Close Readings: An alarming message from

You know that scene in Scanners where the guy's head blows up?

You ever seen that scene in Scanners where the dude’s head blows up?

Caption readers are hereby issued an apology for the compound movie reference. Link clickers are issued an apology for the quality of that video. And health insurance exchange customers are issued their usual packet of vague information and warnings. We also got an email beginning with this sentence:

You’re unique, so why should your health plan be any different?

Uh…[explodes.] Close reading of why this sentence is a threat to skull integrity after the jump.

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President appears on “Between Two Ferns”

That’s the president of the nation, not just California, appearing in a Funny or Die video with Zach Galifianakis. He would be the first sitting president to appear on an internet humor program, were it not for James K. Polk’s hilarious “What Treaty?” telegraph comedy routine with Sitting Bull. Still, it seems important that the president of the United States would do a low-budget video with a waning film buffoon. It’s something Reagan probably would never have—oh, wait.

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Does make Michele Bachmann look smart?


That’s Michele Bachmann on America’s Newsroom earlier this week, arguing that the problems with the website—along with questions about whether people can really keep their existing insurance plans—have vindicated the Republican Party in areas including but not limited to the October shutdown. “I hate to say I told you so,” Bachmann said, hating it, “but we all look like geniuses now.” The congresswoman from Minnesota then drew a quick sketch of a 100%-efficient heat engine before vanishing, possibly into time.

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Nerds build alternative to that works great



As a self-insured weirdo, I have been looking forward to the state insurance exchange feature of Obamacare for three years now. Unfortunately October 1 brought me no succor, as the federal insurance exchange website,, does not work. Even the way in which it doesn’t work does not work. The cycle of errors and try-again-laters sets in during the account creation phase, which is for some reason the first step. You can’t see the insurance plans in your area until you log in, and you can’t log in until the federal government figures out how to work the internet. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, three 20 year-old programmers have developed an alternative website that works perfectly.

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Dept. of Irony: Shutdown masked real failure of

Go ahead and dress up your dorky son as an Indian. You probably won't run into any.

Go ahead and dress up your dorky son as an Indian. You probably won’t run into any.

In the aftermath of this month’s federal government shutdown, a Washington Post-ABC poll has found that approval ratings of the Republican Party have fallen to an all-time low. Sixty-two percent of Americans say they hold an unfavorable view of the GOP, with 40% describing their views as “strongly unfavorable.” Eight in ten disapprove of the shutdown. Tea Party-identified voters overwhelmingly blame Obama for the shutdown, but mainline Republicans blame their own party almost as often as they blame the president. It’s starting to look like the promise of future budget negotiations wasn’t worth it.

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