Friday links! Cycle of vengeance edition
We’ve done it now. The Democratic Party obstinately insisted on making only most of the Bush tax cuts permanent, and because of their defiance, the wealthy right is through with this little charade we call America. No more Mr. Nice Plutocrat, tipping waitresses and confirming cabinet nominees and not shooting us 30 times in one minute. The rancid, grubbing beggars who compose 98% of this godforsaken country will finally see the true anger of the rich and be made to, you know, kneel before Zod. We can only watch it happen. It’s Friday, and the people who have almost everything are keen to recover their losses. Won’t you join the cycle of recrimination with me?
First the bad news: Jeff Sessions (R–AL), last seen cursing the bankruptcy of Hostess, has blocked the nomination of would-be Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Slate expects that his caucus will also block Chuck Hagel, the former Republican representative tapped for Defense Secretary. Both of these filibusters can be accomplished without the filibustering senator actually speaking or even remaining present in the chamber, prompting Democrats to again call for filibuster reform. Props to Mike for the link. Why is this run at reform different? Because on the “first day” of Senate business—which somehow is scheduled to continue until January 22—the body can adopt new rules via a simple majority. Democrats have that majority. Whether they will finally act like it is one question, and whether they should is another entirely.
The important thing is that no one make any laws related to guns, ever, lest the people who already have several guns use them to murder us. That was the argument Tactical Response CEO James Yeager advanced in a video on Facebook and YouTube, where he threatened to “start killing people” if the president adopts new gun control measures. At what point does a heavily armed minority of the electorate, parts of whom exercise outsize control over the lawmaking process and other parts of whom periodically kill strangers en masse, stop being a constituency and become a social problem? Probably when they threaten civil war and mass murder if they don’t get their way—a part of his message Yeager quickly removed. Not quickly enough, though.
Meanwhile, in the other kind of argument, The Onion has continued its genius campaign of gun satires. Even admitting that gorillas are inherently funny and any article that uses the word “gorilla” fifty times is going to work, I think they’ve really done something here. Quote:
“After seeing yet another deranged gorilla just burst into a public place and start killing people, I decided I need to make sure something like that never happens to me,” said 34-year-old Atlanta resident Nick Keller, shortly after purchasing a 350-pound mountain gorilla from his local gorilla store. “It just gives me peace of mind knowing that if I’m ever in that situation, I won’t have to just watch helplessly as my torso is ripped in half and my face is chewed off. I’ll be able to use my gorilla to defend myself.”
The beauty of the fake news format is that is is both discursive and narrative, so The Onion can exploit not just rhetorical irony but dramatic irony as well. “I want to make sure that never happens to me,” says the witness to a gorilla attack as he purchases a gorilla. It’s effing perfect.
Also 2012 was the hottest year on record. It probably won’t be for long. The peak effect of man-made climate change is likely to come after we have started to do something about it, and as of 2013 we have done approximately bupkis. Obviously one year doesn’t mean much, as any climate change denier who suddenly accepts the validity of statistical analysis will tell you. But almost every scientist agrees that the Earth is getting hotter, and we just had the hottest year since we started keeping track. Maybe we should address this thing before it gets out of hand.
Or maybe we as a group should determine that it’s not our fault because we can’t even be sure it’s happening. Then we wait for the disaster and inevitable rise of a strong leader who will do something for us—someone like, oh, I don’t know:
They’re not all gems, but the flying Batmobile music redeems the whole thing. It’s your hits that count, not your average.