Friday links! Best of all possible worlds edition

Mike Pence experiences God’s plan in Korea

Every time I get down about world events—like the United States elects a reality TV star to be its president instead of addressing historic inequality and the threat of environmental collapse, or whatever—I remember that we live in the best of all possible worlds. How could it be otherwise? As we know from reading the philosopher Huckabee, God controls everything. God is also perfect and loves us, so this must be the best world He could arrange. Sure, it would be nice if Noah Baumbach had Lena Dunham’s career instead of her, but then some kid in Chile would fall in love with his sister or something. Trust us—this is as good as it can get. Today is Friday, and non-deities shouldn’t expect so much. Won’t you reconcile yourself to this world with me?

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Struggling Lee Enterprises saves company with purchase of Indy

Lee Enterprises headquarters

As you may remember from late last week, scrappy media conglomerate Lee Enterprises has purchased the Missoula Independent, saving Lee from bankruptcy. Lee was already in bankruptcy back in 2011, because it spent $1.5 billion to buy Pulitzer, Inc. in 2005—a dark horse candidate for deal of the year, since News Corp. paid a mere $580 million for Myspace. Anywhom, Lee went broke buying newspapers. Now, like a fun and informative vampire, it must keep buying more newspapers to stay alive. But its waking nightmare of debt-service undeath is finally over, because it bought my newspaper.

The immense profits that the Indy generates will wipe out Lee’s debts in no time. After a few months of alt-weekly income, the Missoulian can stop writing rapturous features about Cabela’s, and the Beatrice, Nebraska Daily Sun can settle with the families of those kids from last year’s Thresher Days. We’ll all be rich—rich as newsmen!

By we, though, I mean everyone but me. Even a corporation as showered in gold as Lee Enterprises cannot justify my exorbitant fee. And don’t ask me to take a pay cut out of consideration for a mom-and-pop paper chain. My lifestyle simply could not bear it. Although nothing is certain now, I fear my days of making money hand-over-fist-over-emerald-strewn-coke-mirror might be headed to a halt. For all I know, this could be my last column. I excerpt here for posterity:

I know that when I got into this business, it was strictly for the cash. But over the last few years, I have developed an affection for you, the seemingly useless reader. Although writing this column provides me with enough money and drugs to deaden my connection to ordinary people, I cannot help but feel that we are in this together. We live in the same region, after all. Might it be too much to say that we belong to the same community?

I was too temperate to say so in print, but I’ll say it here: we do belong to the same community. That community belongs to Lee Enterprises now. May their two Missoula newspapers, the Missoulian and the Independent, remains as keen and incisive as the heads on a two-headed snake, and may that snake poop money for the rest of our wonderful lives.

Fallon’s “Panera theory” suggests Democrats do not have a plan

Democratic strategist and former Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon

Yesterday, Democratic strategist and senior advisor to the Priorities USA Super PAC opined on Twitter that “the path to retaking the House…runs through the Panera Breads of America.” He meant that Democrats should focus on affluent suburban districts that went for Romney in 2012 but showed substantial movement toward Clinton in 2016. The former press secretary for the Clinton campaign cited Georgia’s sixth-district special election, where Democrat Jon Ossoff will face a runoff in June but still got more votes than both of his Republican opponents last night. It’s important to note that Ossoff is talking about retaking the House, not winning the 2020 presidential election. In his interview with Jeff Stein of Vox, he acknowledges that Democrats should try to appeal to working-class voters then. But he seems convinced that his party should focus on moderate Republicans in 2018. Quote:

There’s no doubt in where you start in forming the target list — it will be those 23 districts that switched from [Mitt] Romney to Clinton that look a lot, demographically, like the one in Georgia tonight.

This strategy strongly resembles the one that Hillary Clinton pursued in the 2016 election, which she did not win. That rumbling sound you hear is Sanders Democrats across the country grinding their teeth. But as the interview progresses, Fallon explains that his remark only described one strategy among many—one he qualifies to the point of utter meaninglessness. It kind of sounds like he has no plan. Fallon’s overall message seems to be that the Democrats should keep doing the same thing they did last year, but win.

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How fake is Alex Jones?

Alex Jones and a cake shaped like a gun

The shocking fact you need to know about Alex Jones is that he’s 43 years old. What happened? Maybe yelling stretches your face out. Perhaps knowledge of vast conspiracies has overtaxed his system. Or maybe he looks like a 43 year-old who got mutated in a tanning booth explosion 53 years ago because only his character is forty-three. The guy who plays him is older. Did you not realize, as I had not, that Alex Jones of Infowars and The Alex Jones Show is a character played by the performance artist Alex Jones? That’s what custody claimant Alex Jones’s lawyer recently argued in Travis County District Court, in the matter of Jones v. Jones. I quote the Austin American-Statesman:

At a recent pretrial hearing, attorney Randall Wilhite told state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo that using his client Alex Jones’ on-air Infowars persona to evaluate Alex Jones as a father would be like judging Jack Nicholson in a custody dispute based on his performance as the Joker in “Batman.”

“He’s playing a character,” Wilhite said of Jones. “He is a performance artist.”

Hold the phone—is Alex Jones breaking kayfabe? Never break kayfabe. The only time it’s okay is when your kids are on the line, as in the 1980s WWF storyline where Macho Man Randy Savage pretended to break kayfabe by wearing a suit and appearing  in family court as Randall Saváge, but then his essentially macho nature broke through and he hit his kids with a chair. Anyway, if you ever wanted to pin down Alex Jones and ask him whether he believes all the conspiracies his show presents as news, now is the time in Travis County.

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Who will avert war: Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump?

Ballistic missiles on parade in Pyongyang Saturday

Two interesting things happened in North Korea this weekend. First, third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un presided over a parade to honor his grandfather Kim Il Sung. There were lots of missiles, including the ostensibly intercontinental Pukguksong pictured above. The next morning, apparently as a show of defiance as American ships approached the Korean Peninsula, the North tested another ballistic missile that failed within seconds of liftoff. Let that be a lesson to you, Kombat! Kids. When you become dictator of a secretive rogue state and want to show off your military might, schedule the parade after the missile test. Otherwise, you risk embarrassing yourself. On a completely unrelated note, here’s US President Donald Trump on his revised opinion of China’s relationship with North Korea, which President Xi Jinping explained to him over the weekend:

After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy. It’s not what you would think.

Ah, yes—our new president, who insisted throughout his 18-month campaign that China had absolute control of North Korea and its belligerent foreign policies, changed his opinion after considering the subject for 10 minutes. This news raises a fun question: Which of these egomaniacal stewards of his family empire will keep us out of war?

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