From Katie, some of the countless best of the year

1)Up with Chris Hayes drops systemic analysis on Penn State

Because the post highlights a much-needed critical, thoughtful perspective, which challenges the sensationalism and irresponsible journalism which dominates our media and manages to focus on2) because Jos becomes the 438th person I know to claim Chris Hayes as her boyfriend.

Chris Hayes, my morning talk show boyfriend, dedicated an hour of his Saturday show to the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. Hayes is joined by a great panel: The New Yorker writer Rick Hertzberg, University of Texas visiting scholar Victoria M. Defrancesco Soto, former Brooklyn District Attorney and Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson, and The Nation‘s sports writer Dave Zirin. They look at the way powerful institutions breed this sort of corruption and evil, drawing links with the scandal in the Catholic Church. There are also smart explorations of some of the class and race dynamics at play. The full hour is an important contextualizing of this scandal within some larger systems of power.

2) Video: Homeless family occupies foreclosed home in Brooklyn

Because it is inspiring and features an adorable little boy who is already an organizer and already trying to drink coffee.

Alfredo Carrasquillo: Due to the fact that there’s countless homeless people in the street, including me and my family, we’re here to fight back and let the government know–and the big banks know that they’re not going to take advantage of our communities no more. So you see the family right here. So..Tasha. And just let it be known–this is the first time that they’ve ever been involved in anything like this. So that goes to show you–you don’t have to have prior experience to do this kind of stuff.

Son: Daddy!

Alfredo: My son right here has never been in front of a camera, but he loves the camera. And I think that’s all that matter. [To son: No you cannot have coffee.]

Tasha: That’s constantly what he asks: Are we moving again, Mommy, are we moving again? They’re really young so they don’t really know too much of what’s going on. I just want a place for me and my kids. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with that. Why y’all have foreclosed apartments? Should y’all be fixing it up and giving it to people like us?

Alfredo: The real criminals are Wall Street and the big banks who are foreclosing these homes and leaving people homeless and in the street and in the shelter. We’ve gotten alot of support from Occupy Wall Street and other organizations involved in this work and with their assistance, we were able to do outreach and speak to people in the community and gain their support on this. And most people out here agree with what we’re fighting for. For example, Dee and Teresa who lives here.

Teresa: Making everything work together. Not just for one person but for everybody. So it’s important that whatever we have to help somebody else, give it.

3) Florida Gov Rick Scott refuses to pee in a cup.

Because it’s a great example of the subversive political potential of comedy and because we are ultimately protected from having to watch Rick Scott pee.

Rick Scott, the unpopular Florida Gov who recently signed a law requiring welfare recipients to submit to a drug test before receiving their benefits, got a taste of his own medicine yesterday when The Daily Show‘s Aasif Mandvi confronted him at a press conference and demanded a urine sample.

It’s a good joke–and it could even become a real policy initiative. Apparently, Georgia State Rep. Holcomb has introduced a bill requiring all state lawmakers to be drug-tested as well, saying “if required for the poor, we [lawmakers] need to do it, too.” Sounds fair. Alternatively, of course, we could just end the war on drugs, stop criminalizing poverty, and demand our lawmakers quit wasting time with such nonsense.

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Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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