Friday links! Spoonful of sugar edition

by danbrooks

The picture of Rick Santorum above is constructed from still shots of gay pornography. That’s why the Bible forbids us from depicting worldly things with images, as Santorum would tell you were his mouth not made entirely of twinks raw-dogging it in all holes. You’ve got to take the good with the bad. For example, our access to insane Santorum remarks and pornographic mosaics of his face is higher than ever before, but that comes at the cost of his maybe almost getting near the presidency. Don’t think about it; just look at the picture. It’s the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine et cetera, and this Friday—when all consumed must be dissolved in water and taken with medicine—it’s the guiding principle of our link roundup. Sugar after the jump.

First off, our idea of sweet around here is an obituary. This is maybe the best obituary ever, though. In addition to rowing across the Atlantic alone and then rowing across the Pacific with his girlfriend—you can decide for yourself which of those would be harder—John Fairfax used a pistol to settle a dispute with a fellow Boy Scout when he was nine years old, lived as a jaguar trapper in the Amazon, and apprenticed himself to pirates. He died a professional baccarat player, which is not as good as jaguars or rowing records but still pretty cool for a grandpa. No word yet on which super PAC he funded.

Okay, now for the chlorhexedrine mouth rinse: here’s Bruce Bartlett, former economist for Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, explaining why our present tax code “violates the fundamental principles of income taxation.” Be warned that Mr. Bartlett is extremely dry. He also neatly explains how we have constructed a system that heavily taxes labor and lightly taxes capital, across all income strata. If you are a wealthy plastic surgeon who makes his money from, say, putting bank bone in people’s jaws while they’re under heavy sedation and then telling them about it two days later, you give up much more of your income to taxes than does an investor who makes the same amount. Our “progressive” tax system doesn’t just go easy on the rich; it also goes harder on anyone who actually works, regardless of income. As Bartlett puts it:

We can see, then, that the tax system in the United States violates the fundamental principles of income taxation. Those are “vertical equity,” which says that those with upper incomes should pay a higher effective tax rate than those with modest incomes—as far back as Adam Smith, ability to pay has always been a core principle of taxation—and “horizontal equity,” which says that those with roughly the same income ought to pay roughly the same taxes.

That’s his concluding paragraph. You can see why the printed word is losing the contest for American attention, especially when it has to compete with stuff like this. Scroll down for maybe the best Michele-Bachmann-eating-a-corndog shot ever. It’s almost as good as the picture of Rick Perry holding an electric clippers and staring at a man’s head with his signature mix of confusion and determination, or Ron Paul’s series depicting the gestural library of a gnome. You can’t smile, because it’s not in the Constitution.

The Facebook pictures of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz are almost as awkward, but you can forgive him because he is from Iowa. In addition to looking like everyone I went to high school with, Matt Schultz actually did go to my high school. Now he is pushing a law that would require Iowa residents to show a photo ID in order to vote. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you consider that people without driver’s licenses or other photo documents tend overwhelmingly to be elderly, poor, students—in other words, people who vote Democrat. Schultz is pursuing his law in the name of reducing voter fraud. I asked him how many incidents of voter fraud occurred in Iowa’s last election, but he didn’t answer; instead, he banned me from commenting on his Facebook page. He’s done the same thing to everyone else who asked, too. If you want to do me a solid, take a second to write on his wall and ask how many instances of voter fraud occurred in the last election.

Chores, right? Once they’re out of the way, though, you have the rest of the internet for videos. Here’s John Oliver doing a brilliant takedown of conservative rhetoric and then blowing it, also kind of brilliantly, at the end: