Tuesday, August 30, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Tuesday: Study - Half Of U.S. Adults Will Be Obtuse By 2030

WASHINGTON (CAP) - The number of obtuse people in the United States will increase from 99 million in 2008 to 164 million by 2030, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

"Possibly more, depending on the relative acceleration of certain societal factors," said Dr. Francis Spitznagel of the Pew Center, citing the number of reality television shows on the air, the preponderance of comments sections on news websites, and whether a Tea Party candidate is elected president.

"It was not that long ago that it was relatively uncommon to come across an obtuse person," noted Spitznagel, particularly outside of certain high-obtuseness hotspots like hockey arenas, and the South. "These days it's not unusual for entire families, and in some cases entire social groups, to be obtuse. Often morbidly obtuse."

The study pointed to several possible causes of obtuseness in Americans, including a decline in education funding, and Rush Limbaugh. But far and away the primary factor is the rise of the Internet, said Spitznagel.

"The definition of obtuse is 'lacking quickness of perception or intellect,' and the Internet caters specifically to people with those qualities," said Spitznagel, noting the recent finding that more than 80 percent of the Internet is pictures of cats.

"Fifty or even 20 years ago it was much more common for people to expand their intellectual horizons, just to keep from getting bored," Spitznagel explained. "Nowadays those same people can just spend their time playing Farmville or uploading pictures of their kids to one of Google's several dozen social networking sites.

"Plus, if there's a topic you don't understand or that is nuanced enough to require multi-level thinking, you can just go into the comments section and call it retarded, along with the dozens of other obtuse people doing the same thing," noted Spitznagel.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Thursday, August 25, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Thursday: Barbarian-Americans Protest New 'Conan' Movie

FON DU LAC, Wisc. (CAP) - The Wisconsin-based Brotherhood of Cimmerian Americans (BCA) released a statement this week denouncing the new Conan The Barbarian movie, claiming that the term "barbarian" is offensive to descendants of Cimmerians, Gaels, Picts, Vanir, Vikings and other warring peoples of the 8th and 7th centuries BC.

"Like gypsy or retarded, the word barbarian is outdated, offensive and needs to be eradicated from the popular lexicon," said BCA President Bram Hedstrom. "It's been decades since our peoples have been known for pillaging cities and lopping people's heads off."

The new film, starring Jason Momoa of HBO's Game Of Thrones, would seem to fly in the face of that assertion, featuring no fewer than 200 separate beheadings, possibly a new record. "We'll know when next year's Guinness Book comes out," said producer Fredrik Malmberg.

Even Tyler Bates' score for the film reflects its bloody nature, with movements entitled Beheading (2:49), Another Beheading (1:54), Beheading Again (2:36), You Can Call Him Conan ... But Don't Call Him Late For The Beheading (3:35) and Beheading (Reprise) (2:28), along with more traditional pieces like Obligatory Sex Scene (:55) and A Battle Of Wits (:08).

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred in the original Conan The Barbarian in 1982, expressed concerns about the film, saying it lacked his version's sense of humor. "Also, the boy who played young Conan in my film?" noted Schwarzenegger. "I fathered him."

Schwarzenegger is also said to have fathered children by the film's assistant hair stylist, director of craft services and the secretary to producer Raffaella De Laurentiis. "It was a very welcoming crew," said Schwarzenegger, who has since left show business and his family to concentrate on his affairs.

The film has also irked some viewers who showed up thinking it was the Conan O'Brien documentary, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, which was released earlier this year. "I was wicked disappointed," said Sarah Killen, the woman O'Brien chose at random to follow on Twitter last year. "I knew my Conan wouldn't have nearly this many beheadings in his movie."

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Did the earth move for you?

It wasn't a shaking so much as a buzzing, like someone on the floor below me was using a very large power saw. But I definitely felt this afternoon's 5.9-magnitude earthquake here in Danvers, Mass., even though its epicenter was way down in Virginia. Which may make us North Shore of Boston residents the furthest spot north to feel its effects. I'll make that claim unless I hear otherwise -- you can't really trust anything those people say up in New Hampshire anyway.

Combine that with the earthquake that hit Colorado last night, and there's only one logical conclusion we can make: The end of the world is nigh.

OK, maybe that's a little extreme. But just in case, I'll be stocking up on water and canned goods before Irene hits. Better get to the supermarket early to beat the looters.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Tuesday: Christie 'Least Scary,' 'Fattest' GOP Contender

TRENTON (CAP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been named the "least scary" potential GOP presidential contender in a USA Today/Gallup poll, with most other Republican hopefuls finishing at "genuinely frightening" or above.

Pressure on Christie to enter the race has escalated since last week's GOP debate, where every candidate on the stage induced feelings of "panic," "alarm" and/or "sheer terror" among a majority of viewers, according to the poll.

Fueling the fear factor, apparently, is President Barack Obama's dwindling approval ratings. Polling shows that if the election were held today, every one of the above-mentioned possible GOP candidates would defeat him handily, as would several dead people - including both Gerald Ford and Jesse Helms - and some inanimate objects, like rocks and chairs.

"With every point that he goes down, the likelihood that one of those crazies gets into office goes up," noted poll respondent Larry Critchendon of Newark, N.J., a longtime conservative voter who nonetheless said the entire slate of GOP contenders "makes my blood run cold, like the end of The Blair Witch Project."

"At least Christie seems like he wouldn't bring about the downfall of civilization, probably," said Critchendon. "At least not right away."

The poll also found that Christie was by far the largest of all the GOP contenders. "Well ... He's a fat dude," noted Critchendon.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Tuesday: Christie 'Least Scary,' 'Fattest' GOP Contender

WASHINGTON (CAP) - On the heels of a tentative agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling, 236 congressmen and 41 senators have signed a pledge to accomplish absolutely nothing during their remaining time in office.

Lawmakers who signed the "No New Progress" pledge, the brainchild of Grover Norquist of the Americans for Tax Reform, promise to "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to make progress of any kind."

"We need to hold our legislators accountable for their actions," said Norquist this week. "It's not good enough to say on the campaign trail that you're not going to get anything done once you get into office - legislators need to be willing to put pen to paper and promise to do everything in their power to bring progress to a grinding halt."

There has been some debate over whether signers of the pledge are obligated simply not to contribute to progress, or if they need to be actively impeding progress through their votes and actions.

"I'd go with No. 2," said Norquist.

A prime example is the recent debt ceiling battle. With the 11th hour quickly approaching, lack of congressional approval of the deal between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner could result in the nation defaulting on its debt, which in turn would result in hundreds of thousands of job losses, deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare, sky-high interest rates and a so-called "double-dip" recession.

"Now that's what I call progress!" said Norquist. "Er ... by which I mean, no progress."

Although only Republicans have signed the agreement as of yet, not all have rallied behind it. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), declined to sign the pledge and referred to its backers as "Tea Party Hobbits" on the Senate floor.

"They were once men. Great kings of men," McCain continued. "Then Sauron the deceiver gave to them nine rings of power. Blinded by their greed, they took them without question, one by one falling into darkness. Now they are slaves to his will. They are the Nazgul, Ringwraiths, neither living nor dead. At all times they feel the presence of the Ring, drawn to the power of the One. They will never stop hunting you."

Then there were three or four minutes of awkward silence, before one of McCain's aides led him back to his office to lie down.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]