You know how I hate Link Salad, the laziest form of blogging, but these three items are insufficiently complex to serve as fuel for a full post. Enjoy.
1. As an avid reader of Autoblog – I like cars, as you can clearly see when I hit the streets in my 1999 Nissan Sentra with 160,000 miles – I've noted with interest that the sales of high-end luxury brands have been doing very well lately. Mercedes, Audi, and BMW, for example, all saw strong sales growth in 2011 despite not selling any vehicles under $35,000 (with most offerings well over $50,000 and some as high as $200,000). I kept meaning to turn this into a "So I guess it isn't a recession for everyone" post, but the NYT beat me to it by noting the strong demand for ultra high-end consumer goods ($2000 designer shoes, etc.) while Wal-Mart has had to introduce smaller packs of toilet paper for shoppers who lack the cash to buy the big 12-roll pack. The Brazilification of the American economy and society couldn't be more succinctly explained.
2. Anyone else notice that the U.S. is averaging a mass shooting (something like 7-15 victims) every week or two and it isn't even headline news anymore? A guy caps 8 people in the crown in Ohio and it's like Page E10 news these days. It's nice that we're so used to workplace rampages and general spree killings that they fade into the background of the news cycle, reported like the weather – and treated to the same degree of retrospective analysis.
3. David Gergen lays bare the pointless nostalgia and flimsy reasoning behind his peculiar brand of milquetoast Beltway elite consensus politics with this ridiculous column about how America needs a Winston Churchill. It's actually too stupid to be FJMed. Let's all close our eyes, have a glass of warm milk, listen to Paul Harvey, and pretend that any Leader, no matter how Great, could achieve consensus in the current political environment. Jesus Christ himself could be elected president and if he was a Democrat, the Tea Party would be hellbent on destroying him. We could resurrect Thomas Jefferson and our TVs would be full of shameless attack ads slandering him. It's amazing that Gergen can breathe with his head that far up his own ass.