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Sunday, January 16

A Few Things on a Sunday

While we buried the dead from the Tucson shootings and the conservatives tried to show that they were the New Jews (honestly, Sarah - "blood libel?" Don't you have Mansour read those goddamned tweets of yours?) or at least the new Muslims, some other things did happen this week.

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Tunisia is a country that, I'm sure, many Americans couldn't find with both hands and Google. Well, for the record it's a former French colony between Algeria and Libya, an oil producer and OPEC member, and it's had only two presidents since gaining independence in 1956. Now it has a third president, the Speaker of its parliament sworn in by the Prime Minister after President Ben Ali and his family fled the country for Saudi Arabia.

The causes of the revolution that toppled Ben Ali include high prices, a sagging economy, and a culture of official corruption that was pretty well entrenched. Apparently, food riots were the triggering event. Fighting continues, according to the BBC. Judging from the reactions of Tunisia's neighbors, Algeria, Libya and Egypt, this revolt is making the ruling regimes very nervous indeed.

Of course, Fox 'News' 'analyst' Neil Cavuto started daydreaming that the same kind of conditions could cause a rebellion here in the good old U. S. of A. And this was a guy who once ribbed Glenn Beck for his apocalyptic screeds. Neil, Neil, Neil - we have a democratic tradition going back to 1789, and a far more resilient economy. We also have freedom of speech and while we do have some corruption (mostly money and influence, with some sex tossed in for spice) I don't see it coming - unless, of course, the conservative wet dream comes to fruition.

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Flooding in the Australian state of Queensland has gotten so bad that two bull sharks were sighted - inland. That report is unconfirmed, by the way. Two people flooded out decided, bizarrely, to try and use blow-up sex dolls as flotation devices. They had to be fished out after the sex dolls lost turgidity.

Queensland is actually rather fortunate; they've only seen about 20 deaths as a result of the massive floods. Rio de Janeiro has seen over 300 deaths due to heavy flooding and landslides.

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In sports news, I went 3-of-4 on my picks in the wild card NFL matches, the only loss being the Saints-Seahawks game. I did not expect Seattle to win that one. So far this weekend I am 3-0 in the divisional games, with Green Bay and Chicago facing off for the NFC Championship. The Steelers beat the Ravens quite nicely, and now I've gone out on a limb and dared to hope that the Jets will win against the Patriots.

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The only reason for having a high-capacity magazine for a pistol is you want to kill as many people as you can. If not, then you need to learn how to use a pistol so you can aim that motherfucker. Any whisper of an attempt to dial back the availability of these magazines has triggered (see what I did there?) two responses - a run on the damned things, and the paid slaves of the NRA to start squealing that they won't even vote for that mild form of control.

A correspondent for the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency earned the ire of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs when he opined that madmen getting gay with guns is part of America. Gibbs huffily denied it, but the correspondent had a point. We have a lot of demonstrably crazy people wandering our streets, and most of them can pass the criminal background check for firearms ownership. When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail; when you have a gun, every problem looks like a target.

And, let's be honest - Americans love violence. We praise the hardest tackler in football, we fetishize our troops, we love guns and rate violent movies and media much lower than we rate sex. Could you imagine what our culture would be like if we rated a violent movie X and a sexy movie PG?

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Finally, in our Total Effing Loon Department, we have Sean Hannity, who finally paid attention to how much gas is costing per gallon to squeal on his "Great American Panel" that we could invade Kuwait and take their oil as a reward for chasing the Iraqis out of their country back in 1991. Of course, he also went full Wolfowitz and said that we should milk Iraq out of its oil for the same purpose.

Nice try at the faux (or is it now spelled Fox?) outrage, Sean my boy. Whoever's balls regularly rest on your manly chin must be proud of you. There's nothing more liberating that to come out of the closet and admit for all to see that you want the US to go pirate and start acting like the empire that one conservative analyst called our Republic back about ten years ago.

Well, Sean my boy, we no longer have that imperial reach. Thanks largely to the Bush Administration and the apotheosis of the military-industrial complex, we have two wars going on (one over ten years, the other nearly eight), an increasing number of our troops are on anti-depressants, and the rest of the world no longer trusts us. China's developing a ballistic missile capable - even with a conventional warhead - of destroying one of our capital ships with one shot.

These are just a few of the things I'm thinking about on this sunny Sunday.

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