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Wednesday, Feb 22nd

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Republican Math Invades Europe!

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At first glance, it's a jaw-dropping shock -- and then, the longer you stare at it, trying to peer into its mysteries, it becomes even less real than that.  Like poking smoke rings with a fork.

And, quite a lot like the wildly erroneous math used in recent years by the GOP to justify pet projects while pretending things really -- wink, nudge -- add up.

It appears some of that same logic is seeping into Europe:  A woman in France received a telephone bill for almost 12 quadrillion euros -- about 9.25 quadrillion U.S. dollars.

Yes, of course, it's a goof -- one of the more spectacular ones, sure to join the ranks of other astonishing math blunders of its type, right up there with the more subtle, but equally eye-popping, misplaced-or-missing decimal point in the contract, or a spot where "or" should have been used versus "and," followed by billions in shaken foundations.

In this case, the dazzling math goof in phone billing was more than 6-thousand times France's annual economic output.

(Yep, sounds like the Romney-Ryan math team has been there, all right, advising company accountants and programmers.)

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Driving Reality and the Fireball Effect

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There are moments in life that make us gasp and seem to stop time in its tracks, submersing us in clear Jell-O -- and then time starts up again, at 1/20th speed.  All the while, at the restart, you know something is horribly wrong, and that you're in real trouble.

You've had those moments:  The tick of the clock when you feel the pit of your stomach leaves and falls through the floor, the temperature instantly plummets to sub-zero.  Yes, and the instant you're sure you're in a car wreck,  already in motion, patiently waiting for final impact.

Sometimes, it's the same feeling, but on a different scale:  The first time you saw initial impacts at the Twin Towers.  That first moment of hearing Kennedy had been shot -- both of them.

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Ancient History, Hot off the Presses

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Anything that happened yesterday is still news, while last month's headlines get sifted into the heap of modern-day discards.  If you want to reflect on the America of the 1940s -- or even the 1980s -- then you're obviously an archeologist on a mission.

Unless you're summarizing the most recent yak-fest -- the so-called presidential debates.  You remember:  The ones marketed by hucksters like cage matches from two new species only just now discovered in wildest Borneo.

You know:  The Distracted Professor versus the Gish Galloper Extraordinaire!

One way to reframe the lingering, post-event aftertaste:  You were watching a hot-air duel that could really have been broadcast skips on the chilled atmosphere from just after World War Two, colliding with torrid blasts from the Reagan era, when the hot air really got superheated and shoved around.

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The Conspiracy Widens

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Initial unemployment claims dropped by 30,000 last week to a four and a half year low. That's a lot of out of work people participating in the Muslim-Kenyan-socialist-anti colonial-fascist-liberal plot to destroy America by not filing for benefits in order to rig the unemployment number.

 

Layoffs are of course the result of employer action (quitting your job doesn't count), the employers that are, according to Romney, either lacking confidence (despite record profits and $5 trillion cash on hand) or going broke. Willard claimed in a stump speech that 1.4 million small businesses have filed bankruptcy, the real number is around 43,000. Willard was just having a Bain fantasy moment, even he hasn't destroyed that many businesses.

 

Leveraged Buyout Specialists like Mittens have destroyed 250,000 factories since Reagan de-criminalized the practice. This number doesn't include small businesses with under 50 employees that serviced the larger factories that the Pirate Capital operations like Bain have looted. Maybe Willard knows his career number really is 1.4 million, it's a little mental trophy he keeps. Just like any serial killer who keeps lockets of hair.

 

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Anybody Got a Golden Crowbar?

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There's nothing like a new survey on religion in America to boost hope on the one hand, then turn right around and immediately crush it in another.

For example, the number of people who express no affiliation with religion is now at its highest point, at almost 20%, or one in five Americans.  That figure's up 8% in just the last five years.

Before you head off to your coven or place of crystal meditation to celebrate the increase in those suddenly swooning to their senses, you should also know that 68% of the unaffiliated say they still believe in God.

Such is the history of the species:  Two sluggish, uncertain slumps forward, and one dazed, aimless bit of meandering back.

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Numbers are just a Theory

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The Numbers Deniers claim that the unemployment rate dropping below 8% is a vast government conspiracy orchestrated by the Muslim-Keyan-socialist-liberal-anti colonial-fascist in the White House. Their proof, the report was created using Arab 'numerals', we all know that real Americans would use Chinese made 'numerals' bought at Walmart.

 

To understand what is really going on requires some background, the initial jobs reports that come out each month are based on surveys, and are revised later as more data comes in. The job creation number is based on an employer sampling survey, and this number can be way off

from reality if the growth or decline is concentrated in a particular area.

 

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The Craziness of Keeping Sane

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If you've not noticed in this enchanting election cycle -- now heading into its eternal, unending, 19th year -- reality as we once knew it has dived into a hole somewhere, hiding out, on hiatus, with a shakily-lettered sign hung out that reads, "Go Away!"

While grim political candidates and their even-grimmer supporters are taking major psychotic breaks from reality, facts, and the truth, I'm content taking much smaller time-outs from this bat-guano-crazed world.

After the fever-dreams and sensory hallucinations of a long dizzy-dance with the flu, after all, it's good to be back on solid ground with the regular, everyday crazy stuff again.

Like pondering the world's most expensive shoe, a high-heeled number encrusted with more than a half million dollars of white diamonds stuck to it.  Sure.

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