Well, It’s About Time

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Fans of the long-running daytime soap ‘Politics’ were no doubt glued to their television last night. In this thrilling episode, ‘Politics’ made the controversial move to bring back to the show Uncle Unlimited Campaign Donations, finally rescued after his gold-plated helicopter crashed on the remote island of Fiscal Oversight in the season premiere.

Of course, what viewers have really been talking about is the long-awaited culmination of the will-they-won’t-they romance between the GOP and the Affordable Care Act, with the GOP proposing a reasonable amendment to the Act’s legislation in a tender scene. The two’s romance has been fraught with challenge since the start. Ever since the Affordable Care Act disappeared under mysterious circumstances and then resurfaced, having changed its name from Romneycare to Obamacare, the GOP had been frosty to its former flame. It insisted that all it wanted to do was prevent the Affordable Care Act from being implemented, but viewers could see the undeniable chemistry between the two.

“They were trying to be subtle about it,” said one fan of the show, “but I mean, hello, it was obvious from day one the GOP just wanted to get in Obamacare’s pages.”

“You could tell the GOP didn’t want to admit it liked Obamacare,” a blogger writes about the pairing. “But it couldn’t deny how useful the plan would be to those uninsured. And I think there was something taboo about the fact that it was a Democratic bill that really drew the GOP in.”

Of course, the episode ended with no official word on the state of the GOP/Obamacare ship (GObamacare, its fans call it), with the GOP insisting that it was only amending Obamacare to help its friend Small Business Owners, and that as soon as Obama is out of the White House the GOP will go back to trying to get Obamacare repealed. But fans aren’t buying it.

“The GOP has to say that,” one remarked. “They’re still too early on in the relationship to admit they love each other. I bet they’re saving that for the season finale.”

New YA Novel by Student: “The Booths”

readme recently interviewed Psychology major Tiffany Whitepersonname to an interview and to share an excerpt of her new YA dystopian thriller starring a normal looking, but like pretty and white, girl who saves the world. 

The book is based in a near-apocalyptic society where children, at the age of 17, have to decide what to do with the rest of their lives. Their choices are additionally severely limited by a series of harrowing academic tests they must undergo throughout their education as young adults. The more scarred these young people are at time of their choosing, the more choices they will have. 

Our hero, or should we say heroine, is the toughest of these brave individuals and her choices are endless. She chooses her destination. Cutthroat Murders University. Otherwise known as “CMU”. Her name?  Well, her parents named her “Elizabeth”, but those around her, worshipping her, call her

Zabeth 

Little to Zabeth’s knowledge, the tests only get worse after the choosing. She goes through the first year of her harrowing trials. Throughout that time she hears increasing rumors. Some celebratory. Some fearful, exhausted. And it’s called Carnival. 

Carnival approaches, and Zabeth swallows bile. She thinks of her first love interest. The dark one from home. and by dark we still mean white but like with black hair and a large browline. And she thinks of her second love interest. The one she’s only met recently, who is less dark but also like still really cool and stuff. 

She knows she has to choose. But first she must survive Booth, where other Cutthroat Murderers construct the most impenetrable fort they can in a week while still juggling the other evaluations they have never become accustomed to. The booths are then judged by merit. If they fail, they suffer massive nervous breakdowns.

“That’s only the first book.” Whitepersonname explained to readme. “The next two in the trilogy are, like, darker and edgier. Zabeth swallows a lot of bile.” She teased her next two books, describing a scene in which Zabeth shows her empathy for a bunch of underprivleged “choiceless” people who happen to be like, brown people. “But it’s totally not a white savior thing. It’s just how Zabeth is.”

When asked why she decided to major in Psychology instead of Creative Writing with such grand ambitions for a trilogy, Whitepersonname replied that “you don’t need a writing degree to understand the human condition”. When readme followed up by asking if she had based any of the events in the story off of events she had observed here during her time at Carngie mellon University, she looked at it quizzically. “Why would you ask that? I don’t see the resemblance.”  

Stuck in a Rock: One Fossil’s Journey in American Politics

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In the glacial gridlock that is the essence of American politics, where many of the bills that get passed are highly symbolic, like re-affirming that in God we really do trust, one would think that there isn’t much to adding one more state symbol. Especially when there are already over 50 symbols, including a state migratory marine mammal (the northern right whale) and a state hospitality beverage (tea).

But when Olivia McConnell asked to have the Woolly Mammoth to be recognized as South Carolina’s state fossil, she received much more than the standard “We care about you, really!” email in response (which is all I’ve ever gotten when writing to my representatives). A senator put forth the motion, but standing in opposition to the third-grader’s proposal are a group of conservative lawmakers.

One argues that they have too many state symbols already. “You may not know, but symbols require constant upkeep. Take our hospitality beverage, for example. It costs taxpayers good money to pay for all my tea. Adding one more to the list would just put the deficit through the roof, I mean, can you imagine what it would cost to call a fossil our state symbol?”

Another caused trouble by adding three Bible verses directly from Genesis. He claimed that because the Old Testament was used by more than one religion, it was okay for the state to sponsor it. However, he quickly backpedaled and replaced the verbatim quote with a paraphrase, after being convinced that because multiple religions laid claim to the verses, the copyright issues would have been too much of a hassle.

The bill is currently languishing in the state legislature. One legislator spoke with readme on a condition of anonymity, as he didn’t want to hurt his chances in the midterms. “I was going to vote for it, because it seemed like a nice gesture to a schoolgirl, and those have been polling well recently. But now religion has come into it? I need to hear back from my party boss and figure out how that would go over with my constituents before I can make a public statement.”

 

List: Carnival themes more vague than this year’s

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“Booth”

“Buggy”

“Carnival”

“F!!k It, Build Whatever You Want”

“The Universe”

“Philosophy”

“Stuff”

“Violate the shit out of copyright”

“(empty list)”

“Cultures”

“ Periods of time!”

“Readme’s charter”

“Things that can be represented by the intergers in Pi”

“We’re too tired to come up with a theme because we go to CMU”

“Memes”

“Themes”

“Values between 0 and infinity”

“Categories”

“Things College Kids Like”

 

Why Can’t the Internet Have Nice Things?

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Welcome to the Matrix, everybody. readme’s not sure how, but some technological juggernaut—Google, probably—has plugged us all into a lotus-eater simulation so they can harvest our bio-energies to feed their robot overlords. readme was at first suspicious when it heard CMU was canceling two whole days of classes for some carnival thing. Like that would ever happen in real life. And then the Tartan invited readme to a breakfast date at Pamela’s, which it did not expect, considering last time they talked it left all its Magic: the Gathering cards at her place like an absolute noob. The clincher, though, is the news that a movement on the Internet protesting a corporation’s homophobic behavior led to actual, positive change.

The controversy started when Mozilla named as its CEO one Brendan Eich, who had once supported the California Prop 8 act which would make gay marriage in the state unconstitutional. Numerous web apps, including dating service OkCupid, spoke out against this decision, withdrawing support for the company and encouraging users to boycott. Obviously, Mozilla fought back by citing ‘corporate personhood’, ‘religious freedom’, and accusing their detractors of violating their freedom of expression by expressing an opinion.

Except no, that’s not what happened. Instead Mozilla released a statement saying they had failed to listen to the wishes of their user base in appointing Eich, while Eich himself resigned just two days after OkCupid’s boycott began. Huh. Well, it looks like the people of the Internet can rest easy, knowing the corporate landscape is changing to reflect consumer values and that companies are beginning to understand that freedom of speech does not exempt one from the consequences of that speech.

Or they could, if not for the fact that the people of the Internet never rest easy. Soon after OkCupid released its politely-worded request that its users not access their site through Firefox, commenters flooded news sites with condemnations of these “openly fascist methods” OkCupid used to “[force] their opinion” on their customer base. They leapt to Firefox’s defense like a Republican to the defense of women, praising the actions that Eich himself admitted were incongruous with Mozilla’s core mission of inclusivity.

Of course, the OkCupid-hate didn’t stop there. Invocations were made to Nazi Germany, Orwell’s 1984, the “militant gay movement” (on that subject, guys, why did you take readme off the militant gay d-list? Is this about that time with the bear? Because readme swears, its aim’s gotten a lot better since then), and more. Some concerned citizens worry that the boycott will actually create a less diverse environment at Mozilla, because now homophobes and other bigots will hesitate to supply their “unpopular” opinions. Aw, here, let readme play you a mournful dirge on the world’s smallest bagpipe.

If this debacle has taught us anything, though, it’s that we really shouldn’t worry about corporations being granted rights of personhood. After all, there’s nothing they can do to people that we haven’t already done to ourselves.

The UN Apologizes… For a Couple of Things

On the eve of April 7, representatives from the UN made their ways out to Rwanda to pay their respects in a memorial to the Rwanda genocide. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN, personally addressed thousands of Rwandans as he apologized for the international community’s incompetence and inaction during the mass murder of close to a million Rwandans. “But we could have done much more. We should have done much more.”

“We should have reacted with decisiveness, instead of holding back UN troops and letting the systematic genocide of a country’s own people take place. Though nobody could know exactly how bad things had gotten within the country, we should have taken action as soon as we’d heard any mention of the concentration camps in North Ko- hang on.”

A murmur stirred through the Rwandans assembled at the Amahoro Stadium. Ban Ki-Moon could be seen rifling through his papers at the podium, frowning and muttering to himself. He stooped just out of sight behind the podium, presumably searching for something and still muttering incoherently into his mic. In a moment he reemerged triumphantly, brandishing another batch of papers. “Here it is, sorry about that,” he said, finally breaking the bemused silence and polite coughs of the Rwandan audience, “Just a little mix-up.”

Though the rest of the speech went off without a hitch, readme later received insider information about the nature of Ban Ki-Moon’s curious mix-up. readme’s anonymous tipster, sat down with readme at their mobile home in Ban Ki-Moon’s limo trunk to talk. “He accidentally switched his speeches,” the adviser explained, “One of Ban Ki-Moon’s main duties as Secretary General of the UN is to apologize for the UN’s inefficiency and ineffectiveness when it comes to dealing with humanitarian crises and general issues of international conflict. He was drafting an apology for when North Korea’s concentration camp business blows up, and I guess he must have accidentally mixed that up with his draft for the annual Rwanda genocide apology. No biggie really, this stuff happens all the time.”

 

Hobby Lobby and The Case of the Stolen Model Plane

Hobby Lobby’s recent lawsuit in which is attempted to gain personhood in order to justfy its right to deny its workers birth control has sparked yet another debate on the right (or lack thereof) women have various forms of contraceptive. The suit specifically targeted contraceptives like IUDs and the Plan B pill which prevent women from becoming pregnant even after unprotected intercourse. The suit describes these as drugs that can work “after conception”. 

Now readme can understand the whole like “we don’t like abortion thing.” Really! it can! readme knows it can come off as hyper liberal sometimes but just because readme thinks that government shouldn’t legislate certain things doesn’t mean it doesn’t understand why those things might make certain people queasy. 

But the Plan B pill and IUDs (when inserted after intercourse) don’t actually cause abortions, despite common belief. They simply make it impossible for eggs to attach to the uterine lining, stopping a pregnancy before it ever begins. 

Hobby Lobby rolled its eyes at readme, “Conception is defined as happening at the moment when the sperm attaches to the ova, not the uterine lining”. Or that’s what  it would have said if describing the female body didn’t make it so uncomfortable. Instead it replied, “Abortions are bad.”

readme sighed and decided to try a different tact. “Technically these drugs and devices can halt a pregnancy after conception” 

“Women shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want babies!” Hobby Lobby interrupted. readme could swear it wasn’t talking to a person if it didn’t know any better.

“Okay, maybe, but hear me out.” readme begged. Hobby Lobby quieted, staring at the newspaper suspiciously. “So imagine a customer walks into Hobby Lobby. She really likes going into Hobby Lobby. It’s colorful and there are lots of interesting things. She hasn’t ever bought anything at Hobby Lobby yet, though, because she doesn’t really have the money to afford anything. She also knows she doesn’t have the time to really get herself into a new hobby at this point of her life. But she likes to walk around. She’s looking at the model planes. She thinks that one day she might walk into Hobby Lobby and actually buy the shiny B-17G Flying Fortress. It’s beautiful and has a wingspan of 26 inches.

Finally, one day, the customer walks into Hobby Lobby and is looking at the model planes. She sighs, and turns to leave, but the B-17G’s box is, unbeknownst to her, stuck to her sweater. The cashier, instead of warning her of her imminent theft, staples a receipt to the box and steals some cash from her wallet in exchange for the plane. The customer doesn’t notice the mistake until the next morning. She feels terrible, knowing she won’t have time to build the plane, and drives back to Hobby Lobby. The cashier, the same one from the night before, tells her she can’t return the plane. She looked at it after all. She argues that she brought back the receipt and didn’t open or damage the box. The cashier takes the receipt as if to look at it and instead rips it to pieces, allowing her no way to return the package, or retrieve the 35$ she needed for food this week.”

Hobby Lobby squinted at readme “that’s not fair.”

“Exactly!” cried readme. “The receipt is the Plan B pill and the plane is the baby!”

Hobby Lobby flung itself backwards in horror. “Women should be having the babies!”