NEW YORK—Hey look! It’s that time of year again, and the semi-annual release of some or another study claiming that conservatives are stupid has finally landed on liberal doorsteps across America. Perfect timing, really! Since, you know, the one thing the country needs right now more than just about anything else is yet another excuse to avoid the hard work of looking at those we disagree with as equal partners in a national conversation, people who we must engage with and convince—and, oh, maybe as a result challenge ourselves to check our work and, you know, make better arguments! But hey, now we can all let ourselves off the hook and just deride them as all a bunch of idiots who aren’t even worth talking to in the first place. Thank you, science! Yes, this is quite obviously how we will move forward together as a nation. (It was the dramatic improvement in the quality of the national discourse evidenced after the last two dozen times a study like this was published that gives us so much faith.)
Anyway, check it out: Congress is doing something! Apparently the first order of business following the President’s call for it in Tuesday’s state of the union is to hammer out an agreement on banning insider trading in Congress. Which is good! Or at least in a sense. Since, like, beggars can’t be choosers and all, but we still look forward to seeing Congress move on to maybe more meaningful legislation that miht actually help America be a better nation instead of just, you know, helping public officials not be douchebags (not hating, just saying, etc).
DO NOT MISS THIS: So PolitiFact is the worst (duh), and Rachel Maddow is absolutely the best (also duh). But yesterday not only did she manage to employ the phrase “After the economist Jared Bernstein and half of the English speaking internet L’d oh so O L at PolitiFact for screwing this up”—yes! she said that! live! on the air!!—she then delivered just the loveliest lecture:
PolitiFact, you are fired. You are a mess! You are fired! You are undermining the definition of the word fact in the English language by pretending to it in your name. The English language wants its word back. You are an embarrassment. You sully the reputation of anyone who cites you as an authority on fact-ishness, let alone fact. You are fired.
Robert Reich tried to spoil everyone’s fun yesterday by “being sensible” and “making sense” and doing other stereotypically Robert Reich-y things. He warned Democrats in a column not to root for a Gingrich nomination, arguing that even though the odds are low, the risk is far too high. But we must ask you, Mr. Reich: why else would we still be paying attention to this thing if not for MOON BASES??
Sadly, we must leave you today on a somber note. Remember the lesson of Terminator 2? “Skynet goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th.” Right. Then the computers bomb Russia, Russia bombs back, and before you know it, “3 billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines.” Well that nightmare may very well be becoming reality, dear friends:
The Navy’s new drone being tested near Chesapeake Bay stretches the boundaries of technology: It’s designed to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier, one of aviation’s most difficult maneuvers.
What’s even more remarkable is that it will do that not only without a pilot in the cockpit, but without a pilot at all.
The X-47B marks a paradigm shift in warfare, one that is likely to have far-reaching consequences. With the drone’s ability to be flown autonomously by onboard computers, it could usher in an era when death and destruction can be dealt by machines operating semi-independently.
So yes, the machines are coming for you. Enjoy your weekend.