That Was The Week — Charlie Pierce sums it up.
Someone I know, and whose insights I trust beyond anyone else’s, said that, in terms of sheer news, this week was like no week she’d seen since 1968. The more I thought of it, the more I realized that she was right. The only thing that made this week different than that particularly horrible, but news-bloat of a year is that we did not have a major assassination, just an armed assault on the Canadian parliament, panic over an epidemic disease that is not remotely epidemic here, and another school shooting to top the whole thing off, all in the superheated context of an important midterm election. What’s even more sobering is how tightly all of these things are wound together in one complex knot of fear and confusion and doubt.
Not only does everything seem to be going all to hell at once, and in every direction, all of it seems to have caught our ameliorating institutions flatfooted. The media is struggling to keep up, where it is not trying to multi-task panic across a number of platforms. The president seems preternaturally calm, considering what’s going on, and considering the very real possibility that he will spend the last two years of his term with a hostile — and not altogether rational — Congress at his throat. For itself, the present Congress continues to be stuck firmly in the bog that the 2010 midterms created for it, when the country got together and elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. Most of them will get re-elected. Again.
For example, and as an illustration of how all of these things are tangled up with each other, I was thinking just this morning, “Gee golly gosh, what this whole Ebola thing needs is the reasoned input of Darrell Issa and the calming influence of the United States House of Representatives.” The Lord is good. The Lord provides.
“I think we all know that the system is not yet refined to where we could say it is working properly…When the head of the C.D.C. says you can’t get it with somebody on the bus next to you, that’s just not true,” Mr. Issa said, adding that a person carrying the virus could transmit it on public transportation by vomiting on another passenger.:
And then there was Trey Gowdy, who’s supposed to be pumping hot air into the Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! balloon, but who took off his kangaroo suit for the afternoon and favored us with his Sam Drucker imitation.
“Why in the world did the president pick a dadgum lawyer?” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, asked at the hearing, pointing out that Klain doesn’t have a background in communicable disease, infectious disease, or West Africa. “If this were an outbreak of people who don’t have wills in West Africa, or if this were an outbreak on contested elections in West Africa, then I’d say yeah, go hire Mr. Klain,” Gowdy continued. “But it’s not. It’s a medical crisis.”
Oh, put a sock in it, Gomer. Like you wouldn’t be saying the same damn thing if the president had put Hippocrates in charge. Would you like a list of highly qualified people whom the president has sent up into the monkeyhouse whom you and the other goobers wouldn’t confirm. Wait a second. I’ll get back to you after this Jason Chaffetz guy finishes his remarks.
“Why not have the surgeon general head this up?” Chaffetz asked in a Wednesday appearance on Fox News. “I think that’s a very legitimate question. At least you have somebody who has a medical background whose been confirmed by the United States Senate…It begs the question, what does the surgeon general do? Why aren’t we empowering that person?”
And we arrive, finally, at the deepest part of the tangle. We don’t have a Surgeon General at the moment. The president sent up Dr.Vivek Murthy as his nominee for the post almost a year ago. Murthy’s credentials are impeccable, Gomer. The reason he hasn’t been confirmed is that Murthy has been outspoken on the obvious fact that firearms in this country are a public health issue. Whereupon the National Rifle Association announced that it would be “scoring” the vote on Murthy’s confirmation, which was enough to scare the Congress into putting the nomination on ice. And, by the way, the only senator who has admitted putting a “hold” on Murthy’s nomination is Senator Aqua Buddha, the brogressive hero from Kentucky and The Most Interesting Man In Politics (tm/Time, Inc.).
“In his efforts to curtail Second Amendment rights, Dr. Murthy has continually referred to guns as a public health issue on par with heart disease and has diminished the role of mental health in gun violence,” wrote Paul in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “As a physician, I am deeply concerned that he has advocated that doctors use their position of trust to ask patients, including minors, details about gun ownership in the home… Dr. Murthy has disqualified himself from being Surgeon General because of his intent to use that position to launch an attack on Americans’ right to own a firearm under the guise of a public health and safety campaign.”
So we don’t have a Surgeon General at the time of Ebola because of the NRA, which has dedicated itself to making sure that there are enough guns floating around so that Jaylin Fryberg could get his hands on one and shoot up a cafeteria.
Several students identified the shooter as Jaylen Fryberg. Jarron Webb, 15, said the shooter was angry at a girl who would not date him, and that the girl was one of the people shot. He said he believes one of the victims was his friend since kindergarten. Freshmen Brandon Carr, 15, and Kobe Baumann, 14, said they were just outside the cafeteria when the shooting happened. “We started hearing these loud banging noises, like someone hitting a trash can,” Carr said. They heard screaming and yelling. “Once I knew it was gunshots, we just booked it,” Carr said. They eventually joined about two dozen kids inside of a classroom with police and FBI. Police told them to stay in there. “Everybody in the classroom was just freaking out crying,” Carr said. Eventually, they were told they could leave, and were loaded onto buses.
Isn’t it wonderful when news stories sing in harmony?
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