The new year is already off to a depressing start. The terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo left journalists the world over feeling angry and a little afraid, while early leadership struggles in Congress demonstrated just how hopeless the next two years of Republican congressional control will be for the American public.
Here's Banter's best pieces of the first week of 2015, including ruminations on both of the above and a few other choice topics:
Obama Ends 2014 By Not Killing Jobs As Unemployment Falls To 5.6%
The economy is now shuttling along so quickly that even Republicans are trying to take credit for it, somehow. Tommy Christopher points out that the Republican Party, which has had next to nothing to contribute to the government response to the Great Recession, can't possibly take credit for this:
"December marks 58 consecutive months of job growth, including 11 straight months in which 200,000 or more jobs were created, and that 5.6% unemployment rate is the lowest since June of 2008. Obamacare continued to not kill jobs in December, as 32,000 health care jobs were added, and for the year, the economy added 2,952,000 jobs."
Doctor Shows The Right Way to Deal With Parents Who Won’t Vaccinate Their Kids
Ben Cohen takes down the anti-vaccine nutjobs again with a little help from physician Russell Saunders (pseudonym), a contributor at The Daily Beast who tells parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids they won't shouldn't be expecting any treatment at his practice. Because they refuse to treat them.
"It may seem harsh, but as Saunders goes on to point out, why would you even bring your child to a doctor if you believed they were engaging in something harmful to your child? This would be like going to a Reiki healer for advice about a hernia."
Muslim and Catholic Fascists Agree: Cartoons Are the Problem
People who advocate violence in the name of religion got an odd ally this week in the form of the Catholic League's Bill Donahue, who seemingly excused the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo this week by proclaiming, "It is too bad that [editor Stephane Charbonnier] didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death ... had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive."
As Mike Luciano writes, that puts him in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with the radical London cleric Anjem Choudary, a medical school dropout who "retreated into the protective refuge of Islam where he would no longer be tempted by the siren song of alcohol, not to mention constrained by reality." Choudary made the same argument as Donahue -- that if people don't want to get murdered, they shouldn't insult the prophet, and the government should punish blasphemers so Muslims don't have to. Bullshit, Mike writes: "If Allah and Muhammad want their 'sanctity' to be 'protected,' let them do it themselves, and spare us the impotent editorials about how the fragile sensitivities of your dubious religious worldview were offended once again."
White House Response To Charlie Hebdo Attack Is Noticeably Different Three Years Later
In another analysis, Tommy Christopher charts the difference between the reactions the White House had to the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi in 2012. Obama's grown a little ballsier, in the way Tommy hopes we have to:
"Here at The Banter, we take more than our fair share of shots at sacred cows, and we’ve got a defiant streak that’s wider than Chris Christie’s orange sweater, and we’re even proudly publishing the very cartoons that ignited this terrorissy fit," Tommy adds, "I’m sure we all hope we’d be brave enough to stick our thumbs in danger’s eye no matter how close or real it got to us."
10 Things Republicans Should Stop Doing In 2015
But if they stopped doing these things, they wouldn't be Republicans! They'd be weird center-right types like they have in other countries that don't elect the hillbillies from Deliverance.
Nonetheless, Mike is right on every one of these points.
Louie Gohmert for House Speaker Because Comedy
Bob Cesca comes out and endorses Louie Gohmert for Speaker of the House for reasons I can't claim to disagree with: It would be really, really funny to see the representative best-known for looking like the angry sportscaster from Anchorman heading the Republicans in the House. Specifically, Democrats should want "this marble-mouthed gomer to ascend to the highest congressional post in the land where the entire nation will get a close-up view of his lobotomized gibberish."
"Of course he’ll never get there but, you know, dare to dream."