The Conversation

Culture: Cultural happenings and discussions.

Ingrate: Former Waitress Dishes About Spending Rush Limbaugh's $2,000 Tips On Abortion Fund

Sep 23, 2014 5:54 PM PT

Chris Vognar of the Dallas Morning News Arts Blog shared a story, Monday, that unintentionally reflected very poorly on his subject - a former waitress and what she did with two incredibly generous tips from Rush Limbaugh.

Vognar featured the former waitress, Merritt Tierce in a piece last week, promoting her autobiographical debut novel, "Love Me Back, which he said "includes some wild tales" about the high-end Dallas steakhouse where she waited on Limbaugh. Vognar noted, "she saw some things."

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Yes, I Talked About the Rebbe with Sarah Palin

Sep 23, 2014 2:29 PM PT

A perceptive viewer noticed something of interest in my dinner conversation with Gov. Sarah Palin about my new book, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party. On the table was a copy of Joseph Teluskin's recent biography of the Lubavitcher Rebbe: Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History--a gift that I had brought to the Palins' that evening.

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Reporter Who Quit On Air Launches Indiegogo Campaign to Push for Legalization

Sep 22, 2014 3:37 PM PT

Charlo Greene, the reporter who quit her job on air Sunday night, has launched an Indiegogo campaign to make marijuana use legal in Alaska.

Sunday night, in the midst of a report about marijuana, Greene announced that she was the owner of the Alaskan Cannabis Club and said she was quitting her job in order to devote her attention to "legalizing marijuana here in Alaska." She then added, "And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice, but, f--k it, I quit."

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Filmmaker Terry Gilliam: Short-Sighted Capitalists Should Be Shot

Sep 22, 2014 1:00 PM PT

Terry Gilliam is the writer and director behind some of the most creative and darkly humorous films of the last 30 years including Time Bandits, Brazil and 12 Monkeys. In a recent interview with Collider to promote his new film, The Zero Theorem, Gilliam gets sidetracked into a discussion about U.S. politics. He winds up suggesting there are certain people he'd like to have shot, sounding a bit like a villain from one of his own dystopian fantasies:

It’s interesting that we look to that as sort of permission to go with that philosophy since I doubt any human being will be around anyway at that point.  We should maybe be looking at our own mortality as the signpost for that.  

GILLIAM: Your Republican will do that, yes.  Your Republican thinks like that.  I remember when Reagan was president, the secretary of the interior was a guy who was an Armageddonist who actually believed the end of days were not too far in the distant future.  He was put in charge of the environment and his approach was of course, not to protect it, but let’s get as much money as we can before Jesus comes back.  And I despise that.  We’re here and we’ve got to do whatever we can to keep the place running.  We think in terms of quarterly statements and we should be thinking a little bit further in advance of that.  At least the communists had ten year plans.  We don’t have that anymore.

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Science, celebrity, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson's tall tales

Sep 22, 2014 9:42 AM PT

It's probably not how he planned to spend his September, but Sean Davis of The Federalist has become the go-to guy for puncturing the tall tales of celebrity scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  Davis began noticing that several stories Tyson routinely tells during public appearances don't add up.  More specifically, Tyson appears to be fond of manufacturing quotes that make other people look stupid.

In the first few instances, Tyson's suspicious quotes were attributed generally - he'd pick up something an unnamed politician or journalist supposedly said, and build a little sermon around it to prove that politicians and journalists lack the knowledge and intellectual rigor of top-shelf scientists like Tyson himself.  Davis noticed that Tyson could not source these quotes, so he dug into Google and Lexis/Nexus to learn their origins, and could find no record of anyone making the utterances that supposedly proved the people Tyson looks down upon are dumb.  As Internet wags observed, it's pretty sad when you have to invent quotes that make politicians look bad as a class.  

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Porn Viewed In Obama's EPA House

Sep 19, 2014 6:42 AM PT

Of all the really dumb things that Congress is forced to address, the fact that a bill had to be introduced to prevent government workers from view porn on the government’s dime is really disturbing, yet funny at the same time.

North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows has introduce the ‘no porno for you act.’

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New York Times plays bestseller-list games with David Limbaugh's book

Sep 18, 2014 11:22 AM PT

Show of hands from anyone surprised that the New York Times would use a little voodoo to force David Limbaugh's new book, "Jesus on Trial," off the bestseller lists?  Nobody?  Good.  They've done this crap before, and they'll do it again.  Bestseller-blacklisting is a badge of honor.  Take a bow, Mr. Limbaugh!

Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner reports:

According to publishing sources, Limbaugh’s probe into the accuracy of the Bible sold 9,660 in its first week out, according to Nielsen BookScan. That should have made it No. 4 on the NYT print hardcover sales list.

Instead, Henry Kissinger’s World Order, praised by Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post, is No. 4 despite weekly sales of 6,607.

As Secrets wrote about a similar banishment early in the sales of conservative Dinesh D’Souza’s America, the Gray Lady is mysterious in how it calculates its list. A spokeswoman said, “We let the rankings speak for themselves and are confident they are accurate.”

The September 28 list of the top 20 print hardcover best sellers includes one book that sold just 1,570 copies.

Limbaugh, published by Regnery, has been a New York Times best seller, so the newspaper should have been looking out for his high sales numbers. And as a hint, they could have looked at Amazon, where Limbaugh’s Jesus hit No. 1 recently. On Thursday, it ranked No. 6 in books sold on Amazon.

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Bill Maher Explains to Charlie Rose Why Islam is Not Like Other Religions

Sep 11, 2014 9:49 AM PT

Bill Maher, outspoken atheist and host of Real Time, appeared on the Charlie Rose show Tuesday and wound up defending Christianity, at least as it compares to Islam.

Maher's distaste for religion is well known from his film Religulous. When he singled out Islam saying, "there are illiberal beliefs that are held be a vast number of Muslim people," Charlie Rose replied, "a vast number of Christians too." "No, that's not true. Not true," Maher replied. He then went into a discourse on the differences between Islam and Christianity which left Rose struggling to defend his knee-jerk reaction. [I first saw this clip at The Right Scoop.]

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