April 4th, 2012


Stephen Colbert wins another Peabody Prize

[Spoiler (click to open)]

Stephen Colbert has won another Peabody Prize. The winners of the George Foster Peabody Awards were announced Wednesday morning. As explained on the Peabody site, each winner must receive a unanimous vote from the entire board. And as you can see from the list below, entertainment programs are just one of the categories that the Peabody board considers. I think the fact that more than a dozen people with disparate tastes and interests found all these programs worthy of commendation speaks to the extraordinary quality of all 38 winners.

Peabody writeup: Launching his own SuperPAC as a satirical protest against megabucks politics, Colbert mixed cerebral comedy with inspired sight gags, interviews and preposterously funny monologues. Mo comments: "The Colbert Report" wins a Peabody Award for several 2011 episodes that focus on the creation of his Colbert SuperPAC, a vehicle he has used to wittily and yet thoroughly expose the darker and scarier corners of campaign finance. If nothing else, winning a second Peabody will allow Colbert to once again celebrate the "Turducken of awards." Source.

This is fantastic. Steven Colbert's writing is some of the best political satire on television (or anywhere else for that matter). The SuperPac coverage on his television program has been a great educational process (with great comedy) in learning the intricacies and loopholes in election finance law-- usually a byzantine and coma inducing topic. This year Steven Colbert produced several television spot ads that ran during the Republican South Carolina primaries, and had former presidential candidate Herman Cain appear at a "campaign" stop in Charleston. The Colbert Report's writing is consistently good (IMHO) and considering they have to produce nearly four hours of content a week, it makes Saturday Night Live seem tepid by comparison.

Russia and the law of hate


Following the example of St. Petersburg, now other big Russian cities are preparing to adopt a new law that is set to impose fines for those who openly discuss homosexuality, let alone those who practice it. The state Duma is about to pass a federal law against "homosexual propaganda" that'll now be valid throughout the whole country. And that's happening in the 21st century.

The democratically leaning people and the civil rights advocates in Russia are in shock. In the future, whoever dares to even speak openly about issues of homosexuality would be considered a criminal. Until now St. Petersburg, probably the most popular tourist destination in Russia, used to have a watered-down law against "homosexual propaganda", under the pretense of protecting the children and youngsters (that's the official statement under the law: i.e. THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!). But now the federal parliament will impose a more extreme version of that law on the whole territory of the Russian Federation. If the bill is passed, there will be fines for anyone performing informative campaigns about the various sexual orientations. Of course, apart from the many discriminatory implications from this law, a side effect that shouldn't be underestimated is that it would additionally complicate the HIV/AIDS prevention. But the authorities wouldn't hear about it. "Public decency" and "morality" trumps all these considerations.

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A wake-up call from America's hat

Here in Toronto tonight, my position on taxpayer-funded healthcare has changed radically. It's not just the desolate urban landscape and the small children begging for change on the streets that has done this. It is the vacant look in the eyes of able-bodied adults as they shuffle along the sidewalks in their entitlement-induced torpor. Sapped of any will to work by the ready availability of free doctor visits, the once-industrious populace has become a city of sleepwalkers. It is a sight that would change the heart of even the most ardent supporter of the Nanny State.

Of course, my own personal experience should have alerted me to this possibility long ago. I guess I have been in denial about the fact that what really gets me up and going every morning to face the rat-race of tech-sector punditry is the four-figure monthly health insurance premium I have to pay as a solo practitioner. If it were not for that premium, why would I bother? There is, after all, nothing as important as one's health. So if I didn't have to pay through the nose to safeguard that, I too would probably slip into the same zombie-like state as the god-forsaken inhabitants of Canada's once-great metropolis.

So here is my new position. Since free healthcare clearly robs human beings of their will to work -- and since costly insurance policies are that upon which we advocates of free enterprise must hang our hopes for the future -- a fresh and radical approach is clearly necessary. I therefore propose that we double insurance premiums across the board in the States while we still can. Certainly the desperation of people to secure their own physical well-being and that of their loved ones will drive them to unprecedented heights of innovation and hard work. Who knows what entrepreneurial energies might be unleashed in an America where it takes a million dollars just to get your kid's broken bone set! Why should we allow a generation of slackers to wallow in cheap antibiotics and preventive dental care. I say that healthcare is not a right. It is something you must earn. And not too easily, either. If you want to live, create the next Facebook or RedBox. Otherwise, you're just another leech on the body of working capital.

Necessity is indeed the mother of the invention. Let us then raise the bar of necessity -- and safeguard for ourselves another American century.