Friday links: Let’s be real edition

Skin tone comparison! President Obama v. John Boehner v. leather chair (control group at left)

If you accidentally turned on football early, you might have seen President Obama rocking a joint session of Congress with his jobs speech last night. Here I should point out that I am not a trained economist. I am not even a gifted amateur. But regardless of whether the President’s jobs plan will actually create jobs, he finally put it in terms America needs to hear. Speaking of his, um, differences with the Republican party:

Maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box. But know this: the next election is fourteen months away. And the people who sent us here—the people who hired us to work for them—they don’t have the luxury of waiting fourteen months.

Shit just got real. The rhetorical centerpiece of last night’s speech was “you should pass this bill right away.” It’s no Yes We Can—it’s not even a Win the Future—but it challenges the House and Senate in a way that foregrounds their intransigence. It also maybe acknowledged Obama’s willingness to be a one-term President. I’m still here for another year, he said like Dad when you are seventeen. The implicit threat was that, with less and less to lose, he is going to become a meaner adversary. And Boehner wept held his face completely motionless.

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Internet has its way with Jon Kyl

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl on the set of his extremely unpopular children's show

If you are a regular viewer of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, which at this stage of American discourse are types of news, you probably already heard about Jon Kyl’s claims regarding Planned Parenthood. During debate on the Senate floor, Kyl said that abortion is “well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does.” That number turns out to be off by a mere 2900%; abortion is actually about 3% of what Planned Parenthood does, which puts them well below such organizations as Courtney Love.* Shortly afterward, a spokesman from Kyl’s office told CNN that the Senator’s remark was “not intended to be a factual statement.” See, Jon Kyl wasn’t lying: he was merely making a statement that he did not consider accurate but his listeners did, as part of a persuasive argument he conducted in his capacity as a United States legislator. The absurdity of this defense has not escaped the internet, and Senator Kyl has consequently achieved the highest grade of infamy possible in contemporary western culture. He has become a meme.

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