3 Reasons Benny Johnson Shouldn’t Call Out Plagiarism: He’s A Plagiarist, He’s A Plagiarist, and He’s A Plagiarist

Originally posted on Our Bad Media:

By @blippoblappo and @crushingbort

Yesterday morning, Buzzfeed’s “viral politics reporter” and resident ex-College Republican Chair Benny Johnson took the unusual step of calling out another outlet on Twitter for plagiarizing his work, a masterpiece on the socks that George H.W. Bush wears. “Repeat after me,” said Johnson, “copying and pasting someone’s work is called ‘plagiarism[.]’”

Johnson didn’t let up on The Independent Journal Review for stealing his socks articles, either:

The move struck many as odd, because for Buzzfeed, which reportedly valued itself at $1 billion earlier this year, a substantial part of their business model is just that: ripping off others’ content for profit. Time and time again, Buzzfeed “reporters” have either copied and pasted articles or just lifted individual tweets, photos, or other social media without paying a cent to those actually bringing in the pageviews. It doesn’t appear to be an issue of any concern…

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LOWENTHALS IN DISARAY (according to morons)

Hyperbole much Press Telegram?



This is a furiously dumb take on the state of Long Beach politics, even with the much more muted online headline for this story. Bonnie Lowethal lost a crowded Democratic Primary in an off year election when less than 12% of eligible voters cast a vote. She attempted to capture the mayoral election while running against the incumbent’s choice, started later than all the other candidates, and was screwed over by the timing of entirely unrelated scandals that made voters wary of politicians from Sacramento. Or to put it another way HER LAST NAME HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HER LOSS.

Suja Lowenthal meanwhile did almost everything (short of changing her name) in an effort to run away from the Lowenthal brand…AND LOST BADLY. Why did this happen? Well she was running against a much more effective GOTV machine (one that was aligned with Bonnie by the way), spent untold amounts of money on a +60 page book that she sent to voters, and accepted money from the likes of Michelle Rhee. In other words, HER LAST NAME HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HER LOSS.

Meanwhile Danny Lowenthal is still a judge in high regard. Alan Lowenthal is not only cruising to a re-election but he’s doing so while remaining one of the most steadfastly progressive members of congress. But by all means let’s go with the “thrill is gone” idiom after one election Press Telegram.

One Year


Thoughts from a friend of mine.

Originally posted on Runners Chai:

It’s hard to believe that it has been one year since the Boston Marathon bombing. I remember the afternoon in flashes. Reading the first few updates on the news about a bombing. Running down the stairs of my office building because Eric had come to visit me, but wanting to stay at my desk and keep reading the news. Sitting on the front steps of my office building, drinking bubble teas and wondering what was happening on the other side of the river. Spending the rest of the afternoon, eyes glued to Boston.com and constantly updating and refreshing for more information. Walking home towards Watertown when we were eventually told to go home early.

Then there were the days after – being unable to focus on anything for days, and continuing to just read the news while I sat at my desk, holding back tears, and wanting to grieve for…

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Hobby Lobby and the BuzzBomb of the Beltway

The Supreme Court is hearing the insanely ridiculous “Hobby Lobby” case this morning, so it’s not entirely surprising to see some hearty concern trolling from the smarmy side of the internets:


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I apologize for employing the cliched term “problematic” in describing this half-assed analysis of one of the most dangerous (and specious) legal arguments of our time. However this sort of remark is emblematic of the chronic issue within corporate journalism of political reporters attempting/failing to comment on legal issues. The Plaintiff’s argument in Hobby Lobby case is a ramshackle assortment of transparently idiotic right-wing policies, combined into a Frankenstein of a case that should never have been given cert. However BECAUSE of the nature of bad political journalism, this of dumbass idea made the jump from 1L con-law hypothetical to the point where it now could essentially nuke 60 years of well established public accommodations law. (The Clerks and Justices on SCOTUS pay attention to the same terrible news shows everyone else does).

Any of us who believe in a well-regulated workplace, sexual privacy, healthcare, and yes ACTUAL religious freedom (and not the legal recognition of Christian Sharia Law) should be horrified that this case wasn’t laughed out of court at the outset. The proponents of this mutant strand of fundamentalist christianity and anarcho-capitalism will never be satisfied with their unjustified inflated power in this country. Folks like Coppins who insist that we listen to these fever dreams and give them credence as a legitimate ideology are complicit in the creeping force of totalitarianism that the right wing is consciously attempting to instill.

And one last thing- the reason that Buzzfeed is (probably) so legitimately pissed at obvious right wing media like Breitbart is because the latter is much less effective than the former at convincing people of the tenants of their shared ideology.  Dumb normal people are more likely to embrace the Kocthtopus through the magical power of cat .gifs than braving the insanity of the comments on a Brietbart post. Media outlets like Buzzfeed and the Daily Caller are two sides of the same extremist coin, it’s just one of the parties has more or less mastered the art of subtlety.

The Inconvenient Truth About Paul Ryan

Shorter Paul Ryan: It’s never about race

“It was a long talk and he asked about the culture and I just went off of that,” Ryan told Burke. “This has nothing to do whatsoever with race. It never even occurred to me. This has nothing to do with race whatsoever.”

This was in reference to Ryan’s latest failed attempt to cast himself as a serious policy maker via repurposing old Atwater tag lines into tweetable red-meat for conservatives. And while Ryan is understandably upset that Barbra Lee called him on his racism, he and his defenders have to acknowledge that he might have finally flown too close to the sun on this one.

The entire mythology behind Paul Ryan, and the reason he rose to prominence via pundits like Ezra Klein and David Brooks, was the idea that he existed on the same technocratic neo-liberal plain as our President. He was “a numbers guy” who supposedly had actual concerns with creating policy that would erase inequities and “unleash opportunity” or some such meaningless bullshit.

The legitimacy of Ryan’s economic model was the first part of his image to be destroyed. Once real economists like Paul Krugman/Dean Baker/et all took a look at the ideas that Ryan was proposing after 2009, it was entirely clear that Ryan was simply  the latest well-coifed snake oil salesman of Jack Kemp’s old & terrible ideas to bring back the 1870’s. Thanks to academics  asking Ryan to explain his magic asterisks and un-cited assertions, his image as a right-wing econ Superman entirely disintegrated. The reaction to his hilariously bad poverty white paper was best summed up in this quote:

“[T]oo often Ryan’s report reads like a class project cut-and-pasted together by a group of Google-happy sophomores in a 200-level class at Bob Jones University”

But even as the “serious” label more or less disappeared for Ryan in reference to his academic defense of modern feudalism, most mainstream political reporting still gave him the benefit of the doubt concerning his public persona as a new-age conservative. Ryan, we were told, was not a Jesse Helms or Strom Thurmond style Republican who simply hated poors and blacks because they were poor and black. Rather, like our President, Paul Ryan supposedly ascribed to an ideology that upheld the essential equality of human beings, and believed that circumstances and individual moral failures could explain any discrepancies in opportunity or success existed in society. Those driving the D.C. political consensus were very comfortable with conceptualizing Ryan as someone who genuinely believed that anyone could do well in life if they sought out and properly used available resources; especially if those resources were “responsibly” maintained by the government.

The reality of course, like everything else about Paul Ryan, is that his self-created image as a social policy wonk from the classical liberal persuasion was nothing but a complete fraud. If his voting record and financial backers didn’t already demonstrate this inconvenient truth, quotes like this might finally establish Ryan’s place in the pantheon of racist demagogues who somehow slithered into places of political power in this country. Then again the very fact that pathological liar like Paul Ryan is a household name- while a legitimately decent representative like Barbra Lee remains in relative obscurity (despite being in congress for a year longer than Ryan), should serve as a good example as to why a white Congressman in 2014 would feel comfortable paraphrasing George Wallace in public.

“Pampers Could Be A Big Sponsor”

Happy Times

Happy Times

Louisiana deserves an insanely right-wing adult baby as its governor. It’ll be an improvement over the exorcist guy, but not quite as good as whatever member of the entirely consistent corporate whore family runs against him.


🎶 Yapping ‘Bout My G-G-Generation 🎶

Donkey Sauce

Two interesting articles came out over the long weekend that at least tangentially touched on the never-ending question about the political future and present ideology of us- the beleaguered millennial generation. Kudos to both in avoiding merely slapping a still from “Girls” on the post and then listing a few cliched tropes about iPhones (looking at you David Brooks). However I think that even taking both posts together presents an incomplete picture about where folks like myself will be devoting our energy in the coming years.

First of all Salon needs to hire a better headline writer as this lengthy article has none of the juicy calls for generational warfare that I desire before my 2nd cup of coffee hits in the morning. Rather it’s a long, boring piece that eventually crescendos in a thesis of “man we should get organized or something”, instead of a perhaps more useful examination of what will be necessary to diminish and isolate the generational alliances that have lead to the unnecessary suffering of contemporary young adults (for example; STEP 1: SET FIRE TO WHEREVER THE BLUE DOG DEMOCRATS HANG OUT).

But why should we forsake the rule of our elders? Well Conor Kilpatrick has beaten this issue to death (in a good way). However it’s the New Republic essay on the Edward Snowden/Glenn Greenwald/Julian Assange triumvirate of derp that explicitly lays out what folks on the left like me have been saying for years about trusting the intentions of our white-boy techie saviors. These are folks with the self-righteous anger that attract leftists to their cause, which can be a good thing in the abstract. However they also either lack even the well-documented myopia of the hippies towards the impact of their actions (which is especially true with Snowden who was famously “not ready” to be the public figure he now is) OR they are entirely cognizant of what they are doing and have consciously chosen to guide leftists into embracing Gilded Age/Lochner Era ideas of privacy and “economic freedom” (COUGH COUGH GREENWALD AND CATO).

Call me cynical, but all I’m realizing in reading the tea leaves of either Gen-X or the Boomers is a continuation of the well-honed American tradition of pulling up the ladder as the proceed in life. I don’t really see much of a reason to placate to either of these groups more than is necessary to get them to show up on election day and vote with the Democrats we chose to represent the party.