Friday links! Sudden onset of winter edition

lynxIt’s sixteen degrees in Montana, and word ’round the Combat! blog offices is that today’s bitter cold is part of some sort of pattern that might last for months. It seems like only a week ago we were in sunny California, kind of posting vague reminders that the outside world existed between bouts of eating and abruptly falling asleep. All that is like unto a dream now, as the cruel winds of the national zeitgeist or possibly just some regular geist howl and batter against our windows. It’s really sunny out there, too. That’s the worst. Fortunately, we’ve got the internet to keep us warm, and there’s enough absurd stuff going on out there to keep one burning with indignation throughout the sharpest cold snap. Except our toes. Our toes are going to be cold until April, and we just need to accept that.

Those of us who spent the week arguing on Facebook about whether the divine creation narrative of Genesis is fundamentally opposed to the pursuit of knowledge—and also taking the Which Member of Destiny’s Child Are You? quiz—will be heartened to know that not everyone thinks God made slugs, cavemen and killer whales in one afternoon 6,000 years ago. There are still atheists in this country, and they’ve taken out advertisements to remind us of that. The American Humanist Association (AHA!) will be running a series of ads on the Washington, DC metro, emblazoned with the slogan, “No God? No problem!” and encouraging people to “be good for goodness’ sake.” Similar ads ran last year, to the predictable consternation of those who feel we should be good to avoid physical punishment after we die. In what was perhaps the least thorough sourcing of a story ever, DC’s Fox affiliate interviewed two groundskeepers on the National Mall who approached them while they were holding copies of the ad. “I don’t think you should advertise stuff like that on the bus,” said one. “You are misleading people to believe there is no God.” And thus does the greatest logical chess match of our time begin. Also, the American Humanist Association must get a spokesman who does not wear his hair slicked back. Don’t they know that’s the universal indicator of evil?

Of course, Washington, DC is not the real America. In the real America, everyone has roughly the same belief system, and they’re not afraid to use the criminal justice system to keep it that way. To that end, private investors and officials in Wakita, Oklahoma have plans to build a faith-based prison. If Oklahoma can commit to sending 310 inmates, the city of Wakita will fund construction of the facility with a bond issue, at which point Corrections Concepts, Inc. will begin operating the prison at the low, low cost of $42.80 per inmate per day. I think we can all agree that the only thing that could make the for-profit prison industry even more appealing is if it had a religious agenda. “The staff, being all born-again believers, will see this as a mission,” said Bill Robinson, head of Corrections Concepts. “Ninety-eight percent of offenders are going to get out of prison. What kind of offender do you want living next door?” Ooh! I know—one who is acutely aware that his incarceration turned a profit for a private company, and who has been forced to convert to Christianity by the state of Okalahoma! I bet that will really mellow him out.

Whenever I get this angry at the joint machinations of big business, evangelical Christianity and small-town government, my thoughts turn to the one force in the universe that can make me even angrier: this bitch. Whether she’s grimacing in what facial-recognition software might mistake for a smile or talking about “hard work and patriotic values” as if it were a political position, Sarah Palin is the woman to watch—gradually destroy the country by uniting the very stupid. Seriously, she’s like the Pied Piper of racist plumbers in Carhartt jackets. Anywhom, she is not leading them by bus, as the publicity material for her Going Rogue tour would like you to believe. Despite her publicist’s claim that she would be “making two and sometimes three stops a day, traveling in a bus painted with the cover of her book,” and Palin’s Facebook promise to “post our progress from the road,” it turns out that the woman of the people is actually traveling by private jet. It’s cool, though—her support staff is still taking the bus, and Palin is flying in to meet them at each book signing, presumably in a plane that runs on objective correlatives. This story has had a lot of legs over the past couple days, and if Palin’s Twitter feed is any indication, she knows the secret is out. She’s been using the plane the whole tour, but note the difference between Tuesday’s entry (“On Going Rogue bus 2 Arkansas 2 sign books in morn;very inspired encourage u 2 join FIGHT 4 VICTORY&FREEDOM aftr mtg w troops tonite in MO”) and last night’s (Flying 2 Dallas now where bus meets us 2 get early start tomrrw w 1000s of good Texans who are lot like Alaskans: independent / bold / patriotic.”)

All’s fair in the FIGHT 4 VICTORY&FREEDOM, and if the American people need to be actively lied to in order to get them to vote the right way, well, that’s better than leaving them to decide things for themselves and maybe not do what you want. I’m pretty sure Thomas Paine said the same thing, and if he didn’t he meant to. In the spirit of Common Sense, the age traitors at have been running an internet ad claiming that, if health care reform passes, you can go to jail for not having health insurance. The ad redirects to this site, which includes the Question About Obama’s Health Care Plan, “If I don’t buy health insurance under the President’s plan, is it true I can be fined or even jailed for refusing to carry health insurance?” It turns out that the answer is no, not really. You can go to jail for refusing to pay your taxes, on which a penalty of up to 2.5% of your income can be assessed if you don’t have health insurance. I guess that technically means you’re going to jail for not having health insurance, in the same sense that under the current tax code you can go to jail for not being married. But Generation Hope doesn’t care about the legal fine print. We want VICTORY&FREEDOM, and we want it now.

Are you pissed yet? Has the current state of American discourse left a bitter taste in your mouth? Like any decent chef, I would never send you out into the course of your day without a palate cleanser. You need something sweet, so it’s time for the internet’s version of sorbet: cat videos. I cried the first time I saw this.


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