Colbert: watch out for “egg McMansions”

In discussing a recent stance by Iowa House member Steve King, Stephen Colbert suggests chickens don’t deserve McMansions:

Now, King is fighting a California law that would give egg-laying hens more room in their cages and trying to keep it from becoming national law.

“Damn straight,” said Colbert. “This is just another case of the left-wing loons in California imposing their deviant values on the heartland. I’ll bet those California chickens don’t even have to be married before they have an egg.”

The law mandates that a poultry cage must measure 200 square inches, which Colbert called an “Egg McMansion.”

“This is a chicken Xanadu,” he said. “It’s way bigger than the cages I keep my interns in.”

Two quick thoughts:

1. It sounds like Colbert is primarily hinting at two traits of McMansion. First, they are big homes. They have lots of space. For chickens, that apparently equates to 200 square inches. Second, also suggesting the homes are like Xanadu also plays out the wealthy and luxurious aspects of McMansions.

2. Since Colbert is poking fun at King, this might be the commentary: conservatives and others might want themselves and other Americans to have the opportunity to own McMansions and large homes, but they don’t want to extend these privileges to other living creatures.

Colbert shines light on U.S. prison labor

A recent segment on the Colbert Report has brought attention to Unicor, a U.S. government entity designed “to employ and provide job skills training to the greatest practicable number of inmates confined within the Federal Bureau of Prisons”:

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Forcing people to work jobs that pay as little as $0.23/hour seems disconcertingly tantamount to slavery.  And it’s probably important to note at this juncture that the 13th Amendment simply does not apply to prisoners:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction [emphasis added].

The U.S. also imprisons more people than any other country on earth, and minorities are disproportionately likely to be incarcerated (see, e.g., this December 2011 DOJ report, see especially Table 3 in the appendix).  Taken together, this state of affairs is alarming.  To put it mildly.


The theology of Stephen Colbert

On his show, Stephen Colbert can be irreverent about faith and God. But in a segment from his December 16 show, Colbert brings up a recurring question: with which American political part would Jesus side? Playing up his conservative act, Colbert suggests Jesus is really a liberal Democrat and that means we need to take the Christ out of Christmas.

But in his closing statement, Colbert makes a more profound point:

Because if this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then just admit that we don’t want to do it.

An interesting set of choices.