Note: The first episode shown during the Second Quarter 2014 was a rerun of #661 on March 24, 2014.
Episode #664: Surprise, It's A Parade!
First Broadcast: 3/31/14
I believe that most people in this country associate St. Patrick's Day with either being Irish, drinking a lot, or both. However, I think most people would be a little surprised by the assertions made by the President of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, that St. Patrick's Day is all about being Catholic. Speaking of the St. Patrick's Day Parade that's held in Manhattan every year, Mr. Donohaue said this:
No gay person has ever been barred from marching in any St. Patrick’s Day parade, anymore than the parade bans pro-life Catholics or vegetarian Catholics; they simply cannot march under their own banner. The parade has one cause: honoring St. Patrick. Those who disagree do not have to march—-that’s what diversity is all about. ... The parade is quintessentially Catholic, beginning with a Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It is this Catholic element that angers those who are engaged in a bullying campaign against the St. Patrick’s Day parades. The bullies also have nothing but contempt for the constitutional rights of Irish Catholics.
Yes, you heard him right. According to Bill Donohue, all those police and all those cheerleaders are marching in that parade strictly because of St. Patrick; and those who want gay people to march openly under their own banner in that parade are bullies, as opposed to those in the Catholic League who want to exclude gay people who publicly identify themselves from ever marching in that parade. What do you call it when oppressors think that they're the ones who are being oppressed?
Anyway, I guess Donohue decided he still needed to troll gay people some more, because afterwards he said he wanted to march in New York City's Gay Pride Parade:
“I said listen, ‘I want to march under my own banner – “Straight Is Great” – in the 2014 Heritage of Pride Parade. Do you agree? Do you want to let me do it or not?’ I’m waiting to see what they say.”
He probably thought the organizers behind the Pride Parade would say "No." But guess what?
Parade organizer David Studinski said Thursday he has no problem with Catholic League President Bill Donohue's plan to participate in the June 29 parade.
"His group's presence affirms the need for this year's pride theme, 'We Have Won When We're One,'" Studinski said in a statement. "Straight is great — as long as there's no hate."
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the gay-rights group GLAAD, said several straight and Catholic organizations have previously marched alongside LGBT groups, according to Newsday.
"As a fellow Irish New Yorker, I'm hoping Bill will march with me at NYC Pride," Ellis said.
Happy ending, right? The gay organizers show that they're more tolerant than the homophobe, and then everyone marches together at the end? Not so fast. Donohue responded this way:
Today, I informed Heritage of Pride officials that I objected to their rule requiring me to attend gay training sessions, or what they call “information” sessions. “I don’t agree with your rule,” I said. They responded by saying that attendance was “mandatory.” ... It is hypocritical for gay activists to complain about having to abide by the mandatory rules of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and then inform me that I cannot march in their parade unless I respect their mandatory rules, rules that I reject.
"Gay training sessions," you say? Wow, that sounds weird. What exactly goes on at these sessions, pray tell?
In a story on the GLAAD website, Studinski reveals what is involved in the “gay training sessions.”
“These trainings address line-up times, check-in locations, our moment of silence, dispersal activity, NYPD safety policies, attire and vehicle/sound permits,” Studinski says. “It is imperative that group leaders know this information.”
You know what? Maybe if people like Bill Donohue spent less time trolling the rest of us, the world really would be a better place.
Episode #665: A Landslide
First Broadcast: 4/7/14
The Washington Post summed it up quite succinctly:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued one of its most significant campaign finance rulings ever, striking down the overall campaign contribution limits that currently prevented individuals from contributing more than $123,000 to candidates and party committees per election cycle.
In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that individuals should be able to give the maximum per-candidate and per-party contributions to as many party committees, presidential and congressional candidates as they want. Under the current limits, individuals could give no more than $123,000 in total and $48,600 to candidates for the 2013-2014 election cycle.
The court did not strike down contribution limits per candidate (now $2,600) and per party committee (now $32,400), but the decision does overturn previous rules that restricted individuals from giving those maximum donations to dozens of candidates and several party committees.
So, hooray for freedom of speech, right? Why restrict the amount of money that someone can give out to candidates? I mean, it doesn't matter how rich or poor you are, because anyone can give away more than $123,000 in a year if they want, right? What's the problem? </sarcasm>
In other news, Hobby Lobby, the corporation that has argued before the Supreme Court that it has the right to not provide to employees insurance that covers contraceptives because they violate its religious beliefs, has actually invested "$73 million in mutual funds with investments in the companies that manufacturer contraceptives including emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs used to perform abortions." So, it's OK to tell your employees they can't have contraceptives because you object to them, but you can still make money off those same contraceptives because... money?? Fuck that shit.
Episode #666: Ghostly Stories
First Broadcast: 4/21/14
Repeated: 7/21/14; 2/9/15; 10/30/17
In this episode, we go back to our roots and go back on the street, this time asking various people in the East Village what they think of ghosts and the paranormal. Want to know what their opinions are? (The people, not the ghosts.) Tune in and find out!
Episode #667: Horseless Carriages
First Broadcast: 4/28/14
Repeated: 12/15/14; 4/27/15
Unintentional Repeat: 5/4/15 (Episode #699 was supposed to air instead, but MNN repeated this episode for an as yet unknown reason.)
After we discuss the National Popular Vote movement, we ask what I first asked on Twitter: Isn't it a bit hypocritical to let cops ride horses all over the city while opposing carriage horses in a park? You might already be aware of Mayor de Blasio's intention to ban horse-drawn carriages from Central Park, on the grounds that such activity is "inhumane." However, if that's the case, then wouldn't the entire mounted police unit of the NYPD be equally inhumane, if not more so? Not according to de Blasio, who says the comparison is "apples and oranges." Why doesn't the mayor have the same concern for police horses that he claims to have for carriage horses? It might have something to do with the carriage horse stables being located in the middle of "the largest private real-estate project in U.S. history," which would make their lots mighty valuable if they weren't full of horses and horseshit. It's pretty sad if our new mayor ends up being just as beholden to real estate interests as the old mayor, but you know what they say: The more things change...
Episode #668: Housing Emergency
First Broadcast: 5/12/14
In between digressions about comic book shops, we discuss Mayor de Blasio's plan to create more affordable housing in New York City. Does it really help out the middle class? Or is it still not enough if you're neither too rich or too poor in this town? We might not know the answer for a while, but it's good to ask these questions anyway.
Episode #669: Sidebar to That
First Broadcast: 5/26/14
The trial, conviction, and sentencing of Cecily McMillan occupies our thoughts this episode, for the very simple reason that this entire ordeal seems to send the following message to people: If you are sexually assaulted by an officer of the NYPD, and you defend yourself like a normal person, then you will be the one who goes to jail. Judging by the letter sent on behalf of 9 of the 12 jurors on the case to the judge asking for leniency in McMillan's sentence, I wonder aloud if jury nullification might have been a better course of action. After all, isn't the Zenger case--the case that's typically shown to incoming jurors as being the founding example of trial by jury in the United States--also a preeminent example of jury nullification at work? I also wonder if McMillan's attorneys had thought about polling the jury, considering how they didn't seem to be quite as unanimous in their verdict as they appeared. Here's hoping Cecily gets through her sentence in one piece, and succeeds in appealing her verdict in the future.
Episode #670: Lizard Brain
First Broadcast: 6/2/14
Movies! Specifically: Captain America: The Winter Soldier; The Amazing Spider-Man 2; and X-Men: Days of Future Past are three movies we've seen recently. We think most of the CGI in them still can't hold a candle to the practical effects seen in Aliens (among others), one of the best science-fiction films of the 1980s, if not all time. We talk about the use of dead actors' likenesses in movies, and wonder whether a dead CGI actor might have breathed some life into the Star Wars prequels when they were released. Lots to discuss, as usual!
Episode #671: The Smash Cut
First Broadcast: 6/16/14
Tonight, we talk all about the late Rik Mayall--who might be better known to most of you as "Rick" from The Young Ones--and how brilliantly bold The Young Ones was when it debuted in the 1980s, and how the series is still more innovative than a lot of current shows on TV today. Do you think the U.S. will ever produce a program that contains as much anarchic comedy as The Young Ones did? I'm still waiting...