Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Happy Continued Summer

...that's right, it's the day after Labor Day, meaning there are more than two weeks of summer left to enjoy.

...I can't figure out why news networks and marketers, who seem to like summer, can never wait to declare it dead. (...even The Weather Channel, where someone even-more-wrongly announced that we were just heading into "the last official weekend of the summer." The heat has returned, so look for newscasts to herald "A Return to Summer!!!" even though summer hasn't ended. Then, when summer actually ends, the meteorologists will be mentioning that, too. So summer gets to die twice.) The autumnal solstice falls on September 22. When you mention this, people will roll their eyes and say, "Sure, but that's just the official end of summer."

Yes, the official one, which is the only one that counts. Yes, some of the summer attractions down the shore that are operated mostly by high school students close on Labor Day. Kids are back in school. But summer still lingers, thankfully.

December 1st isn't the beginning of winter, March 1st isn't the beginning of spring, and Memorial Day isn't the beginning of summer. While we're at it, the millennium didn't begin until January 1, 2001.

Enjoy every day, if you can. Doesn't life move quickly enough, without hurrying it along?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gotta Hit the Hardware Store

"Trump has no clue." -- Vice President Joe Biden

"We don't look to be ruled." -- President Barack Obama

"The Republican National Convention was full of pessimism and scare tactics!"

                                                                -- every other DEM and MSM advocate

I think my irony meter just wore out. Don't worry; I can get it repaired (again).

Thursday, July 21, 2016

THE DAILY SHOW Gets Miffed That Someone Wants to Record Its Deception

It already has more than 110,000 views in under 24 hours, but check out this video of what went down when a crew from The Daily Show attempted an ambush interview with one of the attendees of Milo Yiannopoulos's Gays for Trump party at the RNC on Tuesday night.

As many (but not enough) people are aware. TDS has, for years, recorded interviews with organization leaders, politicians, and Just Plain Folk, only to edit footage in a blatantly deceptive fashion, so as to make the subject appear clueless, hypocritical, or just plain evil.

Fortunately, while speaking on his phone, Joel B. Pollak of Breitbart.com viewed the exchange about to take place, and ended the call so that he could use the phone to record what was about to take place. Well, as you can see, that did not sit well with The Daily Show's crew. Having someone record with the ability to have what is said in its entirety online after or maybe even before TDS's editors get their hands on it would greatly hamper their ability to make this person look like a buffoon! Can't have that! So these snot-noses actually tried to tell Pollak that he could watch the interview but not record it. Pollak refused to turn his phone off, while the crew became gradually more annoyed and frustrated. Notice that, when Pollak airs out his suspicion that they're out to ambush people, they don't deny it, and later can say only that all shows engage in editing -- which is true, but editing for brevity is not the same thing as setting out to make people look foolish/racist/____phobic. Once they see they can't record without being recorded themselves, Trevor Noah's goons skulk (and sulk) away.

I've become saddened to see what Breitbart.com has become in recent years, such as bashing any Republican candidate not named "Trump," but I'm all with Joel here. Stay tuned for a Milo post...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Baton Rouge. Falcon Heights. Dallas.

The horrific events seem to be coming at a faster pace than ever before. Just when it's almost time to raise the flags from their half-mast-for-Orlando position, we have Dallas (on the heels of another controversial killing in Louisiana, immediately followed by another in Minnesota). Funerals are taking place for the five police officers, and then France is struck again, this time in Nice. (And -- oh, yeah -- there was Istanbul, although I notice with a decent amount of discomfort that Americans seem to notice terrorism more when it strikes North America or Western Europe, rather than Eastern Europe or the Middle East.) Did I leave any out? I'm sure I did.

We now have more names and more incidents to discuss, and I think the rate of violence (or perhaps a similar rate, but more publicized and broadcast than ever before) has caused Americans to adopt a lazy, binary approach. For example, Michael Brown has been compared far too many times with Emmett Till. And once is too many times. Let's review. Emmett Till was an African-American boy who was lynched in the 1950s after he flirted with a white woman. Michael Brown robbed a convenience store, violently shook the proprietor, resisted arrest when approached by police, tried to grab a police officer's gun, and was shot and killed. His death is a tragedy, but it is absolutely incomparable to what happened to Till.

And yet I keep hearing a list of names rattled off with suggested equivalence. One person said, "Trayvon Martin is Michael Brown is Eric Garner is Sandra Bland is Freddie Gray is..." and so forth.

But this isn't remotely true. Every one of these high-profile cases is unique. I see a lot of lumping going on, as if in every case we must either condemn or exonerate the police officer(s) involved. In the most recent ones, yes, the police seem to be overstepping their bounds, but not in every single violent encounter that has taken place. And yet, there's a knee-jerk tendency by some to assume the worst of the police, whereas in others there's just as instinctive an assumption that some punk had it coming.

I can't shake this feeling that we used to wait a little longer before passing judgment, but not in this age in which cell-phone video of any incident is uploaded within sixty seconds and seen halfway around the world before the blood on the pavement has dried. In some ways, that's a good thing; it makes footage less vulnerable to editing. But it also sets off firestorms before we're even able to piece together what has happened.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


If there were a Benegram Twitter account, I'd be retweeting this over and over again:


Comey’s not going to clear Hillary on the very day Obama starts campaigning with her, is he?

Apparently so.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Democrats Hold a Slumber Party

As I watch the Democrats hold their gun-control "sit-in" -- quixotically comparing themselves to civil rights heroes who faced far more risk -- I keep asking myself why they're not blazing mad at U.S. Senators in their own party, who just failed to passed two pieces of gun legislation authored by Senate Republicans. Why be so angry at one party and not the other?

Could it be that this would defeat the whole purpose of their tantrum -- not to reduce gun violence, but rather to try to score political points?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

I'm Not with Her

...and will not be with her anytime soon.

AOL, I am tired of seeing this woman's face on my cell phone, the laptop computer, and various desktop computers I happen to use.

Stop telling me to click on something to say I'm with her. I view her political ad with the same revulsion that my vegetarian self feels when an ad for Omaha Steaks comes up, or my teetotaling self feels when some smelly wine is being hawked, or how I'd view a before-and-after for Preparation H.

I don't care if the eleven-car pileup known as Huffington Post bought out AOL or not.

I want this "I'M WITH HER" sewage off my AOL.

Make it happen.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Facebook and a Doctored Cake

...so the drama regarding a cake sold at an Austin Whole Foods turns out to have been the result of a crudely executed hoax (as many of us predicted). Turns out, the bakery employee who served Pastor Jordan Brown actually isn't a latent homophobe who added a three-letter homophobic slur to Brown's order (as many of us warned). Video evidence demonstrates that Brown likely added it himself (as many of us suspected) so as to set up a narrative of evil and bigotry.

I'm happy that Whole Foods's name has been cleared; in fact, the market has dropped its countersuit against Brown. Of course, the "never mind" part just never seems to be given the prominence that the original charge, does it?

Mr. XYZ Accused of Sexual Assault (front page)
Charges Against Mr. XYZ Dropped; Accusations Proven Invalid (p. 18., lower-right corner)

I think I'd put a few chips on the table to say that this happened on social media in the Whole Foods story. Remember that to say that something has "gone viral" is to compare a story to something quite harmful, and often fatal. That close-up photo of that bad little word that rhymes with "bag" was probably posted by a few million Facebook users by the time fifteen minutes had elapsed after the story first hit the 'net, accompanied by the contest of Who Can Denounce This in the Strongest Terms -- without waiting to see if there was more to the story or not. See also "University of Virginia" or anything said by a Republican figure that HuffPo can then twist into something horrible.

A university student will scream and holler about a racial slur or a swastika made out of feces she found on her dorm-room dry-erase board. The Twitterverse will explode. It'll be the top thing trending on FB. Then, the administration will tell her that, not to worry, we'll look at the video at who did it.

"Uh...video?" she'll ask nervously.

And, then -- as many of us guessed -- the video will show that the student herself was the one to adorn the offending word(s) or image(s) there, so she could complain about how bigoted her school is. Then the story will probably fade out on social media, without any real contrition or retraction. After all, it served its purpose just fine. There'll be another fake thing coming along any day now to satisfy our righteous indignation.

Of course, we know that the good people of Planet Zuckerberg will see to it that everything's made square, right?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Adult Stem Cells Used to Combat Blindness in Newborns, and Myasthenia Gravis in Adults

A hat tip to Wesley J. Smith for spreading word about these items.

First came the news that adult stem cells have been used successfully to restore sight in human infants.

Then there was word that they have caused remission of myasthenia gravis -- again, in human patients.

Recall that, fifteen years ago, embryonic stem cells were being touted every week on the nightly news as the "holy grail" of medicine, and that adult stem cells were a cheap imitation that would never amount to anything. They had it backwards, as we have been saying.

Friday, March 25, 2016

BeneGram's 2016 Final Fourcasts

Let's see how we're doing here...

WOMEN: South Carolina [sigh], Notre Dame, Texas A&M, and Connecticut. Connecticut over South Carolina in the final.
MEN: Villanova, Baylor, Virginia, Xavier. Virginia over Baylor in the final. Yeah, I know.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Freedom of Speech Doesn't Mean Stifling Someone Else's

I'm not what you would call a fan of Donald Trump. I think his mouth outpaces his brain by about four lengths, and he speaks in sound bites and pep-rally jargon rather than gives specifics. Marco Rubio [sigh] would have made a much better candidate, and a much more formidable opponent than Trump would be, if polls are to be believed.

That said, I don't believe the lunacy at Trump rallies is all his fault. DJT's events are being disrupted by activists with the same sort of tactics seen at college campuses, where students and their aging mentors simultaneously cry out for free speech and chant to drown out any speaker they don't like. Consider what Milo Yiannopolous and Ben Shapiro have had to contend with in the last few weeks.

"Free speech for me, but not for me," as Nat Hentoff put it.

It's one thing to stand outside a Trump rally with a sign in silent protest; it's another to cause a disruption at an event. This is not to comment on how such disruptions are handled, except to point out that any protestor who displays violence should expect the right of self-defense to be availed.

I'd rather have any other Republican as president than Donald Trump, but I don't want harm to come to him.