Gunpocalypse Now

Imagine that after budget cuts force the dismantling of all law enforcement in your area and a natural disaster destroys any semblance of society, a horde of crazed cannibal zombies comes down your street, heading right for your door so they can kill and eat your entire family. Don't you want to be sufficiently armed to hold them off? You may say this is an unlikely scenario, but that's because OH MY GOD LOOK BEHIND YOU!

This is the message National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre wants to impart to America, as he explained in a recent op-ed in Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller: The apocalypse is coming, and if you're toting a gun with a piddling ten-round magazine, you're done for. "After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia," LaPierre wrote. "Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all." This may not have been the actual experience of people who lived through Sandy in New York (according to the NYPD, crime was down after the storm, and there were only sporadic reports of looting), but if you're concerned with "facts" and "sanity," you'll never be prepared for what's coming. 

"Nobody knows if or when the fiscal collapse will come, but if the country is broke, there likely won't be enough money to pay for police protection," LaPierre goes on. "Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It's not paranoia to buy a gun. It's survival." And he didn't even mention the strong possibility of invasion by hostile aliens from the planet Zogflerx! The Zogflerxians would love nothing more than for us to be unprepared when they come to enslave us. 

OK, so Wayne LaPierre is a nut. But he's a nut to whom hundreds of members of Congress listen, and he's pretty confident he'll be able to turn back any attempt to make even the most modest changes to our gun laws. And he could well be right.

So They Say

"Let me tell you something. The Hispanic voters in Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico don’t give a damn about Marco Rubio, the Tea Party Cuban-American from Florida. You know what? We won the Cuban vote! And it’s because younger Cubans are behaving differently than their parents. It’s probably my favorite stat of the whole campaign. So this notion that Marco Rubio is going to heal their problems—it’s not even sophomoric; it’s juvenile! And by the way: The bigger problem they’ve got with Latinos isn’t immigration. It’s their economic policies and health care. The group that supported the president’s health care bill the most? Latinos.”

 —David Plouffe

Daily Meme: Hey Girl, Welcome to My Great Society

  • Happy Valentine's Day! In honor of the holiday, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library thought it would be a great idea to release the 1934 love letters of the former president and his lady (bird) friend.
  • Too bad they're less Shop Around the Corner, more Dawson's Creek pen pal club. To wit, this LBJ-penned signoff,  "I’m lonesome. I’m disappointed but what of it. Do you care?"
  • Dear Lyndon's angsty refrains aren't helped by his idea of a romantic gift for your valentine: a tome titled Nazism: An Assault on Civilization.
  • Oh wait ... it turns out she wanted the book? What a fun couple. 
  • Other sentences that pull the heartstrings? Lady Bird's disapproval of LBJ's use of the past tense and sarcastic and cruel things Lyndon said ... what kind of love letters are these?!
  • Don't worry though, other presidents fare far better in the love letter archives.
  • Thomas Jefferson's letter to a married British lady ranks high up there with its literary dialogue between his head and heart. And, his has a secret weapon: French!
  • Ronald Reagan one-upped V-Day with his saccharine missives: “Feb. 14 may be the date they observe and call Valentine’s Day, but that is for people of only ordinary luck. I happen to have a Valentine’s life, which started on March 4, 1952, and will continue as long as I have you.”
  • John Adams wins steamiest correspondence with his demands for lots and lots of kisses, since he claims he's doled out, like 3 million smooches already. (Good thing he used these obviously inflated numbers far before he passed the Alien and Sedition Acts...). 
  • The Bad in Hindsight Award goes to Harry Truman, who wrote in a letter to his wife at the tail-end of World War II, "I like Stalin."
  • Mitt Romney may have failed to win the heart of America on more than one occasion, but he had no problem winning the heart of Ann with his sexy sand art.
  • But now love is dead. Barack and Michelle Obama just tweet at each other. Oh well, it had a nice run.

What We're Writing

  • Ossification may turn to fossilization for a Republican Party clinging to a set of principles out of step with everyone outside a corporate boardroom. Steve Erickson thinks the GOP will cannibalize itself before there's any kind of renewal. 
  • Gershom Gorenberg has the story of the Israeli's Prisoner X, the long history of state censorship of the media in Israel, and why, in the age of the Internet, silence is as golden and unobtainable as El Dorado.

What We're Reading

  • Nate Cohn explains why gerrymandering is not the chief reason Republicans are protected in safe district fortresses.
  • Frank Rich writes that Marco Rubio could have lessened the collateral damage of water-gate by reaching for a beer.
  • The Economist wishes you a happy Valentine's Day with its graph of death.
  • The simplest mechanic in microeconomics is that wage floors (like the Federal Minimum Wage) create unemployment, and raising them (like Obama proposed at the SOTU) creates more unemployment, and it's always the most cited reason for opposing minimum wage hikes. It also doesn't happen
  • Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran (not Ayatollah Khomenei, he's dead) said that he's perfectly open to negotiations—as long as the U.S. stops drone-striking, computer-virising, scientist-assassinating, and crippling-sanctioning the country. 
  • In a turn of events that has surprised no one, Lindsey Graham has announced his concrete plans to filibuster the nomination of Chuck Hagel in the Senate. He's been joined by his longtime collaborator, the lifeless and desiccated husk that used to house the soul of John McCain.
  • Republicans have been bad on immigration for a long time, but it might not be all their fault. The conservative groups that are lobbying against reform may be more radical and more repugnant than even most of the GOP originally realized.
  • The Koch-backed super PAC Freedomworks went all The Shining on itself and had an intern in a panda suit pretend to fellate an intern in a Hillary Clinton mask. Oh, and embezzlement and corruption and total insanity.

Poll of the Day

Rasmussen reports that 55 percent of Americans think that cutting the budget deficit will do more to improve the economy than would spending on clean energy, education, and/or infrastructure. Unfortunately, Keynesian economics and the history of every economy ever shows that exactly those three types of spending would help us the most (and that running a debt hasn't ever caused crowding out in the United States). But whatever, we lowered the deficit this past year anyway, so recovery's coming tomorrow or something, right?

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