Rand Paul joins race to formalize American aristocracy

"Does this fit with my absolutist ethic of individual responsi—end the Fed!"

“Does this fit with my absolutist ethic of individual responsi—end the Fed!”

Rand Paul, son of Ron, scourge of government overreach and champion of that species of liberty which flows naturally from being somebody’s kid, has announced his candidacy for president. He joins Ted Cruz in challenging that guy who is the son of one president and the brother of another for the nomination to run against the wife of yet another former president. The tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with blood of the same type as whoever watered it before. But although his father has drawn a paycheck as a US Representative since he was 14, “Rand Paul has been fighting big government his entire adult life.” So says his announcement page, which mentions his father exactly once. He’s his own man. All his father gave him was a ready-made constituency, a bunch of contacts in Washington—which he despises as his sworn enemy, of course—and a famous name.

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Rick Perry releases final Iowa ad

If the last extant copy of this picture were inside a burning orphanage, I hope I would save an orphan.

You can tell a lot about a person by what they think will make you happy. If every time you fight with your husband he tries to give you a pretty necklace, yours may not be the relationship of mutual respect you want it to be. We’ve all known people whose attempts to please us are less nuanced than they think. Perhaps Rick Perry is no such cynical manipulator. Maybe he’s more like the aunt who took you to a Cubs game once and now sends you jerseys and Harry Caray biographies every Christmas. Whatever he’s up to, Perry decided this week that abortions shouldn’t be legal even in cases of rape or incest, then walked back his position to theoretically allow them when a woman’s life was at risk. He also produced his last campaign advertisement before the Iowa caucuses. Video after the jump.

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Friday links: Is this ironic? edition


Oh, irony. You are everywhere, according to certain people and pop songs, and yet you are so little known. While the strict definitions of irony remain cleanly delineated, popular usage now refers to any experience of bitter recognition as “ironic.” The expansion of the term tells us much about contemporary America, or maybe contemporary Americans. Like its mildly retarded cousin “sarcastic,” “ironic” has become a mode of being, a way of protecting oneself from the absurdity of This Modern World via a general disdain. That’s great for the lady in your office who just discovered Failblog. For those of us who are lifelong, committed ironists, however, the expansion of “ironic” is an infuriating appropriation. It’s like how Chuck D felt about Vanilla Ice. This Friday, we present the thin edge of the wedge: stories and situations that seem almost ironic but not quite, whose categorization as “irony” moves us one step closer to the dream of considering everything ironic and thereby eliminating irony altogether. Won’t you turn human experience into a uniform putty of bland derision with me?

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The Tea Party Republican debate in three juxtapositions

Michele Bachmann, one of several candidates to agree that Social Security must be reformed but kept exactly the same for the largest voting bloc in America

Last night’s Republican debate was the ninth of 53 such events between now and November 2012, so maybe it didn’t seem totally important to watch it. You can probably close your eyes and see Herman Cain railing against the reading comprehension level of US policy right now. Much like the individual Republican candidates, the Republican debates have a sameness that prevents each of them from seeming strictly necessary. Any one is like the cracker that falls out of the box of Triscuits. It’s therefore understandable if you missed last night’s debate, but it’s also a shame, because it turned out to be the Triscuit with a vague image of Jesus on it. The CNN Tea Party Express Republican Debate tells you everything you need to know about the Tea/Republican Party in three easy juxtapositions. Or one juxtaposition of three elements, which also yields three juxtapositions. Let’s just let the math/usage wash over us and watch videos.

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