by, the urgency of getting some kind of exit visa would only increase.

A year after the Nuremberg Laws, a company called Günther & Co. released a Parcheesi-style board game; its title was one of the ugliest phrases in human history—Juden Raus! The title is best translated as, “Jews, Get Out” or possibly “Get Rid of the Jews” depending on your conception of agency, and is the most succinct possible expression of the official German attitude towards Jews under the Third Reich. (The word “official” is important here. Anti-Semitism was certainly popular enough to become a key pillar of the ideology of the state, but just as Tea Partiers don’t like Obamacare, not all Germans were equally afflicted by the disease.)
Juden Raus!
“Juden Raus! Das Neue Gesellschafts-Spiel” (“Out with the Jews! The Game of the New Society”)
In the game, young Germans across the Reich were encouraged, in what practically seems a parodic Firesign Theatre-style intervention, to move the six “Jew” game pieces around the board in such a way as to secure them on spots outside the metaphorical “wall” of the German state such that they would be transported “Auf nach Palästina!” (Off to Palestine!). Each game piece came with a conical “dunce”-style cap with a grotesque Jewish caricature on it. On the board itself were two little pieces of doggerel that helped explain the goal of the game: Zeige geschick im Würfelspiel, damit du sammelst der Juden viel! (“Show skill in this dice game, so that you gather up all the Jews!”) and Gelingt es Dir 6 Juden rauszujagen, so bist Du Sieger ohne zu fragen! (“If you succeed in chasing six Jews out, you’re the winner, without a doubt!”) At a guess, the inherently cooperative nature of something like the Holocaust interferes with the competitive imperatives of a good board game. In other words, how did the game work, exactly? If I exile three Jews and you exile just two, then I win? It doesn’t quite make sense.
Juden Raus!
“Off to Palestine with you, little Jew!”
Surprisingly, the best evidence we have suggests that the Nazis themselves didn’t like the game. Why? Because it had the effect of trivializing such the, er, “noble” task of purifying Germany. In one of the most remarkable bits of prose I have ever read, the Nazi newspaper Das Schwarze Korps in December 1938 published a brief review in which they sharply criticized the game.

This invention ... is almost a punishable idea, perfectly suitable as grist to the mills of hate of the international Jewish journaille, who would show around such a piece of mischief as a proof for the childish efforts of the nazistic Jew-haters with a diabolic smirk, if it would appear before her crooked nose.


Jews out! yes of course, but also rapidly out of the toy-boxes of our children, before they are led into the dreadful error that political problems are solved with the dice cup.

In a recent academic paper about the game, which they aptly label “History’s most infamous board game,” Andrew Morris-Friedman and Ulrich Schädler get in the final word:

What insights are achieved from “Juden Raus!” about Nazi culture? It is hard to imagine a family sitting at a table playing a game that taught racial hatred. Yet it seems there were people like Rudolf Fabricius who imagined that some families would do just that. Fabricius was one of those mere supporters who thought to make some profit by following in the wake of Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda. Today most people react with disbelief or disgust when informed of the game’s existence. “Juden Raus!” shows that after decades of propaganda, anti-Semitism was so deeply rooted in German society in the 1930s, that someone thought it would be a good subject for a children’s game. Racism is present in many board games, but “Juden Raus!” is unique in its portrayal of how racism manifests itself in society and is a terrifying example of the banality of evil.

In my research for this post, I stumbled across a more contemporary attempt to depict the full horror of the Holocaust in the form of a board game. Brenda Brathwaite’s 2009 game Train turned the task of loading little yellow people onto trains for some undisclosed final destination, with the reveal, late in the game, that the destination is actually Auschwitz, although the game’s suitably grim visual design gives the punchline away well before that point is attained.
Here’s a 2009 video from The Wall Street Journal about Brathwaite’s game Train:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Evocative photos from 1980s Berlin
08:42 am

The wrong side of history


Slesische Strasse October 1982. Near the corner with Cuvrystrasse.
A photographer named Chris John Dewitt has set up a fantastic Tumblr consisting almost entirely of pictures of various places. During the 1980s he took many, many photographs of East Berlin and West Berlin, and they are utterly fascinating. Sometimes he has photos of the same place both pre- and post-1989. We’ve got a generous selection of them here, but really, there are tons more over at his Tumblr.

As for context-setting, I’ll leave that to Dewitt himself:

A trip to the East was another step into the time-machine. The politics of the 1940s and 50s shaped everything around. Most crossing points were much like something out of an old movie, even up to the end in 1989. Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous of course, as it was the only street crossing point for foreigners, and it was built up into a full-scale border control shed in the final years, with jolly ‘Welcome to the DDR’ signs on it. The other, less well-known crossing points remained mostly the dreary forbidding places they were from the beginning. Each border-crossing was intended for particular people. Chausseestrasse, Invalidenstrasse, and Oberbaumbrücke were for West Berliners only.


When I got there I began taking pictures, but was very quickly stopped by two young policemen. It took some while to work out what it was I shouldn’t have been photographing. It wasn’t the site of the Reich Chancellery, they replied to my questions, or even the wall. It was because in the distance, poking up from the other side of the wall, the Reichstag building could be seen. One mustn’t photograph buildings on the other side of the wall they said. The fact that I could go there on the Western side and take as many pictures of it as I liked made no difference. That was the rule which I must obey whilst on DDR soil.

Here are some of the pics, in roughly chronological order, with Dewitt’s captions:
The Berlin Wall at Wilhelmstraße 1980
The view from the platform at the end of Bernauer Straße in 1980.
Another Sunday, another protest. March 1981.
Protest march on the Ku’damm 1982.
The Berlin Wall. A viewing platform built by the West to allow West Berliners and tourists to look over into East Berlin.
Looking over the Berlin Wall from the viewing stand on Harzer Straße Treptow. 1982.
The East Berlin authorities were taking no chances with this building being so close to the wall. All the windows are barred, and a guard tower sits a few meters away, to prevent any escapes to the West. 1982.
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Well, when you put it THAT way: Capitalism in a nutshell!

Good question.

Although this has a few too many words to qualify as a Hemingway-esque six-word short story, this sign still gets its point across louder than dozens of articles on the American economy do each week…

And while we’re on the topic, you might enjoy this: Why you’re wrong about communism: 7 huge misconceptions about it (and capitalism)

And this, Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For: Guaranteed jobs, universal basic incomes, public finance and more.

And this, I’m a Member of the American ‘Used-to-Haves’.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
It didn’t always suck to be a woman in Afghanistan


Women in Afghanistan were not always under house arrest and forbidden by law to leave their homes unchaperoned by a male relative. Once upon a time in pre-Taliban days Afghan women had access to professional careers, university-level education, shops selling non-traditional clothing, public transportation, and public spaces, all of which they happily navigated freely and without supervision.

According to a State Department report from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 2001:

Prior to the rise of the Taliban, women in Afghanistan were protected under law and increasingly afforded rights in Afghan society. Women received the right to vote in the 1920s; and as early as the 1960s, the Afghan constitution provided for equality for women. There was a mood of tolerance and openness as the country began moving toward democracy. Women were making important contributions to national development. In 1977, women comprised over 15% of Afghanistan’s highest legislative body. It is estimated that by the early 1990s, 70% of schoolteachers, 50% of government workers and university students, and 40% of doctors in Kabul were women. Afghan women had been active in humanitarian relief organizations until the Taliban imposed severe restrictions on their ability to work. These professional women provide a pool of talent and expertise that will be needed in the reconstruction of post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Even under Hamid Karzai’s government, with the recently approved Code of Conduct for women, all of the women shown in these photographs, taken in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s, could still can be faulted with improper behavior, according to clerics and government officials. 

record store in kabul
A record store in Kabul

A co-ed biology class at Kabul University

Afghan university students, 1967. Photo credit: Dr. Bill Podlich, Retronaut

Public transporation in Kabul

University students, early 1970s

Women working in one of the labs at the Vaccine Research Center

afghan mom kids
Mothers and children playing at a city park—without male chaperones

Queen Soraya reigned in Afghanistan with her husband King Amanullah Khan from 1919 to 1929. She would be slut-shamed or worse for wearing this dress in modern Afghanistan.

Compilation of vintage amateur footage of Afghanistan:

Via Retronaut and Zilla of the Resistance.

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Republican Insurance Commissioner compares pre-existing conditions to car wreck that is ‘your fault’

Why—HOW—does this clown-man have a job?

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, a Republican, is the asshat who bragged earlier this year that his office was deliberately creating bureaucratic hurdles to slow implementation of “Obamacare” in his state. As reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hudgens boasted to an audience of Republicans, “Let me tell you what we’re doing (about Obamacare). Everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”

People in the audience—presumably people who believe themselves to be followers of Christ—shouted “Amen!” when Hudgens made these remarks.

Hudgens apparently just doesn’t know when to quit and he should have quit the day he uttered those foul words in public, but instead he was just pissed off that he was videotaped and the public mockery it led to:

“I didn’t realize I was being videotaped and that got on the Internet,” he said during another speech. “I never received so many nasty e-mails. I’ve been told that they hope I die. I’ve been told that they hope my children had cancer, just all kinds of things.”

Well, what did you expect from the people that you—you personally, Ralphie boy—are keeping from getting affordable health care??? Frankly Hudgeons seems damned lucky that a few impolite emails are all that’s happened to him, if you ask me. Imagine you are the parent of a child with major health issues and you’d meet Ralph Hudgens on the street. What would you say to him to his face… with a tire iron or a broken bottle?

But like I was saying, Hudgens doesn’t know when to quit and now his very own words, caught on videotape again, are starting to percolate outside of Atlanta.

It’s positively mind-blowing, even for the most callous Republican clown to say something like this:

“I’ve had several companies come in and they have said just the fact—just the fact—that in the individual market pre-existing conditions have to be covered on Jan. 1, that that is going to double the cost of insurance. And if you don’t really understand what covering pre-existing conditions would be like, it would be like in Georgia we have a law that says you have to have insurance on your automobile. You have to have liability insurance. If you’re going to drive on Georgia’s roads, you have to have liability insurance. You don’t have to have collision. You don’t have to have comprehensive. You don’t have to have rental car or towing or anything else. But you have to have liability.

“But say you’re going along and you have a wreck. And it’s your fault. Well, a pre-existing condition would be you then calling up your insurance agent and saying, ‘I would like to get collision insurance coverage on my car.’ And your insurance agent says, ‘Well, you never had that before. Why would you want it now?’ And you say, ‘Well, I just had a wreck, it was my fault and I want the insurance company to pay to repair my car.’ And that’s the exact same thing on pre-existing insurance.”

That’s one nastyass politically poisonous phlegm ball to cough up, ain’t it? Even in a red state, that’s taking it a little too far.

Worth noting that when he was in the state Senate, Hudgens sponsored a bill that would end the law requiring insurance companies to cover mammograms. At one point a video clip went around with footage of Hudgens at what appears to be a candidate forum questioning why insurance companies should be forced to cover screenings that can help detect breast cancer before it spreads.

And yet he won the election for Georgia Insurance Commissioner anyway… Awfully counterintuitive vote there, Peach State. You might want to think harder next time before pulling that lever again for Ralph Hudgens?

Due to the policies of Hudgeons and Atlanta Governor Nathan Deal blocking the federal government from offering Medicaid coverage, they’ve denied health insurance to more than 600,000 lower-income Georgia citizens.


Here’s the video taken from Hudgens’ appearance last month at the CSRA Republican Women’s Club meeting. It will be interesting to see what ‘The Daily Show’ will do with this

Below, watch how proud of himself this slimy Republican weasal seems to be about keeping people from getting affordable healthcare in his state!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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