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Late Night Political Humor

“There are reports that if Joe Biden runs for president, he would promise to serve for only one term — because nothing says confidence like promising your presidency would be over quickly.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump’s new policy paper would not give automatic citizenship to children born in America if they have foreign parents. Said Trump, ‘It’s nothing personal, Sasha and Malia.'” – Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump landed his helicopter at the state fair and offered to take some kids on a ride in the helicopter. Twenty kids took the helicopter ride with Trump. He dropped them off in Texas. They’re now building a wall on the border.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Chris Christie said he will top Donald Trump’s Iowa State Fair helicopter entrance by riding in on a pony. As a result, all the ponies in Iowa have gone into hiding.” – Conan O’Brien

“New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said today that Hillary Clinton’s arrogance is ‘breathtaking.’ Of course, he also said the same thing about a flight of stairs.” – Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump was photographed at the Iowa State Fair eating a pork chop on a stick. That’s what I love about America. You can fly on a private jet and eat at five-star restaurants. But if you want to be president, when they hand you a pork chop on a stick in Iowa, you have to eat it.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“This weekend many of the Republican candidates said they used a fit bit. In fact, Jeb Bush uses his to see how much distance he can put between himself and his last name.” – Conan O’Brien

“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just signed a bill that bans powdered alcohol from the state. So if you live in New York and you’re consuming powdered alcohol, your life just somehow got even worse.” – Jimmy Fallon

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Releasing Gas

Most of the electricity in Hawaii is generated using petroleum, but their power generation facilities are old and are not keeping up with population growth. As a result, last year Hawaiians paid around 36 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to the US average of 12 cents/kwh. The plan was to convert to using LNG (liquefied natural gas) to produce electricity.

But then Governor David Ige announced that instead of spending the money to convert to LNG, he was changing the plan so that the state would convert to 100% renewable resources (such as wind and solar) by the year 2045 – just 30 years. If the island state can achieve this, it will make them the world’s most important laboratory for the fight against climate change.

Some people have said that this is an impractical goal. However, just a few years ago Hawaii set a goal of having 15% of electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2015. Back then, many said that goal was unrealistic. But due to the rapid drop in the price of renewable energy, by 2014 they were already generating 21% of their energy from renewable sources. The lesson they learned was that change only comes when it is demanded.

There will be obstacles to be overcome, but the state is working together to overcome them. The state’s major utility is on board, and they have found an unlikely ally. Around half the energy in Hawaii is used by the US military, and the military has become concerned about energy endangering security. The Army says that they have seen a quadrupling in electricity outages across the US. These are caused by extreme weather events, which are increasing due to global warming, and by aging equipment and infrastructure. And in Hawaii, power generation plants are located on the coasts, making them vulnerable to tsunamis and rising sea levels.

With plummeting costs for photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, renewable energy is now competitive with fossil fuels. It won’t damage our economy to convert, in fact it will make us more secure. The only thing standing in our way is politics. It is good to see Hawaii taking the lead in solving this problem.

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Gerrymander Goof

The business owners in downtown Columbia Missouri hatched a plan. They wanted to make improvements, but they didn’t want to have to pay for them through property taxes. So they got the city council to create a local “Community Improvement District” (CID) that would have the power to levy a half-cent sales tax in the district. But they would have to get voter approval to raise that tax, so they carefully shaped the CID to not include any voters, taking advantage of a loophole that would then let the business owners vote. Here’s the district:

Columbia Tribune

There’s just one problem. The CID did contain a resident, Jan Henderson, a student at the University of Missouri, and she registered to vote. That means that Henderson now is the only voter in the CID, and she alone can decide the fate of the sale tax increase.

What makes this funny is that the CID was so sure of their plan, they had already started spending the money they were expecting from the sales tax increase. They hired a director, and incurred significant legal fees setting up the district.

What makes this ironic is that if the sales tax fails, the property owners will probably have to raise their own property taxes in order to pay back the debt they incurred in order to set up the CID to avoid paying more property taxes.

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Late Night Political Humor

“According to a new report, the word that Donald Trump said most often in last week’s debate was ‘I’m’. The word he says the least: ‘Sorry’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Despite all of his sexist comments, 20 percent of Republican women still support Donald Trump. When asked why, the women said, ‘Because he’s paying us alimony.'” – Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump gave a speech yesterday where he accused Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton of being under the control of lobbyists, special interests, and deep-pocketed donors. Trump says we should vote for him because he’s not under control at all.” – Seth Meyers

“Rand Paul recently told reporters that his campaign is going to focus on taking down Donald Trump. Then Trump said, ‘I’ve tried it myself. It doesn’t work.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Despite no longer working for Donald Trump, former campaign strategist Roger Stone said today that he still fully supports his former boss. At which point, Trump said, ‘OK, cut him down.'” – Seth Meyers

“North Korea has declared its own time zone that they are calling ‘Pyongyang Time,’ and set their clocks back half an hour. So if it’s say, 11:40 here now in New York, in North Korea it’s still 1925.” – Jimmy Fallon

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Remains of Racism

There was a recent interesting interview with Civil War historian and filmmaker Ken Burns on Face the Nation where he talks about slavery and racism. Here’s an excerpt from it:

He points out that while revisionists claim that the Civil War was about “state’s rights”, the overwhelming evidence shows that it was absolutely about slavery. And the repercussions from this are with us to this day:

And we struggle with it. We try to ignore it. We pretend, with the election of Barack Obama, that we’re in some post-racial society. And what we have seen is a kind of reaction to this. The birther movement, of which Donald Trump is one of the authors of, is another politer way of saying the N word. It’s just more sophisticated and a little bit more clever. He’s ‘other,’ he’s different.

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Taxing

Preparing your tax returns can be, well, taxing. Unfortunately, some of that difficulty may be on purpose.

H&R Block was able to get language added to the bill funding the IRS that instructs the agency to add a bunch of questions to the form for the Earned Income Tax Credit. How many questions? Enough to turn the current one-page form into at least a four-page monster. And many of the questions are redundant – they are already answered by the main tax form. So it appears that the only reason for the added changes is to scare poor people into paying a tax preparer to fill out the form for them.

This isn’t the first time tax companies have lobbied against simplifying tax returns. The Obama administration has been pushing for automatic tax filing, where the IRS uses income information it already has to fill out your tax form for you. But the idea has been blocked due to lobbying from H&R Block and Intuit.

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Late Night Political Humor

“Bernie Sanders is polling at 44 percent among Democrats in New Hampshire and has passed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic front-runner. And in another new poll, zero percent of Hillary’s staffers wanted to be the one to bring her that news.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Bernie Sanders is now leading Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. He’s seven points ahead. So forget those emails from when she was secretary of state. I want to see the emails Hillary sent out this morning.” – Conan O’Brien

“Bernie Sanders has now passed Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire polls. It’s the first time anyone’s ever been passed by a guy in a Prius.” – Seth Meyers

“Officials investigating Hillary’s email scandal found that two of the four classified emails on her private account had information labeled ‘Top Secret’. That was pretty stupid. Everyone knows if you want to hide stuff on your computer, you put it in a folder labeled ‘Tax Stuff 2008’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump refuses to give details about his policy plans. Trump apologized by saying, ‘When I announced I was running for president, I had no idea people would take me seriously.'” – Conan O’Brien

“Things might be slowing down a bit for Donald Trump. He recently dropped nine points in some of the latest polls. When he heard that, Trump said, ‘Oh no. Was it everything I said?'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump said in a new interview that he believes his performance in the polls shows that he has not crossed the line of appropriateness. You can read the entire interview in this month’s issue of Juggs magazine.” – Seth Meyers

“In a recent interview, Jeb Bush revealed that his brother George gave him the nickname ‘tortoise’ because he’s making slow, steady progress. Though I think the bigger story here is that compared to George, Jeb is the slow one.” – Jimmy Fallon

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Building a Wall

Republicans, especially their presidential candidates, seem unified in their desire to rid the country of illegal immigrants. Yes, I know, they are only in favor of this in order to get votes from their troglodyte base, but it still would be helpful for someone to look into what it would take in order to actually remove every undocumented worker from our country.

Well, someone has done this. A center-right think tank did the work and here are their numbers. As a preface, I admit that anyone can argue with their numbers, but only if they present some actual facts that disagree with their numbers.

“The cost to remove the entire undocumented immigrant population in the U.S. and prevent future unlawful immigration over the next 20 years is $400-600 billion.” One can hardly imagine that it would cost much less. Can you even imagine the effort it would take to track down all the illegal aliens and deporting them? This cost only includes what it would take to “apprehend, detail, legally process, and transport the immigrants, plus the ongoing price to keep additional undocumented immigrants out of the U.S.” The true cost would probably be even higher, as there would be no money spent on prevention, such as the cost of “finishing the border fence, drastically increasing the number of ICE and Border Patrol officers, building additional detention facilities, and addressing the years-long immigration court backlog.”

Now here’s the interesting part: That would not be the most costly thing. Their (conservative) estimates are that even if we could magically remove every illegal immigrant from the US at no cost, there would be a tremendous hit to the economy. The real GDP would decline by $1.6 trillion.

What’s ironic about this is that people want to deport illegal immigrants because “they are stealing our jobs”. But if we actually deported them, we would lose far more jobs because of the economic hit.

Indeed, the same report says that reducing legal (not illegal) immigration in order to “protect” American workers would actually hurt American workers more than it would help.

I’ve always said I’m a pragmatist. I’m tired of people blaming our problems on immigrants (illegal or otherwise). (If we want to deport someone, how about if we start with the bankers who caused the Great Recession?)

Seriously, let’s have some proposals for immigration reform that increases legal immigration and focuses on skills. That would benefit our economy and not waste money on stupid border walls.

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Political Performance Art

I had this very weird dream the other night. I dreamed that Donald Trump’s entire campaign was an elaborate ploy to throw the Republican party into total chaos.

Unfortunately, not included in the dream was whether this was for the benefit of the GOP (under the theory that the Republican party has to hit bottom before it can reconstruct itself as an actual, functioning party), or for the benefit of the Democrats (who I’m sure are sick and tired of the Party of No and would love to get rid of the GOP).

Considering that Trump has given considerable amounts of money to the Democratic party in the past, maybe this isn’t such a far fetched idea. You heard it here first!

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Fracked

Ten years ago, Dubya signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which included massive giveaways to the oil, gas, and nuclear industries. But the most infamous part of the law became commonly known as the “Halliburton Loophole” (named after the corporation led by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president). Indeed, the law was championed by Cheney and Kenneth Lay. Lay was the soon-to-be-disgraced founder and head of Enron, which was shut down because of massive fraud and corruption.

And yet we still have the Halliburton Loophole, which helped usher in the current disastrous era of oil and gas fracking. The loophole exempted the oil and gas industries from critical sections of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 and the Clean Water Act of 1972.

Fracking involves blasting millions of gallons of water mixed with toxic chemicals into wells to break up the rock, freeing oil and natural gas. Hundreds of peer-reviewed medical studies have linked fracking to cancer, asthma, and birth defects. The toxic chemicals contaminate drinking water. Over 270,000 wells have been fracked, and over 10 million Americans live within a mile of a fracked well.

And all of this was made possible by almost a billion dollars in lobbying by the energy companies.

Marquil
© Mark Wilson

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Late Night Political Humor

“Hillary Clinton has a $350 billion plan that she says will make college more affordable. Which has to be better than my parents’ plan to make college affordable: ‘Be good at sports’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“A PAC supporting Hillary Clinton just received an anonymous donation of $1 million. Which means that if she wins any of us can say that it was us that gave her the million bucks and hit her up for a favor.” – Jimmy Fallon

“What’s really interesting is that this million-dollar donation from an anonymous donor came just two weeks after Hillary spoke out against, quote, ‘the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money’ into campaigns. Then she said, ‘Starting now! Unaccountable money is awful. Cash it quick!'” – Jimmy Fallon

“A new poll shows that Hillary Clinton is only six points ahead of Bernie Sanders. Today a very confident Hillary said, ‘Oh, please. Like I’m going to lose the Democratic nomination to a left-wing senator nobody’s ever heard of?'” – Conan O”Brien

“Liberal Democrat Bernie Sanders had a rally in Los Angeles last night attended by over 27,000 supporters. The rally set the world record for most Priuses in one parking lot.” – Conan O”Brien

“Hillary Clinton pushed back against Donald Trump’s claim that she went to his wedding because of his donations and said she actually attended because she thought, ‘It’d be fun.’ Added Hillary, ‘Am I saying that right — Fun?'” – Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump said today that he has made up with Fox News over his controversial comments toward Megyn Kelly. And if there’s anything Trump and Fox are great at, it’s making things up.” – Seth Meyers

“According to an online poll, Donald Trump is still the front-runner in the Republican primary race. It’s very impressive because it’s the only race left that he hasn’t offended yet.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Bristol Palin announced on her blog today that she is supporting Donald Trump for president. She said she wasn’t planning to but it just kind of happened.” – Seth Meyers

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Televangelists

John Oliver brilliantly shows that the rip-off scam known as televangelism is still alive and well, preying (not praying) on the weak, sick, or just plain stupid. And because they are churches, televangelists are completely tax exempt, meaning that we taxpayers are contributing to their ill-gotten gains.

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Late Night Political Humor

“After being accused of making sexist comments about Republican debate moderator Megyn Kelly, Donald Trump went on CNN yesterday and said, ‘I cherish women. I want to help women.’ Then Hillary said, ‘Well, you’re really helping THIS woman.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump insisted he’s always had a great relationship with women. He said, ‘I believe a woman can be anything she wants to be, whether that’s Miss USA or Miss Universe. Either one.'” – Conan O’Brien

“A top aide to Donald Trump says he quit the campaign this weekend because of Trump’s public feuds, but Trump said he was fired. When asked what he was fired for, Trump said, ‘Quitting!'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump’s top strategist has stepped down after Trump seemed to imply last week that Megyn Kelly was menstruating during the debate. Even more shocking, Donald Trump has had a campaign strategist this entire time.” – Seth Meyers

“During the earlier debate, Rick Perry said that if he were elected he would ‘tear up’ the nuclear agreement with Iran. Then Obama had it laminated just to mess with him.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Bernie Sanders drew over 20,000 people to his campaign event in Portland this weekend. Sounds impressive, but remember, it’s Portland. You can draw a crowd of 20,000 people with a Frisbee.” – Seth Meyers

“North Korea is creating its own time zone. It’s going to push the country’s time back a half hour. So it’s not bad enough that they don’t have food and they’re ruled by an insane dictator. Now they have to wait until 8:00 to watch ‘Wheel of Fortune.'” – Conan O’Brien

“A new report claims that William Shakespeare was a marijuana user and may have been high when he wrote some of his plays. Which explains that one line: ‘To be, or not to be … Wait, what was the question?'” – Jimmy Fallon

“For the first time American astronauts on the International Space Station ate vegetables grown in space. In other words, even space is getting more rain than California.” – Conan O’Brien

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Foundation of Civilization?

The Family Research Council (FRC) says that their mission is “to champion marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society”, which is social conservative speak meaning that they fight against same sex marriage. They seem to be losing the gay marriage battle, and it sounds like they aren’t doing so well on the family front either.

You may have heard about the scandal in July, when their executive director Josh Duggar, who was also one of the kids on the TLC reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting”, was accused of having molested five underage girls starting in 2002, four of whom were his sisters.

Duggar tried to absolve himself of past wrongdoing by posting the following to his Facebook page:

Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.

Duggar resigned from the FRC and TLC cancelled the show.

But wait, there’s more! Hackers just uploaded information from the website Ashley Madison, a “dating” site for people who want to cheat on their spouses (their motto is “Life is short. Have an affair.”) It turns out that a credit card in Duggar’s name was used to pay for not one but two memberships in the cheating site, one using the address near DC where he and his family lived when he was lobbying for the FRC, and the other for the house featured in the TLC TV show. The two memberships overlapped by a few months, but Duggar had at least one active membership from February 2013 until May 2015 (just before the scandal broke).

That means that during the time Duggar was the executive director of the FRC and appearing in a reality show about a devout religious family, he spent around a $1000 on memberships to a cheater’s website, which was important enough that he needed two memberships, one for when he was doing his FRC job, and one for when he was home with his family. It also looks like Duggar had an account on another dating site, OkCupid.

So much for God’s redemption. He might have stopped molesting children a decade ago, but he was still cheating on his wife up until a few months ago. But I do have to agree with Duggar on one thing. On Thursday Duggar posted on the family’s website admitting that he cheated on his wife and saying that he is the “biggest hypocrite ever”.

Josh Duggar

Is this true?

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Budget in the Eye of the Beholder

Joel Pett
© Joel Pett

Republicans say we have to cut spending.

Well, except for military spending. And subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. And all their other pet projects …

But one thing is clear. Republicans are in favor of spending that benefits the rich (like tax cuts), but against spending the benefits the poor (like the minimum wage). Meanwhile, there is little evidence that raising the minimum wage hurts the economy, and plenty of evidence that it stimulates the economy.

The Republicans claim to be fiscal conservatives, but when they are in power they miraculously don’t manage to lower the deficit.

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