The White House confirmed last night that President Obama and the First Lady will head to Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday for a memorial service for the six people who lost their lives in the weekend’s deadly attack. A slam-dunk, Vegas lock nonpartisan prediction: The president will make a four-second offhand comment about the prevalence of guns in society, Fox News will air it 12 times in one hour, the right-wing echo chamber will declare “FIRST THEY CAME FOR YOUR HEALTHCARE, NOW THIS SOCHALYST IS COMING FOR YOUR GUNS” and we’ll all be talking about the nonsense side of gun control for a week. Mark it down. This is how politics unfolds during the Obama presidency. Every time.
There’s a very real debate we need to have in the wake of an overtly disturbed 22-year-old who got denied by the Army and kicked out of college somehow buying a semiautomatic weapon as easily as a pack of smokes. But we won’t have that debate. But we never have the debate we need.
[Creepy] The mischievous smile, the freshly shaved head, the blackened left eye…that’s about as creepy a picture as you’re going to find. Jared Lee Loughner appeared in court on Monday, and as expected, he’s been remanded to federal custody without bail. His next hearing is January 24th. More details are emerging about this troubled shooter — like how he’s a registered independent that didn’t vote in the 2010 election.
[You Betcha] Monday’s Yakfest on The View produced a strange result: Barbara Walters said she feels bad for political celebrity Sarah Palin that her name’s been dragged into the shooting as a result of her famous “crosshairs” map “targeting” Congresswoman Giffords. This came on the heels of Politico.com asking whether Palin had been owed an apology. There are roughly 746 snarky jokes and 1,207 over-the-top partisan zingers to be made at Palin’s expense, so we’ll leave this one with no comment.
[Milk Money = Drug Money] Should sixth graders be drug-tested at school? One New Jersey town thinks so: “A proposal to conduct random drug tests of young students in one New Jersey town is raising some eyebrows. Students at Belvidere Elementary School could be adding drug testing to their list of lessons when they move into middle school. The Board of Education will vote Wednesday on a plan to randomly test sixth, seventh and eighth graders to see if they are under the influence of drugs. School administrators said they were confident the proposal would pass.”
[Down in the Flood] Australia’s Queensland state over the past two weeks has experienced flooding of Biblical proportions. The crisis has claimed the lives of 18 people and left many more missing. The latest in this series of floods hit the town of Toowoomba, killing at least 10, with 78 people reported missing. To put these floods in proper perspective, the tropical downpours that have hit Queensland over a more than two week period covered an area in the state the size of France and Germany combined. Here’s some footage from the scene in Toowoomba, just an incredible sight to behold:
[Glenny’s Got a Gun] In the same way that today might not have been a good day to stop sniffing glue, yesterday might not have been a good day to click on the Glenn Beck random image generator. Angelo Carusone, the one-man media watchdog behind @stopbeck and StopBeck.com (who was recently hired by Media Matters for America) snapped this incredibly unfortunate screen grab that juxtaposes Beck’s words of non-violence with his photo-shoot poses with a gun.
(Oh, and make sure to check out this 2001 clip of Beck saying he’d like to beat Rep. Charlie Rangel and some other folks to death with a shovel. Stay classy.)
[SEC Wins BCS Again] For the fifth straight year a team from the powerhouse SEC has won the BCS Championship. This year, Auburn University beat the University of Oregon 22-19 on a last-second field goal, set up by the brilliant running of freshman Michael Dyer. Strong defenses outplayed both teams’ dynamic offenses, and both Cam Newton and LaMichael James were held in relative check. For a game that didn’t provide many offensive highlights, the lingering thoughts over at The Big Lead this morning involve the hotness of the Oregon cheerleaders and Erik Smith’s cheap shot. Fan’s reaction:
[The Mike Vick Government] Wait until the PETA folks get wind of this government ploy: A Swiss village is threatening to euthanize dogs whose owners don’t pay the annual pet tax.
[Stop: Hammer Time] Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay spent 22 years in the House of Representatives. Now he’ll be spending three years in prison on money laundering and conspiracy charges. There’s a “Dancing Behind the Bars” joke in there somewhere. Lemme know if you got it.
[Odd Lede of the Day] Gonna be tough to top this one: “A 25-year-old Roanoke County man confessed he fatally shot his grandfather in the face with a 9mm pistol, then went to sleep naked with the murder weapon, a police detective said today.” Here are the two strangest parts of that story: The dead man, James E. Kirby III, is described as a “truck stop preacher,” and he’s only 28 years older than his grandson. Oh, okay, three things: Kirby’s friend quoted in the story is named Johnnie Tickle. Strange.
[Three Little Words] Probably the three words men least want to hear: “Colonoscopy Device Unsanitized.” Yup, that’s gotta be pretty high on the list.
[iPhone Film] Steve Jobs, thrilled today: “A movie claimed to be the first ever cinema-standard film to be shot solely on the iPhone has been premiered by celebrated South Korean director Park Chan-Wook.”
[More White Powder] Northeasterners digging out from the last storm will be digging out again: “Along Interstate 95, from Philadelphia through New York City, this will be a major snowstorm, but probably not an all-out blizzard. However, it will be worse than this past Friday-Saturday snow event. In Philadelphia, from 4 to 8 inches of snow is forecast. From New York City to Hartford, 6 to 12 inches of snow is expected. From Providence up through Boston and Portsmouth, there is the potential for 18 inches.”
[4Guys1Guitar] We’ll leave you with this impressive hipster effort:
That’ll do it for Tuesday’s edition of Hype AM. Don’t forget to share it, recommend it and pass it on. If, of course, you find yourself a little more informed this morning. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.