In giant metaphor, Cruz announces 2016 candidacy at Liberty University

Why shouldn't I be president?

Why shouldn’t I be president?

Ted Cruz has formally entered the 2016 presidential race, announcing his candidacy this morning at Liberty University. And what better analogue for his brand of conservatism than a college founded by a televangelist? As the Telegraph reminds us, Liberty University teaches that the Earth is 6000 years old and notes the “strong possibility that horses, zebras and donkeys are all descended from an original pair of horses that were on Noah’s Ark.” That’s only a possibility, though; we shouldn’t assume anything until we can do more research. Cruz is a Baptist, but he didn’t go to Liberty University. He went to Princeton. That, dear reader, is the senator from Texas in a nutshell.

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A big day at Combat! blog

Thursday (artist's conception)

Thursday (artist’s conception)

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but all manner of crazy stuff is happening around here. From my flight to Vegas at 5am tomorrow through the novel chapter I’m supposed to finish for Write Club to the power outage in my apartment, it rains and therefore pours. Combat! blog is busier than a one-armed man in a puppet show, so it’s a good thing we’ve got publications in other outlets to amuse you. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has already noted this week’s column about the giant peace sign vandals carved into the hills north of Missoula, inadvertently destroying a unique species of wildflower. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, karaoke at the bowling alley is the social contract in action. You can see off-key dilettantes or the sheer miraculous unlikelihood of the human voice—it’s up to you. I, for one, choose wonder. Not today, though—today I choose nothing but sedulous work, so that I might enjoy deferred fun this weekend. There will be no Combat! blog tomorrow. I’ll be on a plane. But you’ve got nigh on 2,000 words to amuse you over at the Indy, and if that doesn’t interest you, you can always read a little Black Walnut. We’ll be back Monday with more patience and a tan.

GOP issues “moral document” in the form of 10-year budget plan

Paul Ryan (R–WI) pretends to think about your birthday present, but you're getting an iTunes card.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R–WI) pretends to think about your birthday present, but you’re getting an iTunes gift card.

If you want to feel superior and depressed at the same time, read this New York Times story on the budget plan House Republicans submitted last week. The good news is that it balances the federal budget by 2025. The bad news is that it does so by assuming $147 billion in additional revenue from the “macroeconomic effect” of the budget itself. It also repeals the Affordable Care Act and the taxes that support it, but still includes $1 trillion in revenue from those taxes. Finally, it counts $1 trillion in savings from unspecified cuts to social welfare programs. Don’t worry, though: there’s a $40 billion increase in defense spending next year, couched as “emergency war spending” so as not to violate the 2011 Budget Control Act. We’ll find the war later. As Rep. Rob Woodall (R–GA) of the House Budget Committee put it, “A budget is a moral document; it talks about where your values are.”

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Ted Cruz to New Hampshire three year-old: “Your world is on fire”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R–TX), seconds before his charades team fails to guess "smarmy"

Sen. Ted Cruz (R–TX) and what facial recognition software would call a smile

Personality profiles often describe Ted Cruz as the smartest guy in the room, which makes him seem that much more cynical when he panders. Addressing a group of conservatives in New Hampshire Sunday, Cruz criticized “the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind” and said that “the world is on fire.” This remark alarmed three year-old Julie Trant, who was presumably having a great Sunday already, and prompted the following exchange:

Trant: The world is on fire?

Cruz: Yes, the world is on fire. Your world is on fire.


Cruz: But you know what? Your mommy’s here and everyone’s here to make sure that the world you grow up in is even better.

Even better than on fire? Somebody give this man control of the US government.

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Combat! blog meets deadline, is not otherwise useful

Robots print funny cultural criticism on screens at the Combat! factory.

Robots print funny cultural criticism on computer screens at the Combat! factory.

It’s Monday, and I’ve got a job of work to do before I can even think about such frivolities as Combat! blog. Obviously I’m shirking, because here I am thinking about it now. But in minutes I will hurl myself back into productive composition again, with nary an internet to distract me. There is no Combat! blog today, paradoxically because I am a professional writer. While I get that paper, how about you read this rad cowboy story by Stephen King, published in the New Yorker and brought to my attention by Ben al-Fowlkes. If you have extra time, you should consider the arbitrary distinction we were taught to make between genre and literary fiction, when “literary” is obviously just another genre. That’s a whole nother blog post for a whole nother time, though, and that time is not here yet. Maybe it will arrive tomorrow.