From The New Yorker, by Sarah Hutto:
My house is on fire right now. Do you have any advice about what I should do?
Burning in Boise
We know you’re not going to believe us, but this is fine.
It’s a common misconception that fire is dangerous. But, if you’re still worried, we recommend making your own, stronger fire to combat the original fire that’s engulfing your home. The simple fact is that the only way to stop bad fire is with good fire.
Try lighting the bad fire on fire with your better, stronger fire, and you’ll likely find that your fire is winning. If that is not the case, you may need to upgrade your fire with gasoline to make it stronger than the original fire.
And remember, this is fine!
I’m allergic to bees. My doctor says that if I ever get stung by a bee I might die. Unfortunately, I just discovered a hive of bees in my bed, right where I sleep. Should I have the bees removed?
Anaphylactic in Annapolis
You say that you’re allergic to bees, but have you considered that it’s actually just their stingers that you’re allergic to? It seems unfair to punish all bees just because they all happen to have stingers that could potentially kill you. Keep in mind: it’s not the bees that will kill you; it’s their stingers. And it’s not the bees’ fault that their venom, which they are programmed to inject into you if they feel threatened, is fatal to you.
Face it, you’re just going to have to learn to live with the fact that there’s a beehive in your bed that can never be removed, no matter what some people say.
We suggest becoming non-allergic to bee stings. You might also consider growing your own venomous stinger and learning how to sting the bees back.
We know you’re probably thinking, But, N.R.A., I don’t like stingers, and I’m allergic to bee venom! I don’t want to be carrying it around all the time! But this is the only way you will have a fifty-fifty chance of surviving in your bee bed. You may even end up killing some bees in the process! Doesn’t that sound more empowering than simply relocating that hive?
I live in a city that gets very cold in the winter. I’m always chilly when I leave my house. Should I get a coat so that I don’t freeze outside?
Cold in Cleveland
No. A coat won’t change the cold, and it’s, of course, the cold that’s really the problem and not your lack of coat. Have you ever heard of Chicago? It’s very, very cold in Chicago, colder than any other place in America. Everybody in Chicago went out and got coats in order to keep warm, but that didn’t make their winters any warmer. And now they’ve got all these silly coats they have to wear. Meanwhile, it’s still cold outside! You don’t want to end up in a world where everybody wears coats all winter, do you?
If you truly want to warm up, you will have to change the weather. Get in touch with whoever is in charge of your weather and tell them you’d like it to be warmer. Until then, don’t leave the house when it’s cold.
And, no matter what, don’t get a coat, and don’t let your friends and family members get coats, either, because coats inhibit limb movement, and that’s just not what this country is all about.
Here’s a coupon for a space heater that will almost certainly burst into flames.
Hi! It’s me, Cold in Cleveland, again.
I actually heard that there are lots of cold countries that have found wearing coats outside very effective. In fact, it seems like, in pretty much every other cold place on the planet, everyone wears coats to stay warm. How do you explain that?
Well, aren’t you persistent?
You see, Carl, the thing about those other places is that—well, most of those places are very different from wherever you said you live, because their cold is a different kind of cold. Those other countries measure their cold in Celsius. Do you know what Celsius is? We do, and, trust us—it is not good!
That space-heater coupon expires in a month.
Trump’s crib sheet from his “listening” session with the parents and survivors of gun massacres in this country. How could he NOT remember to say that?
And what is up with the “45” on his cuff?
Can’t he remember what number president he is either?
From the Daily Kos, by Hunter:
Today was a big day in the Donald Trump campaign, as Hair Furor repeated his new idea for police to stop-and-frisk Americans on the streets in order to take their guns away. This would be precisely the sort of thing that the NRA and other American militia groups have been sending panicked newsletters about for the last forty years, but everyone appears to be in agreement that Donald Trump meant only black Americans so, as of yet, there is no panic in sight.
Ohhhh, of course.
From The Hill:
The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) top lobbyist said Sunday that Donald Trump’s assertion that the Orlando, Fla. nightclub shootings last weekend could have been prevented if club goers were armed “defies common sense.”
“No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms,” Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.
“That defies common sense. That also defies the law. That’s not what we’re talking about here,” Cox said.
Trump has repeatedly said in the past week at his rallies that armed club goers could have stopped the gunman, who killed 49 people.
“If in that club, you had some people, not a lot of people … but if you had somebody with a gun strapped on to their hip, somebody with a gun strapped on to their ankle and you had bullets going in the opposite direction, right at this animal who did this, you would have had a very, very different result,” Trump said Saturday at a rally in Arizona.
“John McCain must really be worried about his re-election race back home in Arizona, because he’s saying stuff that sounds calculated to rile up The Base instead of making sense. Thursday, McCain said — twice — that President Barack Obama was “directly responsible” for last week’s massacre in Orlando, before later backing off and claiming he’d “misspoken.” We’re still waiting on McCain to issue a further clarification explaining he has no idea what “misspoken” actually means.
While the president was in Orlando meeting with survivors and family members of those killed in the worst mass shooting in American history, McCain told reporters in the Capitol that Obama had pretty much pulled the trigger himself:
“Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama’s failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq,” a visibly angry McCain said as the Senate debated a spending bill.
“So the responsibility for it lies with President Barack Obama and his failed policies,” McCain said.
That’s some pretty impressive logicking! So what McCain is really saying is that George W. Bush also shot 49 people, because without his war of choice in Iraq, which destabilized the entire Middle East, there never would have been an ISIS to replace al Qaeda, which didn’t exist in Iraq at all until after the 2003 invasion. (Haha, we are kidding. It’s all Ike’s fault for sending the CIA to overthrow Mossadegh in Iran in 1953).
Ever the troublesome naysayers, the Associated Press points out that the shooter, Omar Mateen, did indeed claim to be working on behalf of ISIS. But he also claimed to be affiliated with al Qaeda and Hezbollah, which are both at war with ISIS in Syria. It’s almost as if the guy just rattled off the names of any radical terrorist groups that came to mind regardless of ideological consistency. (We mean Mateen, but it works for McCain, too.)
About 90 minutes after blaming the president for killing all those people in the Pulse nightclub, McCain issued a statement saying he’d misspoken, even though his words had been pretty precise, if stupid. This time around, Obama was still a terrible guy, but OK, maybe the actual shooter had something to do with the shootings:
“As I have said, President Obama’s decision to completely withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 led to the rise of ISIL. I and others have long warned that the failure of the president’s policy to deny ISIL safe haven would allow the terrorist organization to inspire, plan, direct or conduct attacks on the United States and Europe as they have done in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino and now Orlando.”
So that was nice of Sen. Snarly McGrumpyface: It’s still Obama’s fault, though not his direct fault. And maybe Obama’s evolving position on marriage equality made the shooter a self-hating gay man following a homophobic faith, too.”
From New York Magazine by Jonathan Chait:
“Rather than focus the scope of government targets, Trump proposes to widen it.
This idea undergirds his proposal to ban all Muslim immigrants and refugees. It also animates his lies that Muslim-Americans celebrated the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, and that Muslim-Americans in San Bernardino knew about the impending attack last summer but did nothing to stop it. It is the same thread that allows him to claim vindication in the Orlando massacre for his policies, which putatively would target only immigrants, even though the Orlando attack was carried out by a native-born U.S. citizen. Trump has defended his ban on Muslim refugees not merely as a tool to prevent terrorists from infiltrating the border disguised as refugees, but on the grounds that the entire Muslim population, peaceful and radical alike, is the breeding ground for a fifth column. There is “no way to screen [refugees], pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing.”
Extending his rationale to the second generation is an important and chilling expansion of Trump’s doctrine. He proposes to treat all Muslims as a suspect class of probable enemies. What Trump calls “political correctness” is simply the presumption that Muslims are mostly peaceful and, in the absence of evidence of hostile intent, have a right to equal treatment. As with most of his policies, Trump has left the details of his plan vague, but its overall contours are clear enough. The plan is to persecute Muslims.
There are two broad grounds for objection to Trump’s plan. First, there is the moral objection against discriminating against citizens on the basis of their religion and nationality. Trump would subject the vast majority of innocent Muslims to exclusion and discrimination in order to stop the dangerous minority. It is worth considering the conservative approach to this trade-off in contrast to its approach to gun control. Terrorists have increasingly turned to gun violence as their primary tool of mass murder. Currently, a person on the terrorism watch list is unable to purchase a seat on a plane, but they can buy an assault rifle. It would be possible to at least limit their access to dangerous weapons by strengthening gun laws. But Trump and his entire party reject any such measures out of hand. “They will try to exploit this terror attack to undermine the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms of law-abiding Americans,” wrote Cruz. Any imposition at all upon the rights of law-abiding gun owners is intolerable, while impositions upon the rights of law-abiding Muslims are fervently desired. The right’s calculation of which group should be inconvenienced, and to what degree, is governed by identity politics rather than strategy.
Then there is the practical objection: Since radical Islamists recruit allies by presenting the conflict as a division between Muslims and the West, any rhetoric that plays into the war-of-civilizations narrative aids their cause. What’s more, treating the Muslim community as aliens or with suspicion increases the number of radicals, and decreases the number of allies who will help identify extremists. This was precisely the strategy that inspired the Bush administration to carefully and extensively distinguish between Islam and the ideology of the terrorists who claimed to represent it. Six days after the 9/11 attacks, Bush told the world, “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.” In succeeding years, Bush repeated this message over and over. Obama has followed the same strategy, identifying terrorists as “thugs and killers,” and asserting, “We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
The post-Bush-doctrine Republican Party is no longer guided by an idealistic and impractical vision for defeating radical Islam. All it has left is a residue of fear and nationalism, ripe for manipulation by a demagogue. The logic of Trump’s conquest of the Republican Party is most glaringly obvious when it is splayed against the backdrop of the terrorist threat. He has taken control of an empty vessel and steered it toward its only possible course.”
“A militia group that is protesting the U.S. government has taken over a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Of course you can understand why they’re angry. It’s really not easy being a white man in Oregon.”