Ringside

Daily Meme: Points of Clarification

  • The modern world is so confusing. Fortunately, there are lots of people out there trying to clarify things for you, so in today's meme, we're seeking and finding clarity on what bedevils us.
  • Are you a Supreme Court justice who doesn't quite understand how different birth control methods work, what with all those confusing ladyparts going on? Salon has a handy guide to help clear up your confusion.

Daily Meme: The Man From Oops

  • While the Republican presidential contest for 2016 is delightfully, crazily up for grabs, you probably figured there was one thing you could bank on: Rick Perry would never run again after humiliating himself so memorably in 2011 and 2012. 
  • Think again! The Man from Oops is back, now sporting a pair of "make-you-look-smarter" glasses and becoming a regular media darling. Last week he was charming Jimmy Kimmel on a broadcast from SXSW. 

Daily Meme: Stopping the NSA Madness This March

  • In January, President Obama gave a speech at the Justice Department that was basically an acknowledgement that the shady ex-girlfriend stuff that the NSA has been doing to Americans, like going through our phone records and mining our internet activity, was indeed pretty damn shady. He promised, in that vague way that politicians do, to take some action.

Daily Meme: Nate Silver's Fickle Friends

  • Yesterday, former New York Times numbers nerd Nate Silver—who just launched his own site, FiveThirtyEight.com—set off panic among Democratic leaders by changing his projection about the makeup of the Senate after the midterms from "tossup" to "slight GOP advantage."

Daily Meme: Sanctions; So Hot Right Now

  • Everyone who's anyone is either sanctioning someone today, or getting sanctioned themselves. First, the Obama administration announced new sanctions on Russia, including 20 Russian officials and a Russian bank.

Daily Meme: The Crimean War 2.0

  • Diplomatic hell broke out this weekend when the citizens of Crimea, the southwestern region of Ukraine at the center of a standoff between Russia and the West, voted to secede and join Russia.

Daily Meme: Happy Straight Pride Day!

  • It's not just the scores of 30-somethings who revert to their frat-boy days and fill the streets with their drunken antics on March 17 that have led some in the gay community to call St. Patrick's Day the straight holiday. For a long time running, parades across the country celebrating Ireland's patron saint—including the New York City and Boston's—have refused to allow LGBT groups to join in the festivities.

Daily Meme: The Conspiracy Theorist Inside All of Us

  • In 2014 we are used to stories that have neatly-defined, if contradicting narratives, and which resolve themselves relatively quickly, fading into the ether. Which is what makes the story of the Malaysia Airlines flight that has been missing for a week such an engrossing one. The narratives are muddled, the experts all seem to be at a loss, and no one's quite sure what the exact facts of the case are.
  • Recent developments have thrown things even more into doubt, and into a place of speculation about possible dark motivations behind the plane's disappearance.

Daily Meme: Outrage City

  • Washington runs on many things—power, bureaucracy, and the frenzied exchange of business cards, to name a few—but if there's one resource we have more of than any other city in America, it's outrage. True, most of Washington's outrage is utterly insincere, offered up in an attempt to get people angry at one's political opponents over what are usually mundane sins (or no sin at all). But it's still the coal we shovel into the great steam engine of our politics, keeping everything chugging along at a comfortable clip. So who's feeling outraged today?

Daily Meme: The Flood Will Not Be Televised

  • You might think, given the country's general secular drift, that Bible epics would not be Hollywood's latest cash cow. And you would, of course, be wrong. This year, no less than four movies (loosely) based on Biblical stories will appear in theaters near you. The deluge began last month with Son of God, a feature-length version of the "The Bible" miniseries (without the Satan character that just happened to look like our president). 

Daily Meme: Three Weeks and Counting

  • President Obama's plot to turn the United States into a paradise for the proletariate is going precisely as planned. According to a survey conducted by the Gallup organization last month, the percentage of Americans without insurance has dropped to 15.9 percent—the lowest rate since 2008. 

Daily Meme: Love, Tolerance, and CPAC

  • For the millions of American reality-show junkies who just can't wait for the return of 2012's most outrageous hit show—the Republican presidential debates—this week's Conservative Political Action Conference has offered a tantalizing sneak preview. Just about every potential 2016 cast member was in D.C.—and everybody had something to prove. 

Daily Meme: "Free Mumia" Backfires Once Again

  • For some time, a few liberals (like yours truly), and many more conservatives, have used the "Free Mumia" cause as a shorthand for a kind of ineffectual yet harmless activism that always exists in some corners of the left. Whatever the merits of Mumia Abu-Jamal's case, if you brought a "Free Mumia" sign to an anti-war rally in 2003 (as some people actually did), you weren't doing anybody any good.
  • But over three decades after his conviction for killing police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 as the officer conducted a traffic stop of his brother, Mumia Abu-Jamal's case continues to exert power, most particularly the power to strike fear and rage in the hearts of certain people.

Daily Meme: Vladimir Putin is Delusional Like a Fox

  • In the wee hours of yesterday morning, while you were still blissfully asleep, Russia's president and tiger-fighter-in-chief, Vladimir Putin, gave a strange, rambling press conference.

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