Friday links! April General Public Day edition

Persian actor/comedian K-von, who I guess appeared on an MTV prank show called Disaster Date. All the April Fool's images involved cats, but not the funny kind.

It’s April first, and you know what that means: time to meditate in solemn silence on the betrayal of mankind perpetrated by Pontius Pilate at the behest of his master, the Jew. No, I’m kidding—time to pour Malt-o-Meal into your spouse’s nose while he or she is asleep. As any child with oppositional-defiant disorder will tell you, April Fool’s Day is the best holiday, because you’re allowed to commit any act of deception and/or cruelty provided you declare afterward that your victim is a fool. If you don’t do that last part, it’s just a regular day. Today’s link round-up contains a variety of pranks, ranging from parody to completely serious actions undertaken as state-level legislation to David Brooks’s career. None of it is as good as K-von, though. His name is really Kevin, right?

The good news is the Republican Party hasn’t lost the nuanced sense of humor that made America love them in the first place, as this April Fool’s advertisement for Obama 2012 indicates. My personal favorite part is when they play the voiceover of the President promising to bring this country together over the image of Tea Party demonstrators protesting health care reform. “President Obama: It’s His Fault We Exist,” would be a great slogan for Michele Bachmann’s TP candidacy in the next election. Also, how many wars in oil-producing nations do we have to fight before gas prices come down? I am going to say that the image of the President riding a winged unicorn across the sky is funny, though.

It is not as funny, however, as the image of Steven Wise, the Florida legislator who has re-introduced a bill to require the state’s science teachers to offer a “thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution.” Seriously, look at him. There is a face that anyone who has been to the DMV knows not to argue with. You may also recognize it from your upbringing in a rural Mormon community. Of course, Wise is not trying to mandate the teaching of Christian beliefs about divine creation in schools. He’s just, you know, teach the controversy. “Why would you not teach both theories at the same time?” Wise said, regarding the accepted consensus of the world scientific community and another theory he calls, simply, nonevolution. “You have critical thinking in school. Why would you not do both?” He has a point, and the theory, “that’s really complicated; God did it,” should probably also be taught alongside other theories, such as why light bulbs come on and what caused the American Revolution. That way, kids will learn critical thinking.

Meanwhile, among other old people, the Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program has gotten so many applicants that it’s now closed to new participants. ERRP has already provided employers with over $1.8 billion to cover the health insurance costs of early retirees, giving said retirees a valuable safety net between now and the time they qualify for Medicare. The popularity of the program means that it is projected to run out of money by 2012, prompting Politico reporter Jennifer Haberkorn* to speculate that “critics of the law are likely to argue that it’s a sign the legislation was underfunded.” I am reminded of the old joke about how the food in this restaurant is terrible, and the portions are too small. Also, it’s too bad the Affordable Care Act didn’t include a comparable program subsidizing health insurance for the millions of Americans between 26 and 40 who aren’t retired, don’t get health insurance from their employers and won’t qualify for Medicare for another three decades, or one decade after it ceases to exist. Don’t worry, though—we’ll vote a President into office who will create that program for the Baby Boomers who will subsequently turn on him, and then we’ll pay for it. You’re welcome, most important generation.

It’s too bad I’m not a nationally famous hack, or I would have presented that idea in terms of two Americans: Connor and Larry. Connor is a 23 year-old child of Indian immigrants who gets his political news from Facebook, and Larry is a 61 year-old Vietnam vet who attends church and owns a plumbing supply company. Can you guess which famous hack these fictional characters parody? Thomas Nagel will give you a hint: “one doesn’t care what happens to them because in spite of Brooks’s earnest attempt to describe their psychological depths, they do not come to life; they and their supporting cast are mannequins for the display of psychological and social generalizations.” Boom, David Brooks! Nagel, an actual epistemologist who wrote a serious book about philosophy, has put you on blast. He has also done it in the New York Times book review, which is like having someone walk out of your guest room and punch you in the month. April Fools, dog.


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