Episode 413 Scott Adams: (Part 2) Talking to @Naval Ravikant About All the Important Stuff

PART 2 Topics:

  • Is Universal Basic Income and Socialism the future?
  • What form will future educational systems have?
  • What are life’s biggest illusions?
  • Thoughts on The Simulation
  • Old problems were about scarcity, now they’re about abundance
  • Book author recommendations

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

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The post Episode 413 Scott Adams: (Part 2) Talking to @Naval Ravikant About All the Important Stuff appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

Dilbert Blog

Paul George quiets crowd, lets his play do the talking

On a night where Russell Westbrook couldn’t make a shot, it was the Thunder’s other L.A.-area star who shut down the Staples Center boo birds with an MVP-like performance.
www.espn.com – NBA

Faith Evans and Stevie J Say Marriage is Real Deal, Already Talking Babies

[[tmz:video id=”0_6rb5hklg”]] If Faith Evans knows one thing about Stevie J it’s that he’s good — really, really good — at making babies, and the newlyweds definitely have baby fever. We got Faith and Stevie talking for the first…


TMZ Celebrity News for Hook Ups

Talking Horse

A jogger, running down a country road, is startled as a horse yells at him,

“Hey! Come over here, buddy!” The jogger is stunned, but runs over to the fence where the horse is standing and asks, “Are you talking to me???”

The horse replies, “Sure am! Listen, I’ve got a problem. I won the Kentucky Derby a few years ago, but then this farmer bought me, and now all I do is
pull a plow. I’m sick of it. Why don’t you run up to the house and offer him $ 5,000 to buy me? I’ll make you some real money, ’cause I can still

Dollar signs go off in the jogger’s head. So he runs up to the farmhouse, where he finds the old farmer sitting on the porch.

The jogger says, “Say, old man, I’ll give you $ 5,000 for that old, broken-down nag you’ve got out in the field.”

Says the farmer, “Son, I know what you are thinking, but you can’t believe everything you hear. He’s never even been to Kentucky.”

Received from Crosswalk.
The Good, Clean Funnies List

Episode 320 Scott Adams: In the Wrong Time Zone Talking About Trump’s Pardon Talk, His Jail Tweet


  • President Trump mentions possible pardon for Manafort
    • Concept: Never willingly give up your options
  • Meme depicting President Trump’s enemies behind bars
    • That’s a “brushback pitch” to clarify M.A.D. exists
  • Anti-Trump media says…
    • Inappropriate for POTUS to discuss enemies possible crimes
    • Media doesn’t want focus to be on the possible crimes
    • Media focuses on appropriateness of POTUS behavior
  • Saudi Arabia’s perspective on Yemen
    • U.S. might pull out of support for the Saudis
  • Roger Stone’s rep is that he’s full of crap and unreliable
    • The perfect defense for accusations he said an untruth
  • Gene editing in FentanylChina
  • Fake memory creation by anti-Trump prosecutors

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 320 Scott Adams: In the Wrong Time Zone Talking About Trump’s Pardon Talk, His Jail Tweet appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

Dilbert Blog

The Best of Talking Heads (Remastered) – Talking Heads

Talking Heads - The Best of Talking Heads (Remastered)  artwork

The Best of Talking Heads (Remastered)

Talking Heads

Genre: Alternative

Price: $ 13.99

Release Date: August 17, 2004

© ℗ 2004 Warner Bros. Manufactured and Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Alternative

Kylie Jenner’s Daughter Stormi Is Talking & Already Seems To Have A Favorite Word

Kylie Jenner’s little girl is ready to speak up! Stormi Webster is only 9 months old, but already seems to have a favorite word. Watch her famous mom try to lead an adorable conversation with her daughter.

Access Hollywood Latest Videos

Episode 303 Scott Adams: Talking About Robots and AI Because it Must be 4:20 Somewhere


  • What does it mean to be alive and intelligent?
    • Human intelligence is an illusion
    • A guiding principle we should give AI robots

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 303 Scott Adams: Talking About Robots and AI Because it Must be 4:20 Somewhere appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

Dilbert Blog

Episode 272 Scott Adams: Talking About Bombs


  • Who was and wasn’t on the bomber’s list…and why?
  • Was the bomber activated and programmed by the press?
  • CNN makes a radical claim (with no details) about violence from the right
  • Senator Hirono says President Trump is a racist white supremacist
    • Hirono is despicable, should be (legally) removed from office
  • Humor changes over time, it’s generational
    • Funny decades ago is now completely inappropriate
    • Trump and Biden, same age, same sense of slapstick humor
    • Eric Holder “kick ‘em”, same sense of slapstick humor
  • The Dems and press are intentionally painting half of US worthy of death
    • NOT the same as “old guy slapstick humor” from both sides
  • The bombs appear to have been a message with no ability to explode

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 272 Scott Adams: Talking About Bombs appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

Dilbert Blog

Jimmy Kimmel misses talking about TV shows instead of Trump too

Jimmy Kimmel returns to New York for a week of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” from the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Monday.

CNN.com – RSS Channel – Entertainment

GamersGate: The World's Largest Online Game Store

Everyone Is Talking About ‘A Star Is Born.’ Here’s What’s Worth Reading.

Reviews. Videos. Hot takes. More hot takes. It’s a lot to sift through. We’re here to help.
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Episode 237 Scott Adams: Talking About Kavanaugh


  • Discussion of the testimony and persuasiveness of both Ford and Kavanaugh
  • The Kavanaugh childhood calendars were persuasive
  • Should Kavanaugh call for the White House and FBI to investigate him?
  • A more persuasive answer
  • Ford’s hippocampus answer and some overlooked questions
  • Fear of flying…yet she flies all the time?
  • She didn’t know about Committee offers to fly to her?

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 237 Scott Adams: Talking About Kavanaugh appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

Dilbert Blog

E-40 ft. Vince Staples & G Perico “Ain’t Talking Bout Nothing,” Hoodrich Pablo ft. BlocBoy JB “Tik Tok” & More | Daily Visuals 8.28.18


Source: Photo: Instagram

E-40 is basically three decades strong in the game (respect) and is still spitting like his future in the rap game depended on it.

Continuing to rep the left coast the Bay Area OG links up with Vince Staples and G Perico in the visual to “Ain’t Talking Bout Nothing” where the three get hyphy in a garage where the lights switch colors like fools who claim sets based on popularity. We see y’all.

Somewhere else in the night Hoodrich Pablo Juan and BlocBoy JB get together and get lit with some thick women who like to play with fire in the clip to “Tik Tok.”

Check out the rest of today’s drops including work from Summer Walker, Tobi Lou, and more.









The Latest Hip-Hop News, Music and Media | Hip-Hop Wired

Episode 193 Scott Adams: Talking to Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai (Running Against Elizabeth Warren) About Immigration, Education and Innovation


  • “Only a real Indian can defeat the fake Indian” 
  • Dr. Shiva, PhD (M.I.T.) is running against Elizabeth Warren for Senate
  • Dr. Shiva is the Inventor of email, with 4 degrees from MIT
  • Immigration policies
  • Paths to success in life
  • Education policies and the predatory student loan system
  • The importance of Votech (Vocational-Technical) schools
  • Healthcare insurance companies have NO incentive to lower costs
  • GPO corruption in healthcare keeps cost artificially inflated
  • Campaign website: https://shiva4senate.com

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here…


Find my WhenHub Interface app here…


The post Episode 193 Scott Adams: Talking to Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai (Running Against Elizabeth Warren) About Immigration, Education and Innovation appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

Dilbert Blog

Episode 192 Scott Adams: Talking About the “Worse Than Watergate” Guy


  • Clear example of two movies on one screen
    • Viewers of one movie…see nothing illegal or worrisome
    • Viewers of the other movie…see serious crimes, and impeachment
    • Carl Bernstein weighs in, as usual…”it’s worse than Watergate!”
  • CNN reports Cohen said President Trump committed a crime
  • Mollie Tibbetts news coverage, from a persuasion perspective
  • Hiring decision insights and Trump administration choices
    • Hiring is a guess, firing is a skill
    • Risk management is an important consideration
    • Loyalty matters


I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 192 Scott Adams: Talking About the “Worse Than Watergate” Guy appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

Dilbert Blog

Episode 191 Scott Adams: Talking About Cohen, Manafort


  • Manafort thing…nothing to do with the President?
  • Cohen thing…is there a victim here, why should I care?


I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 191 Scott Adams: Talking About Cohen, Manafort appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

Dilbert Blog

Faith Evans and Stevie J Say Marriage is Real Deal, Already Talking Babies

[[tmz:video id=”0_6rb5hklg”]] If Faith Evans knows one thing about Stevie J it’s that he’s good — really, really good — at making babies, and the newlyweds definitely have baby fever. We got Faith and Stevie talking for the first…


TMZ Celebrity News for Hook Ups

Chris Hardwick Returning To AMC’s ‘Talking Dead’ After Sexual Assault Investigation

AMC host Chris Hardwick is returning to work after a review of sexual assault allegations against him by a former girlfriend.

Access Hollywood Latest News

Colbert Shreds Trump Over Broken Promises: ‘What Are You Talking About?’

“You literally just backed out of an American promise.”
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS-Visit Mobile Playboy today for the hottest adult entertainment online!

Daddy, Stop Talking: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won’t Be Getting (Unabridged) – Adam Carolla

Adam Carolla - Daddy, Stop Talking: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won't Be Getting (Unabridged)  artwork

Daddy, Stop Talking: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won’t Be Getting (Unabridged)

Adam Carolla

Genre: Comedy

Price: $ 20.95

Publish Date: May 26, 2015

© ℗ © 2015 HarperAudio

iTunes Store: Top Audiobooks in Comedy

Kevin Hart Deeply Involved in Police Extortion Investigation, Talking to Law Enforcement Today

Kevin Hart is aggressively helping authorities nab the people who tried extorting him over that sexually charged video … and TMZ has learned he’s speaking with them today to tell them everything he knows. Sources connected with Hart tell us Kevin is…


TMZ Celebrity News for Stars In Heat

‘Outlander’: Caitriona Balfe Talks Season 3 & A ‘Reunion People Keep Talking About’

Caitriona Balfe tells Access Hollywood at the Entertainment Weekly premiere of “Outlander” Season 3 about what’s to come for Claire now that she’s back in her own time. What decades will fans see in the upcoming episodes? And, Caitriona teases a reunion that book readers should be familiar with. “Outlander” airs Sunday nights at 9 PM ET/PT on Starz.

Access Hollywood Latest Videos

Josh Rosen lets his play do the talking with UCLA’s miracle rally

Josh Rosen lets his play do the talking with UCLA’s miracle rally
www.espn.com – TOP

Jeezy “Talking,” Snoop Dogg & DJ Drama “Beach City,” & More | Daily Visuals 11.6.15

Taking flashback Friday to heart, Jeezy goes digging in his crates and breaks out a fan favorite for which to bring to life.

On this day of the Frige (Friday), the Snowman gives the visual treatment to his 2010 Trap or Die 2 mixtape cut “Talking.” He finds himself sitting at the head of the table on which he and his congregation break bread and enjoy the fruits of their hustle like only the most loyal of families tend to do at the end of the week.

Speaking of fam, Snoop Dogg and DJ Drama reunite to unleash a West Coast infused Gangsta Grillz and kick things off with “Beach City.” The visual features some of Long Beach’s most promising talent in the form of the LBC Movement who are determined to put their hood back on the forefront of the rap game.

Check out the rest of today’s visuals which include work from Chris Rivers featuring the big man of the Lox, Sheek Louch, HXLT, Snooti Wild, and more.

















The post Jeezy “Talking,” Snoop Dogg & DJ Drama “Beach City,” & More | Daily Visuals 11.6.15 appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

Hip-Hop Wired

Lamar Odom reportedly out of coma, talking and breathing on his own

Sources close to Odom tell our sister network E! that he is off life support and breathing on his own, and he opened his eyes and spoke, three days after being found unresponsive in a Nevada brothel.

TODAY Pop Culture

Live webcam sex! More than 20000 Hot Girls are waiting for you!

Amy Schumer Tears Up Talking Body Issues & Confidence Through Clothes: Watch

Amy Schumer’s career is on the rise but the recent Saturday Night Live host, Trainwreck star and Emmy winner has dealt with her own image struggles…
Billboard.com Music News

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Download FREE Music for your iPod® or any MP3 player!

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What We Talk About When We Talk About How We Talk About Whatever We’re Talking About

“So…The Thing…pretty crazy, right?”

“Which Thing?”

The Internet Thing? The Person did that controversial Thing!”

“Oh, that Thing. Everyone’s been talking about that Thing.”

“Pretty crazy, right?”


“I can’t believe The Person made fun of The Movement. The Movement is so important.”

“To be honest, I was really sick of The Movement.”

“Don’t you care about The Issue?”

“Oh, obviously I oppose The Issue.”


“It’s just The Movement got really annoying.”

“But now The Thing happened.”

“The Thing made it all worse. How could someone be so ignorant?”

“It wasn’t ignorance! The Person knew all about The Issue and was promoting it!”

“Well either way, it was totally over the line.”


“And then The Supporters…”

“That’s the real problem. Not The Person but The Person’s Supporters…”

“Did you hear The Person’s Supporters got hate mail and death threats?”

“And then The People Sending Hate Mail And Death Threats got doxed!”

“And The People Who Did The Doxing got censored!”

“I hate censorship.”

“Me too.”

“And stereotypes.”

“Me too.”

“And The Person. But not enough to kill them. But I still hate them.”

“Me too.”

“It’s a Society’s problem, really.”

“And the Media.”

“The Media!”

“All the media.”

“Every single media.”

“Except The Daily Show. I love The Daily Show.”

“But it’s The New Guy.”

“Oh, right, The New Guy. Do you like him?”

“No. Do you?”


“Have you watched him?”

“No. Have you?”


“I miss The Old Guy.”

“What does it say about Society and Media when The Person is allowed to do The Thing?”

“Well, it’s not a question of allowed. Remember Freedom?”

“Right, Freedom means that The Person is allowed by law to do The Thing, but Media and Society shouldn’t allow The Person to do The Thing.”

“But Media and Society helped!”

“Of course. They’re the ones that caused The Issue in the first place!”



“So what are we going to do about The Issue?”

“I don’t know. I don’t remember what The Issue was.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Comedy – The Huffington Post
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS-Visit Mobile Playboy today for the hottest adult entertainment online!

Fred Durst — Yeah, I’m the Kissinger that May Have Got Guns ‘N Roses Talking Again (VIDEO)

Fred Durst is being credited for getting Slash and Axl Rose talking again — possibly for a reunion — and he not-so-coyly hinted that Guns ‘N Roses are about to go on tour. Fred was leaving Craig’s in West Hollywood Monday…


TMZ Celebrity News for Gossip Rumors

Talking Pictures | The Icy Surf Photography of Chris Burkard

Photographer Chris Burkard doesn’t make the usual images of surfers. He and his crew don thick wetsuits and head for the poles to make photos of surfers paddling out in slushy cold waters off of Norway, Iceland and Chile.
WIRED Videos – The Scene

How One Model Went From Reality TV to Fronting the Fashion Campaign Everyone’s Talking About

hillier bartley

The launch of Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley’s luxurious new label, Hillier Bartley, brought with it more than a wealth of luxurious sportswear. The design duo’s first campaign—a soft-focus image completely in line with the “rock-’n’-roll femininity” Bartley described to Vogue’s Sarah Mower—has introduced the world to modeling’s rising star Aida Becheanu. As one of the contestants on Romania’s Next Top Model back in 2011, the 20-year-old Becheanu has successfully made the transition from reality television to high fashion—much like TV alums Suvi Koponen and Aamito Lagum before her.

Describing the Top Model experience as somewhat surreal and “completely different” from the actual modeling industry, Becheanu has no plans to reprise her television moment. The time she spends in front of the camera now is with key photographers like David Sims, who shot her for both the Hillier Bartley ads and a slick story for Arena Homme Plus. Sims’s pared-down style suits Becheanu to a tee. “Working with him feels natural,” says Becheanu. “It didn’t even feel like work—he wants you to show your personality instead of simply posing, and I love that.”

Besides getting to shoot with Sims, appearing in the Hillier Bartley ads came with additional perks, namely a first look at the collection, including its covetable velvet-patched sweaters and exotic accessories. With its focus on quality and subtlety, the line’s pieces meshed well with Becheanu’s understated tastes. “The clothes are totally my style, and the quality was really beautiful,” says Becheanu. “Luella [Bartley] and David [Sims] were both so wonderful on set, so it was just a pleasure to have such a great time during my very first campaign.” Now Becheanu has her sights set on New York. “I’m concentrated on my work at the moment—I’m excited for my first season here in New York. I just arrived a few days ago and I can’t wait.”

The post How One Model Went From Reality TV to Fronting the Fashion Campaign Everyone’s Talking About appeared first on Vogue.

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Talking Irrelevance and ‘Live (At The Time)’ With Demetri Martin

Demetri Martin presents another hour of his characteristic brilliant, offbeat observations in his first Netflix special, “Demetri Martin: Live (At the Time),” released on the streaming service Aug. 14.

This special was long overdue since we’ve heard little from the comedian since his sketch-variety show on Comedy Central, “Important Things with Demetri Martin,” ended in 2010. The Huffington Post got a chance to talk with Martin recently about his current writing process, delivering jokes vs. storytelling, and the importance of being irrelevant.

“Demetri Martin: Live (At The Time).” Were there any alt titles for the special?

Yeah, I had three or four. One was: “Beeswax or Pleasure.” I forgot the other ones. This one was my favorite. I’m drawn to generic titles. Generally, the jokes I like best are the most generic. I like doing things that are personal but, I don’t know, once I’m putting it out there — especially with me, and being what it is — if you don’t know when it was made then I think people have a better chance of watching it or it staying around than if it is a standalone thing. I don’t do topical material too much. So that solves that problem for me.

Just keep it evergreen.

I’ve heard comedy doesn’t age well. It’s pretty true. If I can give myself a little more shelf life then it feels like it’s worth it.

I don’t think I’m going to watch an old Bill Maher special because I’m not interested in hearing about George Bush Sr.’s presidency. And I think I would watch your special later on because it’s just more Demetri jokes.

You know, my latest struggle is that … it feels like more confessional, personal, anecdotal material seems to be what’s in vogue right now. With the Internet or social media, they’re putting out stories and stuff like that. And people respond and feel like they connect to the comedian. And while I’ve done those things, I’m just naturally driven to jokes. Just short jokes. I’ve come to accept that jokes are just what I’m naturally drawn to. I’ve told stories, but after telling it a couple times I become sick of telling that story, and sick of myself. I don’t want to talk about myself anymore. I’d rather talk about dogs or something. 

A lot of comics tell stories, and most of the time I just want to hear funny jokes, leave, and feel good. You do that, and so does Dave Attel.

Yeah! I think it’s a deceptive trick. People are really good at telling stories and making them funny. And then people see that and go, “Oh, I’ll just tell my story. I got it now!” And it’s like, but you gotta be good at it though! Like anything else. It seems like it’s an easy way to fill time sometimes. Like “Oh, alright, I’ll go tell that story about going to a party and having to fart and holding it in for 20 minutes.” OK, yeah, sure, maybe we should all be quiet and listen to that story, but I don’t know; It just better be really interesting.

Relevance is temporary, but irrelevance is eternal.
Demetri Martin

How long did you prepare for this special?

I did 40 shows between November and March. I would just go out for a few weekends in a row. Because my jokes aren’t long, I gotta write a lot of them to fill a full headlining act. It’s a little tiring, even if the show is going well.

The nice thing about jokes is they feel like objects. I have a bunch of them in my notebook. I just have a bunch of keywords in there. As opposed to stories, I’ll just go tell these 30 jokes. The most exciting is having a pile of jokes that I haven’t said before. I always have a hunch but I never know how they’ll do. And then I tell them and then, silence. And it’s like, “Really?”

Do you find you write better on the road or at your house drinking coffee?

When I started, it was fun because they would just come to me and I’d write them down in my notebook when they came. But when it became a job, I realized I couldn’t wait around anymore. Planes are good because I’ll say, “OK, I’ll write 100 jokes between here and NYC/LA. No matter if they’re good.”

So now, I said, every morning I’ll write one page of jokes. It might sound stupid but I have a couple typewriters that have really helped. I have computers like everybody else. But sometimes I feel like I’m living too much of my life in Microsoft Word. Just starting a new document, save as – the f**king title. I’m happy for the convenience. But it was a weird revelation to put a piece of paper into a typewriter and then write a page and then be like, I HAVE IT! I didn’t have to worry about toner or the wireless connection to the printer or anything. So instead of taking a vitamin, I just take a typewriter out, put a paper in, and write to the bottom, and then put them in a binder. Theoretically, at the end of the year, I should have a new hour of one-liners.

That’s amazing. You could sell those pages to superfans, or at least scan them and make a book of them. Everybody would buy that.

It would be interesting, especially for when I’m gone. Like, I wont be embarrassed when I’m gone and I can just give the binder to somebody to do something with them. 

But I will say whether I’m working on a book idea or drawings or stand-up jokes. There is something liberating about finding a rhythm and working on the process. Whether the result is in a book or stand-up special. It helps me to not focus on the results. Because it’s frustrating, there are things out of my control. A flight is late, the crowd is pissed cause they had to wait, whatever. But the process, things can happen, but it’s easier to control. There’s something so reassuring about it. It’s what I love about the job of comedy. It’s your relationship to the work. Even though it’s dumb jokes, most of them.

I feel like the people who stick around are the people that would do it just to do it. Like, you put them in a cave and they naturally make comedy in a cave.

I think you’re right. Another one of my hangups. Probably because of the Internet and everybody knowing what people are talking about. When I was a kid, I wasn’t aware of comedy being directly relevant. It just seemed like they were being funny to be funny. And if they said something more, that’s great. But now it seems like there’s a burden or an expectation to be relevant. I always joke with my friends that I’m one of the least relevant comedians you’re going to find. Not in a self-deprecating way. I really am just drawn to borderline pointless things. And I’ve come to accept it that there’s not going to be a big message, at least not in my stand-up. But there is still something valuable to me in trying to think a certain way or to deconstruct the simple experiences we all go through.

I think the more you try to be relevant, the more you become the chase. If you aren’t chasing it, you are then the newsmaker and the thing people are talking about.

Yeah, the way I think about it is: Relevance is temporary, but irrelevance is eternal.

That’s great. For this special, you did stand up and then guitar. I hope that doesn’t mean that you’re done with projections or live drawings.

No! For a lot of the tour I had new drawings. But I decided, ya know, I’ve never done a special that’s just jokes. I was going to take out the guitar too because where I started was just standing and telling jokes. But I liked the chunk with the guitar so I left it in. I think the next time is going to have stuff like drawings.

Awesome. In this special, was the death riff [where Martin was met with silence after an improvised death-related quip and responded with, “Uh oh, too real”] real?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, I joke around sometimes that for some reason I end up writing a lot of death jokes and fart jokes. And when I make a special, I go, “All right, pick three or four death jokes and two or three of your favorite fart jokes.” I left it in there cause it was honest.

You had a couple in there.

I thought I could clean it up a little but I thought it added more life to it. It’s always interesting doing something for TV because it’s a different experience for the viewer than being in the room. My live shows have much more improvisation in it. It’s harder to do that for TV. For some reason, when you’re watching somebody improvise, like watching the audience watching it, it just loses the magic. But when you’re in the room, it’s just the best. I wanted to put it in so the audience could get a flavor of the live show. But I didn’t want to hurt the quality of the broadcast.

What was the origin of the couch joke?

That was an older one. Over the years, I write jokes in my notebook. The typewriter thing is new. Now I have a treadmill desk. Most of my earlier stuff was just while I was walking around NYC. I live in California now so I don’t have that luxury. So that one was probably on my treadmill.

My favorite joke in this special was “Jesus was the first scarecrow.” Was that a walk-around joke?

It was. That was one like, “How have I not thought of that before?” Sometimes I tag that joke with, “That’s not a religious joke, that’s a bird perception joke.”

I really feel that way about it. Of course I’m getting blowback. I feel like I’m one of the most tame comedians. You can look at my whole body of work and my hit rate is pretty low. This is an era of outrage. And my father was a priest. I was an altar boy until I went to college. I grew up in the Greek Orthodox Church. I think I’m a good person. I haven’t killed anybody. But it’s still a problem for some people. I haven’t gotten too much blowback. But you can’t help but feel like, “Hey, I haven’t been sacrilegious!” And I like that joke too. It’s very economical.

Going off topic, Jon Stewart is gone. How did you deal with that?

It seemed like he finally got a chance to get out of that calendar. It’s a year-round thing. No summer break. Just hiatuses. And the years fly. And the amount of work that “The Daily Show” requires is so intense. Because they’re on that topical wheel. So to see Jon leave, I felt like he must be so relieved. And I guess when he got to shoot a movie and step off that treadmill, he could just hand in his project and do the next thing.

“Demetri Martin: Live (At That Time)” is available now on Netflix.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

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Friday Talking Points — Every Sulfurous Belch

OK, I fully admit I stole that title. Well, maybe not “stole,” since I’m about to give it proper credit, but it certainly wasn’t my own original idea. The line comes from George Will, and (of course) refers to Donald Trump. Part of the fun for Democrats this summer has been watching the angst of serious-minded conservative columnists as they realize how large a portion of the Republican base doesn’t really care what serious-minded conservatives inside the Beltway think about much of anything. Will was the best (but by no means only) example of this last week, as he started his column off with a real humdinger of an opening paragraph:

Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency. After Donald Trump finishes plastering a snarling face on conservatism, any Republican nominee will face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.

Ah, c’mon George… tell us how you really feel about Trump! Heh.

The entire Trump phenomenon reminds me of a basic rule from the world of magical/fantasy fiction. It’s not quite Asimov’s “three laws of robotics,” but it’s still been used my many authors who write about wizards casting dangerous spells. The rule of thumb among wizards? “Do not call up that which you cannot put down.” Don’t summon demons or otherworldly forces if you’re not strong enough to defeat them, in other words.

You can probably see where I’m going with this, in relation to Donald Trump. The Republican Party has called up a force of nature that it is, quite obviously, completely incapable of controlling or defeating. Hey, couldn’t have happened to a nicer political party! All those decades of dog-whistle language, coded references, and wink-wink-nudge-nudge that the Republican Party has benefited from are now coming home to roost.

George Will isn’t the only one freaking out by this new reality. Bill Kristol, who is famously always wrong about pretty much everything, wrote a column this week proposing eight or nine new candidates for the Republican presidential race (the most absurd: Samuel Alito). Because, obviously, seventeen is not enough. Frank Luntz, famous Republican pollster and spin doctor, held a focus group of Trump supporters which left him (according to his own statement) weak in the knees, with his legs all a-tremble.

Of course, not everyone is horrified at Trump’s success. He just picked up the endorsement of David Duke, for whatever that’s worth. Trump also tossed out Jorge Ramos from a press conference, and called two of his supporters “passionate” after they beat a homeless man with metal pipes, in support of Trump’s position on immigrants. All the while, Trump’s numbers continue to improve in the polls, where he’s now edging towards 30 percent of all Republican primary voters. If he manages to top 35 percent, then he may become absolutely unstoppable (much to serious-minded conservatives’ collective dismay).

Some Republicans are now even contemplating rigging the primary so Trump’s name doesn’t appear on their state’s ballots. As usual, when Republicans can’t win at the polls, their fallback position is to cheat. State-level party bigwigs in Virginia and North Carolina are considering taking this route, and South Carolina already has the rule the others are contemplating — every Republican candidate must sign a “loyalty oath” to support the party’s eventual nominee and not run as an independent in the general election, or their name doesn’t appear on the primary election ballot. Obviously, these sorts of pledges are utterly unenforceable, so it’ll be interesting to see how Trump plays it. But the mere fact that the state-level party honchos are even considering this sort of thing is an accurate measure of the desperation which exists among establishment Republicans right now.

Trump continues to roil the Republican waters on the immigration issue. The other GOP candidates are being exposed as complete cowards when it comes to reacting to Trump’s grand “ship them all home” plan. Scott Walker probably stumbled the worst, as he floundered around for days trying to figure out his stance on the Fourteenth Amendment. He was for changing it, against changing it, and tried to brush the entire question off; none of which made him seem even one tiny iota presidential.

Jeb! Bush thought he might tap into some of the Trump anger by tossing around the term “anchor babies,” which was almost as spectacular a failure as Walker’s vacillation. Jeb! then tried to explain that anchor babies were really more of an Asian problem, thereby offending two minority demographics at once. Boy, it’s fun to watch the Republican “minority outreach” effort in action, isn’t it? As George Will so accurately predicted (most especially on Latino and Asian vote percentages), Republicans “face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.” Jeb! also (you just cannot make this stuff up, folks!) marked the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by releasing a new ad this week showing Jeb! standing right next to Mike “Heckuva Job” Brown, the disgraced former head of FEMA who fiddled while New Orleans drowned. As the image is shown, Bush intones: “We have the best emergency response team on the ground, in the country, and in the world.” Heckuva job, Brownie!

Over on the Democratic side of the race, there was an explosion of interest in a new candidate that might be labeled “Bidenpalooza.” Joe’s obviously seriously considering a run, and the Wall Street Journal even reported he is currently leaning towards throwing his hat in the ring. Don’t expect an announcement any time soon, though, as Biden says he’ll make a decision by the end of next month.

Bernie Sanders got a front-page story in the New York Times this week. Of course, being the mainstream media and all, it was a total hit piece full of the snarkiest language possible. It absolutely ignored Bernie’s entire message and platform (of course), and absolutely refused to analyze why so many people are flocking to support him. Cornel West just endorsed Bernie’s candidacy this week, but very few political reporters noticed, since it doesn’t fit in with their “only white liberals support Sanders” go-to storyline.

That’s enough from the campaign trail for one week. In other fun news, the oldest message-in-a-bottle ever was returned to its sender recently, after a journey of more than a century. A British scientific group sent out a thousand postcards in bottles from 1904 through 1906, to study the currents in the North Sea. A couple just found one on a German island, and sent the postcard back to the group (which still exists). The Marine Biological Association made good on the century-old promise on the card, and sent a reward of one old shilling to the couple for returning the postcard. I don’t really have any reason for including this story, but it did make me smile, in an otherwise Trump-filled week. Maybe Sting or The Police can write a song about it, or something!


Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

We’re changing the title of this award this week, because they’re not technically Democrats. So we’re handing out the Most Impressive Activist Group Of The Week to Neighborhood Legislature, for their amusing and entirely appropriate political theater in California. From the story:

A group of protesters in California took a stand against the influence of money in politics Wednesday by imagining what it would look like if lawmakers had to publicly advertise their campaign donors on their clothes à la professional stock car drivers.

The protesters placed cardboard cutouts of all 120 California state lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in front of the state capitol in Sacramento. Each legislator wore the logos of the corporations that back them in the style of NASCAR drivers’ brand-filled uniforms.

The photos alone are worth clicking that link to see.

We’ve long been an advocate of this idea, although we certainly can’t claim to have thought it up ourselves. As far back as FTP [189] (scroll down to Talking Point 7), we’ve been big fans of plastering donor logos on congresscritters and other politicians. If America is going to be run by bribery, the least we should be able to do is see who is forking over all that money to buy the politicians!

For taking this idea and running with it, and for an absolute brilliant piece of political theater, the Neighborhood Legislature is hereby awarded the Most Impressive Activist Group Of The Week. This is one of those ideas we truly wish would go viral, on a national level.

[Congratulate Neighborhood Legislature on their official webpage, to let them know you appreciate their excellent stunt.]


Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Before we get to the main award, we do have one (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week, for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for waging a silly war on boobies. Laws banning topless women from appearing in public were changed a while back in New York, and some enterprising women are using their newfound right to bare their breasts in Times Square. Among the people dressed in Elmo suits or dressed as Captain America, there are now women wearing nothing but a thong and body paint. All of these folks are there for the same reason: to separate the tourists from their money. Charging ten bucks (or whatever the traffic will bear) to appear in a photo has long been a tradition in Times Square, so this is really nothing new.

Now, Times Square does have an even older history of being a sex district with triple-X theaters and whatnot, which was all cleaned up (so as not to scare the tourists) a while back. In other words, Bill de Blasio wanting to ban topless women from Times Square isn’t happening in a vacuum. He doesn’t want a return to the “bad old days,” but at the same time he seems to be overreacting to the perceived problem. If Hizzoner truly does want to end this practice, there’s really only one acceptable way to do so: change the law back. Ban boobies everywhere. This, however, might be a political problem for him.

In fact, the whole fracas really nothing short of knee-jerk “Won’t someone think of the children!!!” overreach. You know what? I bet children who see a painted lady’s chest won’t actually be as traumatized as all the pearl-clutchers think. Bill de Blasio should have stayed out of this fight, which is why he earns a (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week.

But, for the second week in a row, Hillary Clinton is the recipient of our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week. Clinton, like all presidential candidates these days, is struggling to be heard among the thousands of “Did you hear what Trump just said?” stories. So she apparently thought she’d use some shocking language of her own, and compared her political opponents to terrorists, because (by her logic) they both treat women badly.

Where to begin? First, there are hard lines in politics that should never be crossed. You don’t call someone a traitor, for instance, under any circumstances short of them being legally accused of actually selling the country out. Another of these rules is that you don’t call a political opponent a terrorist. Clinton crossed that line, almost flippantly.

Did Clinton have a point to make? Yes she did. Planned Parenthood and abortion are about to be the focus of an enormous political battle in Washington — one that might even result in another government shutdown. The battle has already been joined, and it is going to get fierce next month. Clinton was jumping in to this fray in an admirable fashion, rather than waiting on the sidelines and mouthing vague platitudes. She’s always been a champion for women’s rights, so it is entirely within her wheelhouse.

Even so, Clinton went too far. This is American politics, folks, and terrorist groups aren’t a part of it. The Taliban is not on any American ballot, to put it another way. While there are indeed many groups and countries around the world with horrendous records on women’s rights, it really has no bearing on domestic politics.

A final point: almost all American politicians are gigantic flaming hypocrites on the issue of women’s rights around the world, including not only Hillary Clinton but everyone else running for the presidency as well. If we really want to get up on our high horse about the way the Islamic State treats women, then it would require us (if we’re not going to be gigantic flaming hypocrites) to immediately suspend all ties with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis execute people by publicly beheading them, after all, and women in their country are not even allowed to do simple things like driving on their own. They’re about to have an election where — for the first time ever — women will be allowed to vote. If our gold standard for who America remains friends with is that women’s rights be respected, then our relationship with Saudi Arabia would be the first to go. If Hillary Clinton — or anyone else for that matter — speaks disparagingly about how terrorists treat women, then we would really like to hear someone ask her what her Saudi policy would be.

So for multiple reasons, Hillary linking her political opponents with terrorists was more than a little disappointing. Just because Trump is sucking all the oxygen out of the room right now does not mean Democrats should be stooping to his level (or even lower). Clinton can fight for women’s rights as fervently as possible without making such odious comparisons. She needs to back down on this one, but for now it has earned her another Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

[Hillary Clinton is a private citizen, and our longstanding policy is not to provide contact information for candidate websites, so you’ll have to search her contact info out yourself, sorry.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 359 (8/28/15)

It’s still the Silly Season in Washington, so we don’t have a whole lot of substantive political talking points this week. When Congress returns, we’re in for a number of high-profile fights, but until then we’re just making do with what we’ve got. Just to warn everyone in advance.


   Making America Grate

Every so often, we are so struck by a clever turn of phrase that we have to give it a standalone talking point. This is one of those times, as Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post ran an article this week under the best headline we’ve yet seen to describe the Trump phenomenon — a play on Trump’s own campaign slogan. It’s a cheap pun, but that doesn’t make it any less funny:

How Donald Trump Makes America Grate


   From denial to anger

This framing of the Trump situation is likely going to appear again and again, but Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post gets credit for being the first to point it out.

“The Republican Party seems to be destined to go through the classic ‘five stages of grief’ as they come to grips with Donald Trump’s success. Most establishment Republicans are still in the first stage, denial. Some have already moved on to anger — the second stage. I mean, did you read George Will’s ‘every sulfurous belch’ column this week? The third stage is going to be problematic, since it is bargaining — and Trump is a notoriously tough bargainer. This will inevitably lead to depression, and sooner or later to the final stage, acceptance. You might call it the grief of watching the Republican Party die, right in front of their eyes.”


   Strong growth

This is one to hit Jeb! with, in particular.

“Jeb Bush is running on a promise to achieve four percent growth in America’s economy. I wonder if he saw the most recent numbers, which showed the economy grew 3.7 percent in the second quarter of this year? Seems like President Obama’s doing almost as well as what Bush is promising, which reminds me of Mitt Romney’s promise to get unemployment down to six percent before 2016. Remember that one? Obama managed to achieve that in about half the time Romney promised. Seems like Republicans can’t even promise they’ll handle the American economy as well as Democrats routinely do in the real world.”


   $ 200 million and counting

Data to use in other state-level legalization fights.

“Colorado and Washington have so far taken in over two hundred million dollars in marijuana tax revenue. We don’t yet have data for Alaska and Oregon, but you can bet they’re raking in millions as well. By legalizing recreational marijuana use, these states have turned a big drag on their state budgets — policing, prisons, clogged courtrooms, and all the rest of it — into a huge asset. I’m sure there are other state governments out there who are paying attention. The success of legalization continues to benefit the states which have implemented it. $ 200 million ain’t exactly pocket change.”


   President Barack Obama Highway

This is going to be lots of fun for Democrats, for years to come.

“I see that Riviera Beach, Florida just voted to change the name of a road from ‘Old Dixie Highway’ to ‘President Barack Obama Highway.’ Personally, I can’t think of a better way to get rid of institutionalized racist memorials than to rename them after the first African-American president. In fact, I would bet that after Obama’s term in office ends, there will be a lot more things named after him all across America. Call it the revenge of Democrats after the orgy of naming so many things after Ronald Reagan a few years back.”


   Maybe Amazon will step in

This one is pretty funny.

“Among the many creative uses of drone aircraft we can now add their use to deliver banned things inside prison walls. An attempt was made in Maryland recently to fly in some drugs and pornography aboard a drone. While this attempt was foiled, it seems such an obvious use of new technology that we’ll likely see more and more of these attempts in the near future. How exactly are the cops going to keep the skies over prisons clear of drones? Skeet shooting?”


   Jade Helm invasion a total flop

This qualifies as rubbing salt in the wound, really.

“I notice that the predicted invasion of Texas by the United States military seems not to have materialized. It wasn’t so long ago that the Texas governor was issuing dire warnings of the nefarious intent of America’s own military in carrying out an exercise called ‘Jade Helm 15,’ which did nothing but stoke paranoid delusions within the state. Well, the summer’s drawing to a close and I still haven’t seen one headline about the Army taking over Texas, or confiscating everyone’s guns, or rounding up its citizens for concentration camps, or any of the rest of the nonsense the rightwingers were spouting not so long ago. If Jade Helm really was a planned invasion of Texas, I have to say it’s been a total flop so far.”


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Friday Talking Points — Trump’s Immigration Roundup

Another week has gone by, and Donald Trump remains the Republican frontrunner in the presidential nomination race. We’ve noticed that all the inside-the-Beltway pundits who so confidently predicted Trump’s imminent and inevitable downfall are now slowly starting to revisit their predictions. This is making them extremely nervous, of course. Some are still finding solace in the “Trump’s going to say something any day now that will sink him like a stone” way of thinking, but their numbers are getting smaller as time goes by and Trump defies political gravity once again.

Last weekend, Trump released his very first policy paper. It was, naturally, on immigration (Trump’s signature issue). Reduced to tweet-length, this policy could be summed up as: “Build a big wall. Repeal birthright citizenship and 14th amendment. Round them all up and send them home.” Of course, it was immediately popular with all of Trump’s supporters.

The rest of the Republican presidential field, once again, was caught scrambling to respond. All of the other Republicans running for the highest office in the land routinely quake in their boots whenever Trump opens his mouth, because nobody’s yet come up with any great ideas as to how to respond. Take Trump on directly? That hasn’t worked out so well for the three notable candidates who have tried it (Rand Paul, Rick Perry, and Lindsey Graham), who are all polling below five percent. Agree with Trump no matter what comes out of his mouth (in the hopes of picking up all his supporters if he stumbles)? That’s working pretty well for Ted Cruz, which is why Scott Walker is now giving it a try. Ignore him completely? That’s what Jeb! Bush would really like to do, but again this hasn’t worked out so well for him (as he watched his own poll numbers sink into single digits).

So far, most of the candidates have at least tentatively supported parts of Trump’s immigration plan. More and more of them are just throwing up their hands and saying “OK, let’s build a giant wall, what the heck.” This week, at least half of the Republican field has expressed support for overturning birthright citizenship, which would require an amendment to the United States Constitution (since it’s expressly part of the Constitution, in the Fourteenth Amendment). This is now the default Republican position, in fact. I guess conservatives only revere certain parts of the Constitution, even though they all carry a copy around with them in their pocket, as a talisman.

Jeb! Bush once again proved he is just as clumsy at being a politician as his brother, in response to Trump. Jeb! was trying to distance himself from Trump’s position on birthright citizenship, but then he royally stepped in it by using the phrase “anchor babies.” When called on the offensiveness of the term, Bush doubled down and tried to defend it, while he tried to channel some sort of weak-tea version of Trump taking on political correctness. “Anchor babies,” Bush said, is a term Democrats use, to beat up on Republicans. He didn’t explain how Democrats can only do so after Republicans use the term, of course. But watching him flounder around answering all the questions must be painful for all those folks who have already tossed over $ 100 million into Bush’s campaign chest. This is really the guy who is going to vanquish Trump? Hey, good luck with that, Establishment Republicans!

Outside the presidential race, the rabid Republicans on the airwaves are pushing the issue even harder than Trump (hard as that is to even imagine). One radio host is essentially calling not just for repealing the Fourteenth Amendment, but also that pesky Thirteenth Amendment as well — you know, the one that outlaws slavery. Seriously. His position is to give all undocumented immigrants a 60-day warning, and then round them up and stick them in concentration camps. They would then “become property of the state,” after which the state would “start to extort or exploit or indenture” their labor. When a caller pointed out that it “sounds an awful lot like slavery,” the host responded: “Well, what’s wrong with slavery?”

Yes, this is the state of the Republican Party today, brought to you by none other than Donald Trump. Mitt Romney winning 27 percent of the Latino vote may turn out to be a high point for the party, which could put the White House out of Republicans’ reach for the foreseeable future, at least until they purge this sort of nativist nonsense from their ranks. Which doesn’t seem likely any time soon, of course. Things are probably going to get a lot worse before they get any better.

In other amusing news from the Republican campaign trail, Bobby Jindal has apparently been reduced to showing Planned Parenthood videos to crowds on his lawn (no, really), and Marco Rubio hit a kid in the face with a football (which was, of course, caught on camera for everyone’s amusement).

We’re going to skip over the Democratic campaign trail news for the moment, because we are going to address it all in the awards sections.

President Obama is spending his summer whipping (and counting) congressional votes for his Iran nuclear deal. When Congress returns from their excessive six-week summer vacation, they’ll be voting whether to disapprove the deal or not. If they put such a disapproval on Obama’s desk, he’ll need to defeat a veto override in at least one house of Congress for the deal to go through. Most Washington wonks think he’ll be able to clear this bar, but there is even one interesting possibility few have yet noticed: Obama may not even have to veto anything, because Republicans may not be able to pass it in the Senate. There are currently 54 Republicans in the Senate, plus two Democrats who have said they’ll vote their disapproval of the deal. But 60 votes will be needed, meaning Republicans still need four more Democrats. As of right now, there are 13 Democratic senators who have not indicated either their support for the deal or their disapproval. If 10 of them ultimately vote to support Obama, then the disapproval bill will die in the Senate, and no veto will even be necessary. It’s a fairly long shot at the moment, but the possibility does exist. As we get closer to the vote, we’ll be paying a lot more attention to the whip counts, pro and con.

And finally, in amusing marijuana news, Novak Djokovic — ranked number one in the world of tennis — had to complain to the umpire in not just one but two recent matches in Montreal. His problem? The clouds of pot smoke drifting over the court. From the story:

“Somebody’s getting high,” he says to a smiling umpire. “No, honestly… The whole stadium smells.”

Djokovic later makes a toking gesture as if he were holding a joint.

Who knew Canadian tennis fans were such stoners? C’mon, guys — bring a brownie to the match instead, eh?


Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

We’ve got two Honorable Mention awards to hand out before we get to the main event. Both of these go to Democratic presidential candidates, for different reasons.

First up, we have Martin O’Malley, who deserves credit for his plan to expand Social Security, rather than cut it or raise the retirement age. His plan might be called a timid version of the “scrap the cap” idea, since he would impose Social Security payroll taxes on incomes above $ 250,000 for the first time — which would go a long way towards ending the regressive nature of this tax (which I detailed, with charts, a few years ago). O’Malley is to be applauded for being so specific in his plan, and for beginning to address the problem of the income cap on the payroll tax. However, his plan leaves a “doughnut hole” between roughly $ 120,000 of income and $ 250,000. So someone making $ 10 million a year would pay roughly the same tax rate as a nurse or a firefighter, but someone making $ 250,000 a year would pay less than half that rate. There’s no real mathematical reason for this regressive doughnut hole, but there is a political one — the portion of Americans making between $ 100,000 and $ 250,000 a year is one of the biggest groups who donate money to politicians. That’s really the only reason for leaving such a hole in what by all rights should be — at the very least — a flat tax rate on all income. Still, O’Malley’s plan goes further than other candidates have committed to, so he does deserve some applause.

I wrote about this earlier in the week, but Hillary Clinton deserves at least an Honorable Mention for how she answered the Black Lives Matter protesters (the video of their meeting was publicly released this week). Clinton pretty much agrees with the group in principle and goes out of her way to validate their positions, but she also challenges them to come up with some solid policy proposals that Democratic politicians can get behind. Clinton did an excellent job being both respectful and pragmatic, at least in our opinion.

Which brings us to the winner of the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. We’re not entirely sure this is within the boundaries of our own rules (since they don’t exactly claim party membership), but rules are made to be bent at times. But the Black Lives Matter folks have finally come up with a very solid and reasonable policy platform (call it an “agenda” or a “list of demands” or whatever else, if you’d like).

The policy agenda is called Campaign Zero and includes such things as requiring body cameras on all police, better police training, and much stronger community oversight of all police. The list is an excellent one, and the policies should be embraced by all Democratic candidates for president as well as all progressive voters.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been controversial on the campaign trail, notably for disrupting Democratic presidential candidates by taking over speeches. They’ve always had a brilliant tactic, in the world of political theater. After all, they’re protesting police violence against black people, so what are Democrats supposed to do — call in the cops to physically remove Black Lives Matter from their speeches? That would reinforce the point the activists are making, and it would make the candidate look bad. It’s a “Catch-22” sort of tactic, because neither siccing the cops on them nor allowing them to completely hijack a campaign event is a very good outcome.

But what they’ve been missing, even with such a brilliant tactic, is any sort of overall strategy. Sure, you can grab the microphone and address the crowd, but if all you do after being given the microphone is to insult your audience and the candidate, then you’re not going to gain much support. Many people (I am one of them, for the record) have called on Black Lives Matter to come up with an agenda so that their natural allies — Democratic politicians and the Democratic base — can support the movement in a concrete way, instead of just being annoyed by their tactics.

This is precisely the point Hillary Clinton was making in the video, and we are glad to see Black Lives Matter respond in such a constructive and forward-looking fashion. This is part of what killed Occupy Wall Street — not being able to agree on much of any plan for change — and we firmly believe that the Black Lives Movement will find that their movement will in no way be limited by having a clear agenda, but in fact that it will grow as more and more people agree with and openly support the items listed by Campaign Zero.

So, whether they identify as Democrats or not, the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement who put together Campaign Zero are more than worthy of this week’s Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award.

[Contact the Campaign Zero website to show your support.]


Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Hillary Clinton had a rough week. Perhaps we’re guilty of piling on, but we’re going to add a Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week to her problems.

Much like Donald Trump, the Hillary Clinton email server scandal is not going away any time soon. We’ve still got months of drip, drip, drip, as each new group of emails is released to the media and each development with the server itself plays out. The F.B.I. now has Hillary’s server as well as the backup her lawyer had been holding onto for her. As many have pointed out, “F.B.I. investigation” is not something any political candidate wants to see in the headlines, while running for office.

Clinton, so far, hasn’t done a very good job of addressing the issue, either. She held a very brief presser, got into a spat with a Fox News reporter, tried a silly joke to brush the whole thing off, and then left after about five minutes. The Washington Post has a rundown of five mistakes Clinton made during this appearance, but they missed one big one. You might call it “orange is the new orange.”

Now, we realize (before we even explain that) that politicians shouldn’t really be criticized on how they look in the first place, and in the second place, female politicians especially shouldn’t be subject to snark about what they’re wearing. Hillary Clinton has faced this time and time again. Still, whose idea was it to have Hillary Clinton appear in front of the press to answer questions about an F.B.I. investigation wearing the same shade of orange as prison jumpsuits? That is just breathtaking sartorial stupidity.

Hillary Clinton needs to take a few days off from campaigning. She needs to go on a retreat with her husband, in fact. During this time, Bill should coach Hillary relentlessly on how to successfully brush a political issue aside. There’s a reason why Barack Obama joked at the 2012 Democratic National Convention that he should appoint Bill Clinton “Secretary of Explainin’ Stuff.” He is a master at it, in fact — the best America has seen since Ronald Reagan. And Hillary — obviously — needs a little coaching from Bill on how to handle these things.

Start by laying out your viewpoint of the situation, in as simple terms as you can manage. Explain the motivations of those making claims of scandal. Then end with a rhetorical flourish in an attempt to lay the issue to rest. Hillary tried to do so, with her “wipe it down with a cloth” joke, but it fell awfully flat. She needs a lot of practice with Bill, and her campaign should devote a few days to it. Lock them both in a cabin in the woods, and let Bill school Hillary on how to deal with scandal and crisis. At this point, it couldn’t hurt.

There are many Democrats — even some Bernie Sanders supporters — who feel deep down that Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and has a clear path to the White House next year. They just wish she was campaigning for it better, that’s all. Team Clinton has got to learn to shift gears smoother and how to respond quicker. Clinton proved she’s got a long way to go this week, which is why she’s getting the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

[Hillary Clinton is a private citizen, and we have a longstanding policy of not linking to campaign websites, so you’ll have to search her contact page on your own to let her know what you think, sorry.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 358 (8/21/15)

The talking points this week were influenced, once again, by Donald Trumps magical mystery campaign, which sooner or later we’re just going to stop apologizing for. Hey, he is the Republican frontrunner!

We’ve got a few others mixed in, and two hilarious ones at the end, because we thought everybody could use a laugh after the past week of presidential politics.


   I support Campaign Zero

This one’s easy, for both Democratic candidates and voters.

“I strongly support the positive and constructive agenda Black Lives Matter has laid out, which they’re calling Campaign Zero. Their list has many excellent policy ideas which should be enacted at both the state and federal level. All police should have body cameras, because seeing is believing when it comes to what actually happens in confrontations. Police should be required to get much better training for conflict resolution, so the most violent response at their disposal isn’t always their first choice. There are many such ideas contained in the Campaign Zero platform, and I call on all Democrats to not only endorse this agenda but also to immediately begin working as hard as possible on enacting these changes across the United States.”


   Anchor babies!

To her credit, Hillary Clinton led in pushing back against Bush’s slip of the tongue.

“I’m sorry, but Jeb Bush was supposed to be some sort of moderate guy on both immigration and Latino issues. He’s married to a Mexican-American, after all, and speaks fluent Spanish. Previously, he has called for Republicans to avoid being intentionally offensive and to speak of immigrants in non-inflammatory terms. He used to be a voice of reason in a crowd of extremists. I guess now that his poll numbers are sinking like a rock, he’s decided that offending Latinos is the way to go. If Jeb’s not sure whether the term ‘anchor babies’ is offensive or not, I would suggest he ask a few members of his own family what they think about it.”


   Selective constitutional worship

This, from politicians who swear up and down their fealty to the Constitution?

“In the entire history of the United States, we have only ever amended the Constitution to restrict rights a single time — and Prohibition eventually had to be repealed by another amendment. Now Donald Trump and most of the rest of the Republicans running for president have come out in favor of overturning the Fourteenth Amendment because they don’t like one phrase in it. This amendment was passed because racists were insisting that people born in the United States — ex-slaves — were not citizens and therefore could never vote. Republicans today want to make it impossible for undocumented immigrants ever to be eligible for citizenship for the exact same reason — they never want these people to ever have a vote. And now they’re attacking the Constitution itself to ensure that only those children born on American soil whom they deem acceptable can be citizens. To do so, we’d have to pass only the second amendment to the Constitution to ever deny rights rather than expand them. This is just a bad idea all around.”


   Round them up? Really?

Pro-big government rears its ugly head in Republicanland, once again.

“So I see that Donald Trump is in favor of the biggest expansion of federal power ever, because his ’round them up and ship them home’ plan to deal with undocumented immigrants would change American society forever. We’d have to create an enormous federal police force who would then go around knocking on every door in American and demand to see ‘your papers, please.’ Those without proof of citizenship would be forcibly rounded up and shipped out. Experts estimate this effort — should any Congress be stupid enough to enact it — would take hundreds of billions of dollars and have to last at least two decades. So Trump is in favor of spending an enormous amount of money to pay for jack-booted federal agents to round everyone up and ship them off, by knocking on every door in the country. Sounds like an explosion of ‘big government’ and creating an enormous federal army to be used for domestic purposes to me. Funny, I always thought Republicans were against those things, on ideological grounds.”


   Rapists’ baby support

At times, we are accused of creating talking points that are nothing short of hyperbole. Last week, we ran one that might have fit into that category (scroll down to talking point number five). We’re going to repeat this talking point this week, with the addition of Mike Huckabee’s name, since he has now openly admitted exactly the attitude the talking point was referring to.

“An 11-year-old girl just gave birth in Paraguay. She was 10 when she was raped by her stepfather, but the government denied her mother’s request she be allowed an abortion. These are the real-world consequences of the position taken by many Republican presidential candidates, including Mike Huckabee. They want to outlaw abortion even in the case of rape and incest. That leads directly to 11-year-olds having to bear their stepfather’s child after being raped. Mike Huckabee openly admitted that he wants to see that sort of thing here. He actually said: ‘Let nobody be misled, a 10-year-old girl being raped is horrible, but does it solve a problem by taking the life of an innocent child?’ Yes, 11-year-old mothers forced to deal with their rapist’s baby for the rest of their lives is exactly what we can expect if Huckabee ever got his way on outlawing all abortion. No rape victim should ever be forced to bear her rapist’s baby. No 10-year-old should have to carry a baby to term against her will. Yet that is exactly what happens when abortion is outlawed.”


   Deez Nuts for president!

We normally wrap these up with one amusing final talking point. This week, we’re going to do two instead, just because.

“Have you seen the recent polling? A fake candidate named ‘Deez Nuts’ is polling at a surprisingly high level among voters. For some unfathomable reason a few state-level polls included ‘Deez Nuts’ in a few of the questions they asked poll respondents about, and he’s now getting nine percent in North Carolina, eight percent in Minnesota, and seven percent in Iowa! As the candidate explains: ‘I am a 15-year-old who filled out a form, had the campaign catch on fire, and am now putting up the best third-party numbers since Ross Perot.’ Right now his poll numbers are better than most of the Republican field, in fact. In a year when Donald Trump is the frontrunner, somehow it seems entirely appropriate that ‘Deez Nuts’ should be approaching second place in the race, don’t you think?”


   Limberbutt McCubbins for president!

And finally, one from the Democratic side.

“Deez Nuts isn’t the only amusing candidate out there. A self-proclaimed ‘Demo-cat’ feline candidate has also thrown his furry hat into the ring. That’s right, Limberbutt McCubbins is running for president, on a platform that includes legalizing both catnip and gay cat marriages. His campaign website and Facebook page boast some catchy campaign slogans, including ‘Meow is the time’ and ‘Together we cat.’ His owner states the main reason Limberbutt entered the race: ‘Me and my friends have begun to realize how easy it is to run for office, and have learned about the way the F.E.C. and campaign finance work. Not that we don’t want anyone to run, but I personally don’t think that if I’m applying to run for the most important position in the U.S.A., that I should be able to do it in 20 minutes. Or less.’ I don’t know about that, but I do know that if it came down to Limberbutt McCubbins in the general election, I’d certainly vote for Limberbutt over a lot of the hairballs running on the other side.”


Chris Weigant blogs at:

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China’s iQiyi to Show ‘Talking to Hollywood With Betty Zhou’

The show, which covers the glossy, glitzy side of Hollywood, is a first in China.

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Friday Talking Points — The Rehabilitation of Golf in the GOP

We’re going to begin today with a wrapup of the week that was in the presidential campaigns, and as befitting his status as the Republican frontrunner, we’re going to start with Donald Trump (if you’re sick of hearing about Trump, just skip down eight or ten paragraphs and continue reading).

Trump is helicoptering in to the Iowa State Fair today, so perhaps he’ll have said something even more outrageous by the time you read this. Hey, it’s a pretty safe bet, at this point. Trump once again proved this week that he can say just about anything — even stuff the Republican base violently disagrees with him on — and walk away unscathed. This time around, Trump actually said (at least at first) some fairly nice things about Planned Parenthood. Right now, in Republicanland, this is heresy of the first order (more on this in a moment). But, so far, it doesn’t seem to have hurt Trump.

In the “Trump fighting with other Republican candidate” news, we have an amusing quote from Lindsey Graham: “Donald Trump is an out-of-control car driving through a crowd of Republicans, and somebody needs to get him out of the car. I just don’t see a pathway forward for us in 2016 to win the White House if we don’t decisively deal with this.” Hoo boy. That’s bad enough, but a bigger fracas happened between Trump and Rand Paul. It started with an ad the Paul team created, which hammered Trump for essentially being a Democrat up until he decided to run.

Trump has learned a thing or two about running for the Republican nomination, and he responded by anointing himself Ronald Reagan. He went on to insult Rand Paul’s golf game, and predicted Trump would “even more easily beat him now, in the world in the politics [sic].” Trump ends with an amusing gibe:

I feel sorry for the great people of Kentucky who are being used as a back up to Senator Paul’s hopeless attempt to become President of the United States — weak on the military, Israel, the Vets and many other issues. Senator Paul has no chance of wining [sic] the nomination and the people of Kentucky should not allow him the privilege of remaining their Senator. Rand should save his lobbyist’s and special interest money and just go quietly home.

Rand’s campaign is a total mess, and as a matter of fact, I didn’t know he had anybody left in his campaign to make commercials who are not currently under indictment!

Paul’s team ignored the burn on “currently under indictment” (Trump was, for once, being snarkily factual here) and shot back by trying to out-Reagan Trump. Then they whined that the golf game in question was “on [Trump’s] home course that he plays often.” Paul’s spokesman also tries to burn Trump back, falling back on the “you couldn’t think your way out of a paper bag” argument:

Donald Trump couldn’t set the intellectual conservative agenda of anything, not even the tiniest rooms, never mind a country. He is devoid of ideas other than he likes the idea of power and getting attention for foolish statements and bluster.

Can’t wait to see round two of this dustup, personally!

Jeb! made some news this week, both by signaling that torture may be coming back to America if he becomes president (a position other Republicans are also staking out), and also by insisting that “taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal.” A pretty good deal? Really? Wow. Bush is still having a lot of trouble distancing himself from his own brother, apparently. The one issue Jeb! should have been prepared to address — Dubya’s legacy — is still causing Jeb! problems. Maybe he’ll have figured it out by the time he gets questioned about it in a debate.

There was some bad news for Chris Christie this week, as a poll showed a majority of New Jersey’s voters are annoyed that Christie is spending all his time running for president and not governing the state. Christie has spent 26 of the past 43 days on the campaign trail (and not in New Jersey), leading one media outlet to create “The Christie Tracker” so his voters can see where their governor is spending his time. Fifty-four percent of the people in New Jersey now want Christie to resign.

Rick Perry also had to admit this week that his campaign is so low on funds that he can’t meet the payroll. And we all know nothing lifts donor confidence like running out of money and halting paychecks for staffers!

Ben Carson, who has come out strongly against Planned Parenthood, apparently did some medical research using aborted fetuses a while back. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the other Republicans bring this up during a debate, now that Carson’s numbers are improving (especially in Iowa). But the biggest prize for hypocrisy among the Republicans this week was Ted Cruz, who created an ad to show how outraged he was at the whole fetal research thing. An announcer intones: “For a century, Americans have helped heal and care for millions in need,” while black-and-white historical images appear of people with polio. The polio vaccine — which won the researchers the 1954 Nobel Prize in medicine — was developed using fetal tissues. So, according to Cruz, we should all happily go back to the days when polio was a scourge? Is that what he’s saying? I’m confused.

And, just to send a chill down Republicans’ backs who aren’t already mentally frostbitten at the thought of an independent Trump run, Jesse Ventura just hinted that he might mount his own independent bid for the presidency — unless Trump’s the GOP candidate and names Jesse Ventura as his running mate. And you thought the race couldn’t get any more entertaining! “Trump/Ventura” — there’s something to whisper to conservatives to make them shriek.

Things are a bit unsettled over on the Democratic side of things as well. Hillary Clinton’s emails are going to provide a steady drip, drip, drip for months to come. We already knew this, but each time it hits the headlines must be taking a toll on her campaign. To be fair, Clinton has been criticized for months for “not releasing specifics” on her agenda, but even when she did so (she rolled out a plan to make higher education more affordable this week), the media couldn’t be bothered with it and just went ahead and ran all the email stories instead. Again, with the staggered release of the emails, the investigation, and the upcoming congressional hearing for Hillary, prepare yourself for a lot more drip, drip, drip.

Some in the media are having a lot fun with “what other Democrat could run” stories. Joe Biden is thinking things over while on vacation. Not content with the slow-moving nature of that story, this week Al Gore’s name was even briefly floated as a possible savior of the nomination, should Hillary crumble.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is pulling in larger and larger crowds. They’re spilling out the doors, in fact. Sanders did a run down the West Coast and pulled in over 15,000 in Seattle, then followed it up by pulling in over 25,000 people in both Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles. The Washington Post pointed out that Bernie’s crowds are massively bigger than anyone else running for president, to the tune of over 100,000 total in recent weeks.

And yet still it seems like Bernie only gets talked about in the media when the Black Lives Matter folks interrupt him. Black Lives Matter, it should be said, has started branching out of late. This is to their credit, because the first three candidates they interrupted were Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, and then Bernie Sanders again. This week, however, Black Lives Matter people were turned away at a Hillary town hall (and later got to meet with her), and did manage to disrupt a Jeb! Bush public event. Bush tried to say he had met with the Black Lives Matter protestors, but later this turned out not to be true. This even-handedness by Black Lives Matter towards the candidates is to be applauded, because many were asking why they haven’t set their sights on anyone but Sanders.

There was quite a bit of marijuana news last week, including the tantalizing possibility that William Shakespeare might have enjoyed a toke or two while writing (the evidence is admittedly thin, but even so, “Shakespeare the stoner” is a fun concept to contemplate). In more serious news, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy released a paper which comprehensively analyzes 13 common beliefs about marijuana (such as the “gateway drug” label), and whether any science actually backs them up or not. The full report [PDF] is available, as well as a summary of the findings.

Ohio may make the leap from having no legal medical or recreational marijuana to having both, as a legalization ballot measure has now qualified for this year’s election. This effort has split marijuana reform advocates, because it was financed by the owners of ten farms, which would become the only legal places to grow marijuana in the state if it passes. A market of over 11 million people will be supplied by ten farms. There’s a word for that, and it’s called “oligopoly.” I discussed the political pros and cons of the Ohio effort yesterday in greater detail, for those interested.

And finally, we have the story of a woman in Texas who was essentially sexually assaulted by police officers at the side of the road, because one of them “smelled marijuana.” This is one of the most brutal examples of the damage the War On Weed is doing to society, and should be mandatory reading for anyone still on the fence.

A cop in Texas pulled Charnesia Corley (a young African-American woman) over “for allegedly running a Stop sign.” He then thought he smelled marijuana. He handcuffed her, stuck her in his cruiser, and searched her car for an hour. He found nothing. So he called in a female officer to conduct a body cavity search by the side of the road. When this officer pulled down Corley’s pants (while she was still handcuffed), Corley protested. Here’s what happened next:

Then, according to [Corley’s lawyer, Sam] Cammack, Corley stood up and protested, so the deputy threw her to the ground and restrained her while another female was called in to assist. When backup arrived, each deputy held one of Corley’s legs apart to conduct the probe.

So, a woman was forcibly held down and vaginally probed — by the side of the road — by police officers, because one cop thought he smelled marijuana. A spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff’s Department stated “the deputies did everything as they should.” In Texas, possession of less than four ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor, it bears pointing out.

The astounding thing is that Texas actually just passed a law to make such searches prohibited without a warrant. They had to pass this law because Corley is, sadly, not the only person this has happened to. Unfortunately for Corley, the law doesn’t take effect until next month.

So for anyone who wonders why we’ve been such strong advocates for ending the War On Weed, this is Exhibit A. This is what it does to cops. If they hadn’t been cops, they would be in jail right now awaiting trial on charges of forcible rape. Because they are cops, such charges will never be brought against them.

That is why the War On Weed needs to end. Because people’s constitutional rights and basic human rights are being abused on a daily basis, until the War On Weed is over.


Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Two Honorable Mention awards are in order this week, the first going to Secretary of State John Kerry who just this morning watched the American flag rise over our embassy in Havana, Cuba. When historians look back on Obama’s legacy, opening up Cuba is going to figure prominently. Kerry became the first American secretary of state to visit Cuba since F.D.R.’s time.

Democrats in Virginia are also to be commended, for attempting to break the gerrymandering logjam in the state. Perhaps if they worked together with the politicians across the Potomac River? The Huffington Post has the story on how Maryland and Virginia could balance out each other’s efforts politically.

But this week’s Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week is, once again, Bernie Sanders. Bernie got crowds of over 25,000 people in back-to-back cities. This is fourteen months from the election, folks. That is simply astounding.

The size and enthusiasm of Bernie’s audiences is absolutely unparalleled. No other candidate (to our knowledge) has managed an audience that has even topped the 10,000 mark yet. That’s in either party, too. Many candidates struggle to top one thousand people, in fact. Yet Bernie’s getting over 25,000.

Bernie also hit a milestone this week as he topped Hillary Clinton by seven points in a poll from New Hampshire. Of course, Bernie’s from right next door in Vermont, but he’s doing pretty well in Iowa too. Iowa has a caucus system, which favors candidates with a lot of energy and enthusiasm behind them. Hillary Clinton learned this in 2008, as Obama cleaned up in the caucus states. If Bernie Sanders somehow took both Iowa and New Hampshire, it would be a serious body blow to Hillary’s campaign.

I keep waiting for the mainstream media to stop either ignoring Sanders or dismissing him as “the Donald Trump of the left,” and start reporting on what is making people so excited. Bernie has an agenda. His agenda is resonating with a whole lot of people — people who don’t care whether the inside-the-Beltway crowd labels it “socialism” or “hard left” or “radical” or even “not serious.” Sooner or later the pundits are going to wake up to what is drawing people in to hear Bernie speak.

In the meantime, we’re awarding Bernie Sanders his 11th Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. Maybe Sanders won’t go all the way. Maybe he’ll follow the path of Vermont’s Howard Dean. But until he does, he’s certainly the one driving the discussion on the Democratic side. And for that, he deserves some overdue credit.

[Congratulate Senator Bernie Sanders on his Senate contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

We’re not even sure she’s a Democrat (although it’s a pretty safe assumption to make), but we’re giving this week’s Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy.

The E.P.A. royally screwed the pooch this week. There’s simply no other way to put it. The E.P.A. wanted to declare an abandoned mine in Colorado a Superfund site. The locals objected, saying it would be bad for tourism. So the E.P.A. backed down and instead sent their own people in to begin cleaning the mine up. They blew it, and released a flood of water contaminated with arsenic, lead, and cadmium into the Animas River.

The post-spill handling by the E.P.A. has generated a lot of complaints, but although this was a tragic accident with devastating environmental consequences, it was caused by the E.P.A. itself. Gina McCarthy did finally apologize for the response and for the spill, but this is of little comfort to those in the area who are going to be drinking bottled water for a long time to come — including a major Native American reservation.

So while her apology is appreciated, it does not save E.P.A. chief Gina McCarthy from being awarded the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week.

[Contact Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy via her E.P.A. contact page, to let her know what you think of her actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 357 (8/14/15)

A varied bunch this week. Two of these get quite dark, since they deal with the subject of sexual assault. Actually, we’ve got more than a few items this week that are fairly heavy, even the snarky one at the end. Oh, well, it’s been that kind of week.

Use responsibly, as always.


   More good Obamacare news

Democrats really should be trumpeting the good news on Obamacare, mainly because there’s so much of it to trumpet.

“More Obamacare data was recently released, and all the news was good, once again. According to the National Health Interview Survey, the rate of uninsured Americans is now below 10 percent for the first time ever. More and more people are taking advantage of being able to sign up for Obamacare when they go through major life changes as well. And, no surprise, Obamacare is doing a whole lot better at reducing the number of uninsured in the states where it was fully implemented. Millions of people are being denied coverage solely because Republican governors and state legislatures hate the word ‘Obamacare.’ I hope the voters in those states take note, the next time they vote. One party wants them to have health insurance. One party does not, for purely political reasons.”


   Listen to the generals

This one really needs pointing out, forcefully. Turn a Republican attack line around!

“Whenever Republicans want to complain about Democrats not being sufficiently warlike, they always use one refrain: ‘listen to the generals.’ Well, now that three dozen retired generals and admirals have written a letter in favor of Obama’s Iran deal, we would like to ask Republicans who are opposed why they are not now ‘listening to the generals.’ These highly respected military men make a strong argument that the Iran nuclear deal is a good deal for America, for the military, and for the world. They’re worth listening to.”


   Bush’s SOFA

Don’t let Jeb! get away with this historical revisionism.

“I thought it was hilarious to hear Jeb Bush blame his brother’s failures on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the other day. Jeb says that Obama blew it on Iraq because he brought all the troops home. If only some troops had stayed, according to Jeb, the Islamic State never would have happened. Except for, you know, the fact that the Status Of Forces Agreement that was signed with Iraq’s prime minister — the agreement which specified not only that all American troops would withdraw but also the schedule they would follow — was actually signed by Jeb’s brother. There’s a reason why no troops stayed in Iraq, and that reason is that even George W. Bush couldn’t convince the Iraqi leader he had installed to keep any troops there. Period. Jeb is criticizing Obama for following Dubya’s lead on the issue.”


   This woman was reportedly sexually assaulted

Back to the cops in Texas…

“Charnesia Corley is an African-American woman in Texas who [felt like she] was raped by the side of the road. By the police. Because one cop thought, when he pulled her over, that he smelled marijuana, she was forcibly given a full body cavity search by two deputies by the side of the road. No warrant, no privacy, just a disgusting abuse of power. Possessing less than four ounces of marijuana is only a misdemeanor in Texas, and yet the cops feel justified in such reprehensible violations of human rights to fight the scourge of the evil weed. There is no getting around the facts of this story, which should be told to anyone who argues for the continuation of the War On Weed. A young African-American woman was [reportedly] raped by the side of the road by cops in Texas. And my guess is they’ll never be charged with any crime for doing so. According to the Sheriff’s Department, ‘the deputies did everything as they should.’ That’s just wrong, and that is why the marijuana laws need changing everywhere.”


   Republicans want headlines like this one

This is disgraceful, but this is the world Republicans want to see here. So point it out!

“An 11-year-old girl just gave birth in Paraguay. She was 10 when she was raped by her stepfather, but the government denied her mother’s request she be allowed an abortion. These are the real-world consequences of the position taken by many Republican presidential candidates. They want to outlaw abortion even in the case of rape and incest. That leads directly to 11-year-olds having to bear their stepfather’s child after being raped. Republicans want to see that sort of thing here, because those are the headlines we can expect if they ever got their way on outlawing all abortion. No rape victim should ever be forced to bear her rapist’s baby. No 10-year-old should carry a baby to term. Yet that is exactly what happens when abortion is outlawed.”


   One for the road

Last week, we optimistically promised we’d only have one Trump talking point per week. Well, one week later we find this too constricting already, so we’ve got two this week.

“Lindsey Graham said this week that ‘Donald Trump is an out-of-control car driving through a crowd of Republicans, and somebody needs to get him out of the car.’ Problem is, Republicans are too late to do so. Expanding Graham’s metaphor, the Republican Party spent long hours at the bar drinking heavily, while agreeing with every yahoo in the bar about everything, and then when one of them wanted to drive home the Republicans bought him one stiff drink for the road, before handing him his car keys and staggering out to the parking lot with him, to make sure he could find his car. And now they want to complain about the resulting carnage? That’s pretty funny, because the wave Trump is riding has been fully enabled by the Republican Party for years now.”


   Golf OK to talk about

I guess golf’s out of the doghouse. Or something.

“Remember when Republicans were going apoplectic because Barack Obama played some golf? C’mon, it wasn’t that long ago, surely you remember all the snide comments! I see now that golf has regained respectability within the Republican Party… at least when two white guys are playing. Donald Trump bragged he ‘easily beat’ and (just to rub it in) that he ‘trounced’ Rand Paul on the golf course. Paul’s spokesman whined back that it was Trump’s home course so he had an advantage. Not a word was spoken about the propriety of actually playing golf, so I guess there must have been another reason for the earlier complaints about Obama, eh?”


Chris Weigant blogs at:

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Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

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Friday Talking Points — GOP Debates, Round One

Well, that was entertaining, wasn’t it? We refer, of course, to the grand spectacle of the first Republican presidential debates, held last night on Fox News. Since this is all anyone’s talking about in the political world today, we are going to follow suit and devote most of this column (with the exception of the awards) to our reactions to seeing all the Republican candidates under one roof for the first time.

Of course, all 17 of them weren’t actually on the same stage at the same time. The big event was limited to the top 10 in recent polls, which meant the others had to make do with a “kids’ table debate” — given to a cavernously empty auditorium, much earlier in the day. The consensus from the punditocracy is that Carly Fiorina won the earlier debate, but for the life of me I can’t see why. She did her usual shtick, alternating smoothly from viciously snarky all the way to snarkily vicious. It’s what she does, and what she’s always done. Maybe some of the national pundits hadn’t seen her before, that’s the only explanation that springs to mind (full disclosure: I live in California, where we were subjected to “demon sheep” ads from Carly years ago).

What few commentators will openly admit is that pretty much all of these 17 candidates are pretty much all agreed on pretty much everything. With the possible exception of Rand Paul and John Kasich, there is so little difference between them that having a “debate” means nothing more than either agreeing with each other or trying to outdo each other in how much you agree. Seriously, here’s a quick recap of both debates, summarizing what pretty much all of the candidates stood for:

  • War — lots of wars, in lots of places. We’re going to really stick it to ISIS, and wipe them out in three months. Then we might just jump into the war Ukraine’s having with Russia. And Iran better watch out, because we’ll be coming for them, too, real soon. China may have to wait a few months, but shouldn’t rest easy or anything.
  • Abortion will be made as illegal as possible. Rape victim? No abortion for you. Incest victim? Too bad. Mother might die? Still no abortion possible. Dead pregnant women is just the price you pay for being “pro-life.”
  • All taxes will be flat. Business taxes will shrink to non-existence. In fact, let’s base our income tax system on the Bible, how’s that?
  • We need a great big ol’ wall on the southern border. Then, after it’s built, we need to kick out all those 11 million “illegals.” And we’ll then dial back the number of legal immigrants allowed in, just for good measure.
  • Obamacare, of course, must be killed.
  • God is a Republican. Planned Parenthood is the Devil.

Have we missed anything? Pretty much every candidate agreed with pretty much all of that, all night long. With the exception of Kasich (who stunned the others by saying nice things about both poor people and gays getting married) and Paul (who isn’t for all-war, all-the-time), it’d be hard to find a single statement disagreeing with much of any of that by any of the candidates.

Some candidates stood out, for various reasons, both in the debate and in all the pre-debate hype. Bobby Jindal sees absolutely no irony in complaining about Obama’s supposed use of the I.R.S. against conservative groups, and then pivoting to promising to do just that against liberal groups. Rick Perry seems enamored of someone called “Ronald Raven.” Maybe he’s a linebacker for Baltimore, or something? Ted Cruz has a video out showing how to (no, really!) cook bacon on the barrel of a machine gun. Marco Rubio is apparently selling a shirt on his campaign website called the “Marco Polo” (OK, that’s pretty funny, we have to admit). But the funniest joke of the night came in Ben Carson’s closing statement — about how he’s the only one to remove half a brain.

The biggest knock-down fight of the night came as somewhat of a surprise, because The Donald was not even involved. Rand Paul came ready to rumble, and he got into it with Chris Christie over surveillance and the Fourth Amendment. Paul even unloaded the “you gave Obama a big hug” line on Christie. Now, Chris Christie is normally combative, but we certainly saw a feisty Rand Paul last night. Will it do him any good? That remains to be seen.

Of course, everyone was watching center stage last night, to see if Donald Trump would explode. He didn’t, at least not much more than he normally does when he opens his mouth. He actually pretty much stuck to his promise not to punch (merely to counterpunch), and most of the others just seemed afraid to throw anything Trump’s way. The only one who really took him on was Rand Paul, but not to much noticeable effect. His biggest sparring partner was actually Megyn Kelly, one of the Fox News moderators, on his past dismissive and insulting statements about women. Trump brushed it off (after making a Rosie O’Donnell joke), saying he didn’t have time for political correctness. The crowd (mostly) loved it, and Trump later tweeted that Kelly was a “bimbo,” just for good measure. Trump did get a bit testy when asked about his four bankruptcies, but he’s always been a bit tender on that subject.

The most surprising thing Trump did last night was to speak up for the single-payer medical systems in Canada and Scotland. Trump, being rich, has actually travelled outside the country and seen with his own eyes the reality of single-payer. Most Republican voters haven’t. If the other Republican candidates start running anti-Trump ads, I would bet the clip of Trump praising single-payer will feature prominently.

We’re all going to have to wait a few days (middle of next week, roughly) to see how any of this will affect the poll numbers, of course. Debates don’t normally have a huge impact, although this one just might (mostly because so many people watched it). Will Trump continue his dominance of the Republican field? Will a second-tier candidate move up in the ratings as a result of a stellar performance? Will one of the big names begin to fade? Nobody yet knows the answers to these questions, so we’ll all just have to wait and see.

That’s enough on the debate for now — we’ll get to more debate reactions in the talking points, once we get the awards (and the other news of the week) out of the way.


Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

There were a lot of impressive Democrats this week to choose from, which means we’ve got a lot of Honorable Mention awards to hand out before we get to the big award.

Barack Obama’s administration just released their carbon rules, and they are a giant step in the right direction. His plan earned him immediate praise from Hillary Clinton, we should add.

In other good news from the administration, the new head of the Drug Enforcement Agency publicly admitted that “heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana,” which doesn’t sound very impressive until you realize this is the first time anyone at the D.E.A. has made such a commonsense statement. Dan Riffle, of the Marijuana Policy Project, had the best reaction: “In other news, the sky is blue.”

Martin O’Malley is calling for an amendment to the Constitution to guarantee voting rights, which we think is a great idea. In fact, we’d like to see all the Democratic candidates jump on board this particular bandwagon.

Bernie Sanders leads all the Republican candidates in head-to-head polls. He leads Donald Trump by a whopping margin — 59 to 38 percent. This means that even Democrats’ second-place candidate is beating the entire Republican field — that’s a pretty positive thing to see.

Elizabeth Warren gave a great speech last week, ripping into the do-nothing nature of the Republican Congress. Each Congress is two years long. We’re one-fourth of the way through this one. What have they done in that time? Given Obama fast-track trade authority — that’s really about it. Warren points this out in great detail. Warren also is to be credited for another Obama administration rule coming out of the S.E.C., that will force companies to publish the difference between their C.E.O.’s pay and an average employee’s salary.

But this week’s Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week goes instead to Representative Sam Farr, who (together with Republican Dana Rohrabacher) is fighting hard for a law he passed last year, which makes it illegal for the Justice Department to spend any money on prosecuting medical marijuana operations in states which have allowed them. They zeroed the budget for such activities by any federal agency.

When they originally passed this law (as Tom Angell revealed this week), the Justice Department actively lobbied against it. By lying. They used scare tactics, saying if the law passed it would mean they couldn’t enforce recreational marijuana use either. This was (and still is) just flat-out wrong, but that didn’t stop them from trying it.

But back to the present. Farr and Rohrabacher just wrote a rather pointed letter to the Justice Department, which seeks an investigation into the Justice Department itself, for breaking their new law. Medical marijuana providers are still being prosecuted, in states where they are legal. The Justice Department is not supposed to be spending one thin dime on this, and yet they are. In other words, the Justice Department is prosecuting people for breaking federal law, and by doing so, the Justice Department itself is breaking federal law.

Which is why we say: “More power to Farr and Rohrabacher!” They should investigate this fully, and bring charges against any federal attorneys involved in such prosecutions. This law was passed for a reason — medical marijuana providers needed relief from the prosecution (and persecution) of some federal attorneys. This has not fully happened yet. Either the Justice Department must stop breaking the law, or some heads should start rolling. No two ways about it. Which is why Sam Farr is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

[Congratulate Representative Sam Farr on his House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

We’re not entirely sure who deserves this week’s Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week, so we’re just going to go to the top of the food chain and award it to President Barack Obama. Maybe John Kerry deserves it more, or maybe some lower staffer. But it’s hard to imagine this happened without some degree of acceptance from higher-ups.

The United States keeps a list of countries that are notorious for human trafficking (the “Tracking In Persons” report). This is supposed to shame other countries into getting their act together on modern-day slavery. Just last month, however, some countries were suddenly upgraded on the list. Malaysia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia all got moved up, while China didn’t move down. There is no evidence or reason for any of these decisions. China should have moved down, on the evidence. Malaysia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia should not have moved, because they haven’t done anything to crack down on the problem.

The only reason for the move? Politics. In particular, the politics of our relations with the three upgraded nations. We just opened an embassy in Cuba for the first time since the dawn of the Cold War. So Cuba’s upgrade was basically a present to them, to show how happy we are with them right now. Saudi Arabia is disgruntled about our nuclear deal with Iran, so the upgrade was a kind of a bribe to get them on board. Malaysia is the worst of the bunch, because it wasn’t even a diplomatic favor, really, but an economic one. If Malaysia is on the worst-of-the-worst list, it means we can’t make trade deals with them. Since they’re supposed to be a part of the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, they had to be moved up in order to qualify.

The people at the State Department whose job it is to monitor human trafficking objected to all of these moves. They were overruled. That is beyond disappointing, it is a disgrace. The Obama administration is looking the other way on human slavery, both for politics and to make a buck. That’s a shameful legacy for America’s first black president to leave behind.

Which is why we’re awarding the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week to President Obama. No matter whose fingerprints were on these decisions, the ultimate blame lies at the top. If Obama had told John Kerry “I don’t want to use this list politically” then this never would have happened. He didn’t. It did. Which is why Obama earns this week’s MDDOTW award.

[Contact President Barack Obama via the White House contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 356 (8/7/15)

OK, let’s get back to debate reactions. Most of these are fairly generic, because (as we’ve already mentioned) most Republican candidates agree on most things. Therefore we’ve painted with a very broad brush this week. Oh, sure, it’s fun to beat up on Donald Trump and all of that, but what the debate really showed was that while the other Republican candidates might cringe at how Trump phrases positions, they actually share the same basic positions as he does. They’re just more polite at voicing them, that’s all.

Democrats right now would do well to keep an eye on the general election. The beauty of the Republican debates — as always — is that it forces all the candidates so far out to the extremes that they can’t recover after winning the primary. So by all means we should help this process along as much as possible.

Right now, Republicans are terrified of being out-flanked on the right. So exploit that by pointing out how extreme this game has already become.


   How many wars?

An obvious question.

“I’m sorry, but I lost count during the Republican debates — how many wars will we start if a Republican wins the presidency? Six? Seven? With all the jingoism in the air, it was easy to lose track of how many countries were threatened with war in the course of the debate. You could almost hear the salivating when Mike Huckabee promised the American military would be unleashed to, quote, kill people and break things, unquote. In fact, I think we’re going to need a bigger army, if we’re going to fight all these wars at the same time. A much bigger army. And, of course, it goes without saying that any Republican candidate who loses the race for the nomination will be among the first folks in line down at the recruiting office, because they all want to see all these wars fought — and somebody’s going to have to fight them.”


   The fatherhood rights of rapists

Democrats need to point out how extreme the Republican position on abortion has now become, in the harshest possible language.

“Republicans apparently all stand for protecting the fatherhood rights of rapists. If they get their way, abortions will not be available for rape victims. This means that rapists will be able to choose the mother of their baby by who they decide to rape. Because, to the Republican Party, the rights of the rapist are more important than the rights of the victim of a horrific crime.”


   Your soul will be clean when you die

This also needs harshly pointing out.

“The Republican candidates also tried to outdo each other on outlawing abortion even when the mother’s life is in danger. That’s unbelievably extreme, but nobody seems to have noticed. If a medical problem happens and the only way to save a woman’s life is to abort her baby, then according to the Republicans, she should just die. I guess that’s what they mean when they say they’re ‘pro-life’ — that a woman’s unnecessary death is the price of being morally pure, as they define it. That is inhumane. But that is now the default Republican position.”


   A beautiful wall

This one, obviously, was spurred on by Trump.

“Once again, Republicans are in a tizzy trying to trump Donald Trump. We won’t just build a great big wall, we’ll build a wall so deep they can’t tunnel under it. It’ll be the biggest, most beautiful wall you’ve ever seen. It’ll be a hundred feet high… no, five hundred feet high… no, a freakin’ mile high! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Maybe we can add a moat, too. And put alligators in it. Wait — how about alligators armed with laser beams?!? Man alive, this is going to be the most awesome wall in human history!”


   Trust us, we’ll think of something

This is just becoming laughable.

“For over five years now, Republicans have been trying to kill Obamacare. All the Republican candidates for president agree that repealing Obamacare would be one of the first things on their to-do list as president. They’ve had all this time, and they still haven’t got a single clue what to replace it with, though. They’ve held the House of Representatives for years now, and they have yet to even move a single replacement bill out of committee, much less held a vote on it on the House floor. There is absolutely nothing stopping them from doing so. And yet they haven’t. Their answer, for five whole years, has been the same — it was the same answer the Republican candidates gave on stage last night. Trust us, they say, and right after we repeal every word of Obamacare, we’ll be sure to think of something to replace it with.”


   Even Fox too tough?

The real loser of last night’s debate is a guy who, when you take the vowels out of his name, becomes: “RNC PR BS.”

“I have to say that I’m not entirely sure who won last night’s debate, but I do know who lost: Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee. They had a plan to avoid the fiasco that was the Republican debate cycle last time around. Their plan was to limit the number of debates, limit the number of people on stage, and only allow friendly right-wingers to be the moderators, so the candidates wouldn’t be asked embarrassing questions. This was supposed to keep the crazy people out and showcase the serious Republican candidates. But the plan failed, as last night already proved. The crazy people were let in, the craziness was in fact at center stage, and now conservatives are even complaining that Fox News reporters were insufficiently deferential to the candidates. How in the world do they think any of these candidates are going to survive debating Hillary Clinton — to say nothing of going toe-to-toe with Russia or Iran — if even Fox News was too tough for a Republican debate?”


   If I only had half a brain….

And we’re going to close the way the debate did — with a funny moment.

“Ben Carson got the biggest laugh of the night, when he pointed out he was the only one to take out half a brain, adding ‘although if you took me to Washington you would think someone beat me to it.’ But from where I sat, I really don’t think he had to travel all that far. Washington is a long way to go, when there are many standing right next to you on that stage who would have been great to use as examples of people with only half a brain.”


Chris Weigant blogs at:

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When he was 16-years-old and on vacation in Florida, Brad Cerenzia met a cute boy at Disney World, fooled around with him in the dark on the Haunted Mansion ride, drove to a swamp for some fulfilling sex, and knew that he never wanted to go back into the closet ever again.

Now, he just needed to figure out how to escape the isolated rural farm where he lived, and find his way into showbiz.

Brad’s my guest this week on The Sewers of Paris, a podcast about entertainment that has changed the lives of gay men. We both spent significant time gushing over the Mannequin (an unbelievably stupid movie about a mannequin that comes to life) and the show Little Shop of Horrors, which I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s a Faustian tale of big dreams gone awry, and the consequences of making dark bargains. It is also — by admission of lyricist, director, and writer Howard Ashman, “stupid,” which is probably why it is such an unbridled pleasure.

Ashman is also responsible for the music of The Little Mermaid, the story of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and of the songs in Aladdin, he wrote the ones you like the best. He passed away at 40 of complications from AIDS, and there’s a lovely tribute to him on the special edition disc of The Little Mermaid that you absolutely have to see.

If you’ve had your fill of Little Shop and are seeking your next musical theater fix, look no further than Disenchanted, the off Broadway show that Brad helped finance. The show follows a gaggle of Disney style ladies whose fairy tale dreams bump up inconveniently against reality. The show just closed this week after 139 sold out performances, but fear not — they’re recording a cast album in just a few weeks, and I’ll announce on the show when it’s available to hear. In the mean time, the show is now available for local productions so keep your eyes out for it at a community theater of chorus near you. Follow @disenchantedNYC on Twitter.

Brad uses a metaphor of key changes to explain those moments when your life shifts, and everything suddenly becomes important because it will never be the same.

It calls to mind my favorite part of any story, what mythologist Joseph Campbell calls the crossing of the threshold. Or what Dan Harmon calls a bit less melodramatically the unfamiliar situation. Whether it’s Kimmy Schmidt in New York or Evita in Buenos Aires or when the boys in Beautiful Thing go to their first gay bar, I love that magical moment when the hero says this is it. I’m walking forward, no looking back, I’m having my adventure if it kills me.

And one of the greatest examples of that moment is with Mary Ann singleton in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. If you’re listening to this podcast I can’t imagine you’re unfamiliar with the books: the tale of a naive young girl who comes from small town Ohio to San Francisco just for a visit, then winds up staying. And then it’s alongside her that we discover the incredible universe of queer San Francisco of the 1970s and 80s.

And that’s the thing about thresholds: once you cross them, you might not find what you expected. It’s our dreams that push us across to what we hope will be somewhere that’s green.

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The 2 Things Women Want In Bed That We’re Not Talking About

A month or so back, I found myself in a gay club dancing with lovely men who made me feel fun, sexy and beautiful, but had absolutely no interest in tempting me away from my domestic haven.

However, I came home from that experience feeling restless and mid-life crisis-y.

I realized my 17-year relationship (now-marriage) had some predictable sexual patterns, which happens in any long-term relationship. But suddenly, I felt a strong compulsion to break free of those patterns. (Could it be turning 50?)

Though I wanted to shake things up, I knew swinging, polyamory or, in turn-of-the-century Lady Mary/”Downton Abbey” vernacular, “taking a lover” would be the death knell of my treasured marriage, therefore not the kind of “shaking things up” I wanted to do.

So, I turned to my man for help.

What makes my husband so incredibly badass is that when I said, “I think I’m having a midlife crisis. I’m sexually bored.” He instantly replied, “Let’s do something about it!”

Realizing it was my issue, not his, I went to see my former font-of-wisdom (a.k.a. therapist) and admitted that I didn’t want the intimate, tender lovemaking that typified my bedroom. Instead, I found books and movies where women are sexually ravished and even aggressively taken exciting. And that I judged myself for it.

I’ve been a sex columnist, which suggests Sexual Libertine, but in many ways I’m repressed. I was raised Mormon, so my psychological, sexual landscape has definitely been impacted by the sexual repression in that culture leaving me to to frequent battle with the Morality Police, priggish Jacques and Ferrar, that live inside my head.

My therapist, who is often a place of temperate permission, explained that she believes, and I quote:

“The ravishment fantasy is most likely the rule for women, rather than the exception.”


She cited a recent documentary on the endangered big cat, the Canadian Lynx, where she described how aggressive the male is with the female during the mating ritual.

The male will bite the female’s neck, scratching her and holding her down forcefully. My doc surmised that humans most likely have a genetic or biological sexual impulse that is very similar to that of animals.

After my session, whilst googling the keyphrase: What do Women Want in Bed? I stumbled on a recent Ask Men article titled, 5 Things Women Secretly Want In Bed. Two of them made my Morality Police, irascible Jacques and Ferrar, take note.

The author wrote:

#1 Get Aggressive In Bed: Just about every woman I encountered had the words ‘more aggressive sex’ rolling off her tongue. From being tied up and spanked to having their hair pulled and being mildly asphyxiated, the women were quite enthusiastic about aggressive sex. Of course, I’m not implying that you should go home and smack your (lady) up, but instead, maybe a little roughing in the bedroom can work wonders for your sex life.

#3 Treat Her Like A Prostitute: (Shannon here: this language might offend the feminists in many of us. But I agree with the spirit of the note.)

Ah, fantasies, the beauty of them lies in the fact that many are not realized. But as one woman put it: ‘I am tired of being that precious lady in the bedroom. I’m tired of making love and doing things gently all the time.’ (Shannon quietly raises hand)

‘I want him to have raunchy sex with me and talk to me as though he just met me and cares nothing about what I want. I want him to ravish me like an animal and tell me to be quiet whenever I try to say something.’

I guess, in the end, there are plenty of women who want to be, for lack of a better word, slutty in the bedroom. They simply fear that if they behave in such a manner, then their men will think less of them, and some are even afraid that their men will mistakenly begin treating them differently outside the bedroom as well. All the same, many women are big fans of scenarios such as the one described.

In the last quote I particularly appreciate that the author has made a distinction between what women like in bed versus what they prefer in real life.

All of this is food for thought and a catalyst to ex-communicate the puritanical, prudish, Victorian Jacques and Ferrar with regards to my midlife ennui.

I recognize that my sexual relationship with my husband hasn’t stopped growing. It’s been stunted a bit by the last 13 years of raising children, but there is nothing that says we can’t pick up the reins and continue to grow and even surprise each other as the years unfold.

I think the ace we have up our sleeve is genuine goodwill toward each other and a willingness to communicate, even the trickiest most vulnerable, uncomfortable stuff.

If you want to keep up with Shannon you can Opt-In to her Relationship Sensei Newsletter HERE.

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What color is this dress? Weigh in on the photo everyone’s talking about

What colors are in this dress?If you answered white and gold, you’re right.If you answered blue and black, you’re also right — we think.The Internet is buzzing over a very controversial image: A striped dress, in one of two sets of colors. And the way you see it may define who you are as a person.

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Still Life (Talking) – Pat Metheny Group

Pat Metheny Group - Still Life (Talking)  artwork

Still Life (Talking)

Pat Metheny Group

Genre: Jazz

Price: $ 6.93

Release Date: December 31, 1986

© ℗ 1987 Geffen Records

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Kim Kardashian Didn’t Say She Bought Kendall Jenner a Career—So Who Was She Talking About on KUWTK?

Kim Kardashian, Kendall JennerKim Kardashian threw some shade in the supertease for season 10 of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and fans have been trying to figure out who the E! star was dissing.


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Talking in Your Sleep – The Cinema

Talking in Your Sleep
The Cinema

Release Date:
December 16, 2014
Total Songs:


$ 8.99

℗ 2014 The Cinema

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People Keep Talking – Hoodie Allen

Hoodie Allen - People Keep Talking  artwork

People Keep Talking

Hoodie Allen

Genre: Hip-Hop

Price: $ 7.99

Release Date: October 14, 2014

© ℗ 2014 Hoodie Allen LLC.

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Bill Cosby — I’m Not Talking About Rape Allegations

Bill Cosby says he will NOT talk about the old rape allegations that are making the rounds, but his mouthpiece is taking a clear stand … the allegations were BS then, and they’re BS now.Cosby’s lawyer says, “Over the last several weeks,…


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Genre: Alternative

Price: $ 7.99

Release Date: November 28, 2014

© ℗ 2014 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

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Sources: Celtics, Mavs talking Rondo trade

The Boston Celtics, after years of flirting with potential Rajon Rondo deals, are in substantive discussions on a trade that would send Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks, according to league sources.

How To Throw A Wedding That Everyone Will Be Talking About


By Elizabeth Mitchell for Brides

Obviously lush flowers and a gorgeous venue are some of the elements of a beautiful wedding, but picture-perfect décor doesn’t ensure an epic party. Score a 10 out of 10 for overall experience by following these simple yet effective tips that will have your guests talking about your wedding for years to come.

1. Ask for song requests.

To ensure everyone is having a great time and dancing the night away, have your guests request a song via the invitation response, recommends Key Largo wedding planner Lynn D’Ascanio of Dasignerevents.com. “Give this list of songs to your DJ, along with the name of the person who requested each song. That way, if the dance floor starts to thin out, the DJ can play songs off of the request list.” This pretty much guarantees that the person who requested the song will get up and dance and encourage others to do so as well.

2. Don’t let your friends and family talk forever.

“Many fun events have been driven into the ground by deathly long speeches,” points out Lynn Jawitz, owner of Florisan Wedding and Event Design in NYC. To keep the party popping, ask your speech givers to keep their toasts short and sweet.

3. Remember to thank your guests.

Speaking of speeches, it’s important to let your guests knows how much you personally appreciate them coming. “It’s hard to believe how often this simple step is overlooked,” notes Jawitz. “Bite the bullet, make a speech (keep it short, of course) and just genuinely thank your guests for dropping their lives that day to share it with you.”

4. And keep them in the know.

According to D’Ascanio, the best weddings are the ones that are organized and follow a timeline. “When the events of the day unfold in a timely manner, and the bridal party and guests alike are not left standing around wondering what’s next or where they should go or what they should be doing, the entire day seems flawless.”

5. Add in an element of surprise.

Who doesn’t love a special surprise at a wedding? “You could hire a group of singers or dancers disguised as wait staff to break out into song or dance during dinner,” suggests D’Ascanio. Or you and the groom could perform a practiced dance routine yourselves for the first dance, offers Greg Jenkins, founder of Bravo Productions. “A ‘wow’ factor can be memorable and will ensure your guests have a blast.”

6. Opt for a short ceremony.

If possible, try to keep your ceremony simple and short in length. “A long, drawn-out ceremony takes away that guest energy level at the onset, and sometimes it cannot be recovered for the reception,” warns Jenkins.

7. Give birthday shout outs.

Does your BFF have a birthday on the same day as your big day? Or is it his parents’ anniversary too? “Have your MC acknowledge any birthdays and/or anniversaries with a dedicated song during the reception,” advises Daniela Grafman, wedding & special events coordinator at Vision Entertainment Group LLC. People love attention. Plus, it’s just a sweet gesture.

8. Hire a great band or DJ.

After all, they can, in fact, make or break a party. Florida wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner, recommends looking for a high energy performer, while being careful not to choose an annoying personality to be your MC. “Great vocals, great dance moves and great spunk will have everyone up on their feet until it’s time to go home. Seamless song transitions and the ability to read the crowd when they want to hear more of the same sound or a desire to switch to a different sound is where a DJ’s talent also comes into play.”

9. Provide transportation.

If you’re hosting a destination wedding or your wedding is in a remote location, be sure to provide transportation for guests from their hotel to your wedding and back, says Lauren Randolph, founder of My Hotel Wedding. “This way people don’t have to worry about driving home drunk, which guarantees that they can party harder.”

10. Allow your guests plenty of free time.

This is particularly important if you have a destination wedding or a bunch of guests in from out of town, says professional wedding planner Sandy Malone of Weddings in Vieques. “Back to back activities after a long trip will run them into the ground. Let them have some time and space to explore and they’ll be refreshed and excited at all of your events.” We concur.

More from Brides:
The Most Flattering Wedding Dress for Your Body Type
Couples that Found Love on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette
The Most Creative Wedding Cakes of the Year
Gorgeous Colorful Wedding Dresses
Expecting (and Engaged!) Celebrities
Flattering and Affordable Wedding Dresses

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Owen Wilson Will Play A Talking Crayon. Yes, Really

Owen Wilson joins other celebs in a movie about talking crayons, which probably means something important about the psychology of everyone involved.

Shailene Woodley Is Talking About Her Clay Diet Again

On Monday night’s “Late Show,” person who loves eating clay, Shailene Woodley, talked about eating clay. Obviously, going into this interview we knew the basic facts about clay: it “bonds to negative isotopes,” which Woodley learned from a taxi driver and that, of course, we should all be eating clay (or at least listening to our taxi drivers).

Apparently not everyone in America has started eating clay yet, so, thankfully, David Letterman was around to clear up some important questions: Where does Shailene even obtain clay in the first place and “how is it different than dirt”?

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