fire

Spectacularly Apocalyptic

Detail of image from Weibo showing a massive industrial explosion behind highrise buildings; at least seventeen people are reported dead in the 12 August, 2015 blast.

And then there is the end of the world. Not literally, but nobody’s blaiming Tianjin survivors for thinking so; it would seem that’s pretty much what it felt, sounded, and looked like.

Powerful explosions rocked the Chinese port city of Tianjin on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, officials and state media said.

China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, said that at least 17 people were killed and that 32 were in critical condition. Chinese media reported that at least 300 people were injured.

Xinhua, the state news agency, reported that the blast occurred at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at a warehouse storing “dangerous goods” and that the explosion and fire touched off other blasts nearby. Local media reported that the strongest was the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT.

(NBC News/Associated Press)

Far be it for us to try to keep up with real time reporting, but this one is pretty spectacular, and we all will be hearing much more about this in the next days’ headlines. Injury numbers have soared as high as four hundred.

Our best wishes to Tianjin.

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Image note: Apocalyptic horror ― Detail of image from Weibo showing a massive industrial explosion behind highrise buildings; at least seventeen people are reported dead in the 12 August, 2015 blast.

NBC News and Associated Press. “Blasts Rock Chinese City of Tianjin, At Least 17 Reported Killed”. NBCNews.com. 12 August 2015.

The Rand Paul Show (Chainsaw, Chuckle, and Sigh)

'Now why was that?'

This is … well, okay, we might suggest this is interesting, but only the way an obvious joke might be when it occurs that you haven’t yet recognized it. A brief chuckle, then a sigh.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) released an intense new video on Tuesday where he appears to be literally destroying the US tax code.

Paul has made tax reform central to his presidential campaign. To draw attention to his plan, Paul is asking his supporters to vote how they want to see him shred the current tax system.

The options for his supporters are: chainsaw, fire, and wood chipper.

(Campbell)

2016 GOP presidential nomination campaign advert showing Sen. Rand Paul using a chainsaw to destroy the tax code.  The junior Republican senator from Kentucky is asking fans to vote for how he should destroy the tax code, by fire, chainsaw, or wood chipper.  (21 July 2015)There really isn’t much to add. After all, it’s Rand Paul doing something stupid to beg for everyone’s attention while he reminds us how much he hates taxes. Maybe next time he could try being a bit more original. Like, you know, having a point. Or being something other than a predictably petulant brat. I mean, he could try being intelligent for once, perhaps … if, you know, that isn’t asking too much of the man.

Or, you know, perhaps that’s not fair. In the reality television show known as the 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination Super Fun Happy Patriot Time Show … er … ah … yeah, we’ll work on that title. That is to say, this year spectacular is the new black.

Goddess grant, that sounds even worse than usual. You know, can we finally be done with assertions of the new black? I mean, black is black is black, and the only reason orange, or pink and silver with brown, or whatever the season demands, must necessarily be the new black is because we can’t be bothered to think of anything more intelligent to say.

To wit, the point being that the theme of this year’s Republican nomination contest would seem to have something to do with necessary sensationalism. It’s kind of an open thesis right now, observing the question of candidates playing to national polls instead of early state voters, and also the fact that Donald Trump is in the race and pretty much basking the overwhelming chatter and noise drowning out his competitors. Some might wonder about the dignity and assertion of presidential demeanor about publicity stunts involving maniacal wielding of chainsaws, but this is also the 2016 Republican presidential nomination contest. Spectacle is the rule of thumb, and watch the candidates pander for attention. In a way, Rand Paul chainsawing the tax code makes perfect sense. Nor is that a justification; Republicans did this to themselves.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Rand Paul Show.

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Image notes: Top ― “Now, why was it?” Mamimi loses her train of thought. (FLCL, episode 1, “Fooly Cooly”) Right ― Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wields a chainsaw for a campaign advertisement, 21 July 2015.

Campbell, Colin. “Watch Rand Paul literally shred the US tax code with a chainsaw”. Business Insider. 21 July 2015.

A Title in Lieu of a Really Awful Pun

Read. Chuckle. Laugh, groan, cry, rage, whatever.

Jessie Opoien of The Capital Times explains the soul-cringing punch line:

WisconsinIn an undated letter unearthed by the liberal group One Wisconsin Now during the August release of documents from the first of two John Doe investigations related to the governor, [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker responded to a letter from Milwaukee attorney and chairman of the Wisconsin Center District Franklyn Gimbel.

Walker told Gimbel his office would be happy to display a menorah celebrating “The Eight Days of Chanukah” at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, and asked Gimbel to have a representative from Lubavitch of Wisconsin contact Walker’s secretary, Dorothy Moore, to set it up.

The letter is signed, “Thank you again and Molotov.”

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Opoien, Jessie. “The political pitfalls of cultural crossover: Scott Walker edition”. The Capital Times. 10 December 2014.

See Also:

Walker, Scott. “Letter to Franklyn Gimbel”. (n.d.) Madison.com. 10 December 2014.