You probably spent a lot of time this weekend reading or watching the news, even though the news is awful to absorb and too terrible to comprehend, because all of us want to know what happened, and how, and why, and what happens next. That's sort of our thing, in America: we talk about stuff, from the trivial (Kim Kardashian's butt) to the profound (is health care a right or a privilege?), and we do it freely and openly and, often, in partnership with our elected officials. There are probably several members of Congress who can articulate clear opinions about Kim Kardashian's butt.
So you can imagine our surprise when, after the tragic events in Newtown last Friday, we learned that we are not having a conversation about guns. The White House said it was not time to have a conversation about guns, and the president gave a tearful statement that made vague reference to taking "meaningful action," and finally last night he gave a speech at a Newtown prayer vigil, saying he would "use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens [...] in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this."
Okay. So are we having a conversation about guns, now? How about now? Are we doing it now?
The funny thing is, even before last Friday people were expressing opinions about guns. They did it on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and on their blogs and on op-ed pages and in magazines and self-published zines and on radio shows and television programs. Why, we have joined the fray a few times ourselves. Even this weekend, while everyone was asking if we would have a conversation about guns, we were having a conversation about guns: Louie Gohmert said we should arm teachers to prevent school shootings, Mike Huckabee said gun violence happens because "we've removed God from our schools," and over 140,000 Americans said we should "immediately address the issue of gun control through legislation in Congress."
This is a conversation. It's just missing a few voices.
BTW, we reached out to ALL 31 pro-gun rights Sens in the new Congress to invite them to share their views on @meetthepress – NO takers.
— Betsy Fischer Martin (@BetsyMTP) December 16, 2012
Still no word from the NRA feed since Friday morning. But I think their silence says more than any Tweet would.
— Jordan Gaines (@GainesOnBrains) December 17, 2012
Obama's gun control record illustrates a consistent failure to act bit.ly/VKHiXu
— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) December 17, 2012
Maybe instead of asking when or if we'll have a conversation about guns, we should be asking why more people aren't joining the conversation that's been going on for decades. As for those who say we shouldn't have this conversation, or that we should minimize this conversation, well, that's one giant load of bull-hockey, no matter how you feel about gun control legislation. Talking, unlike some other activities, never hurt anybody.
Tags: Barack Obama, Guns, Louie Gohmert, Mike Huckabee
You, along with 99.9999% of the nation, might have taken that second part as a given. But not Rep. Louie Gohmert…
"You don't have to be a member of the body to be speaker," Gohmert, of Texas, told the caucus during the closed-door meeting, according to a source inside the room.
His motion was not seconded by any other members, and House Speaker John Boehner was reelected by a voice vote, followed by a standing ovation.
I like to imagine a resigned Rep. Gohmert hanging back after the meeting ended and then walking over to open a coat closet in which Newt Gingrich sits hunched down alongside a bunch of forgotten umbrellas. "They didn't go for it," he says, as a hand slaps him across the face. A single tear shimmers down his cheek as he watches Gingrich storm off to drown his sorrows in Tiffany's trinkets. He flops into an empty wooden chair and sobs quietly to himself. Why, he moans, do we allow the ones we love to hurt us so?
That's what I like to imagine. It's also probably relatively close to reality.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: House of Representatives, John Boehner, Louie Gohmert, Newt Gingrich, Republicans
After Rick Santorum has endorsed Mitt Romney in the 13th paragraph of a late-night email and George W. Bush endorsed him through the closing doors of an elevator, Newt Gingrich upped the ante with his "I don't particularly dislike him as a person" tribute to the Republican nominee. It's all part of a broader phenomenon of Mittsanity that takes hold whenever Republican politicians try to articulate the inspiring dynamo that is Romney…
1. "I do think it's time for the party to get behind Gov. Romney. And she was reminding me Kenny Rogers sang, 'It's time when to hold 'em and time when to fold 'em.' Well I think it’s time for people to all get behind this good man." – George H. W. Bush
2. "So I'm not completely misunderstood…I'm not as excited as I am desperate." – Rep. Louie Gohmert
3. "Now Mitt is not a perfect candidate…He has a number of problems. It's hard for blue-collar families like mine to identify with him. It's hard for economic conservatives to identify with him. He needs to do more to reach out to the Latino community." – George Pataki
4. "I think he might turn out to make a surprisingly good president." – Newt Gingrich
5. "I'm for Mitt Romney." – George W. Bush, behind closing elevator doors.
Maybe it's just as well that Romney isn't strongly associated with unsavory characters like Bush and Gingrich, I mean, he's running for President for Pete's sake.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: George H.W. Bush, George Pataki, George W. Bush, Louie Gohmert, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich
Yesterday, in a 237-187 vote, the House of Representatives approved approved a chiefly Republican-backed plan to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, expand drilling offshore and open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration.
The "idea" is that drilling will reduce the price of gas and heating oil for American consumers. However, because I love Indecision readers, I made the above graph using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to illustrate why this stupidity can't possibly be the underlying motivation for this legislation. The graph tracks vehicle gasoline prices (taxes included) across several countries and lo and behold, spikes and declines happen at the same time, at roughly the same magnitude, in every surveyed nation. Almost as if there's some underlying factor, independent of each country's policy that determines price changes: the global price of sweet, beautiful crude.
Since the price of oil is set on global commodity markets, increasing the supply of Alaskan crude will impact prices in France as much as it will in the United States. And do we really want to despoil the American environment in order to lower French energy prices, when their country is already so efficiently powered by condescension and loathing (not to mention nuclear fission)? No, we do not.
So why are we doing this? Possibly, because there once was a man from Alaska/his colleagues wanted to shut him up faster…
Tags: Alaska, Animals, Conservatives, Don Young, Energy & Oil, Environment, House of Representatives, Louie Gohmert, Poetry, Republicans
Little know fact about this government shutdown people keep talking about: If the government is forced to close itself, everybody has to leave the country until Congress opens it back up again. Doesn't matter whether you file up into Canada or wait on the other side of the Mexican border wall. Or even if you just wanna wade into the Atlantic or Pacific. You just gotta go.
Oh, and don't bother hiding under your desk or in the tool shed. They'll find you. They always find you…
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Tags: Anthony Weiner, Chuck Schumer, Constitution, Democrats, Dick Morris, Eric Cantor, House of Representatives, Jon Stewart, Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann, Money, Paul Ryan, Senate, Tea Party, The Daily Show, Video