Friday links! Near misses edition

A Russian burger establishment that bears no relation to McDonald's

If you’re like me, you keep a mental list of just events that might happen at any moment. Rick Santorum’s daughters will go to Smith. Candlebox will apologize. Everyone in the customer service department at Bank of America will leave his job to become a prostitute. Cats will have to work together. There are probably more pressing injustices than those, but I will take rectification where I can get it.* The thing about sudden conversions and comeuppances, unfortunately, is that they seem about to happen a lot more than they actually do. For every Mr. Scrooge there are a Richard Nixon and a T-1000, clutching their dicketry unto the very embrace of the grave. This week’s link roundup is full of near misses at the right thing. To someone who knew nothing of our culture, they would be indistinguishable from spontaneous expressions of goodness. To us, they are right form with exactly wrong content, like an ice sculpture in the shape of a hug. Won’t you almost feel elation with me?

First, the unthinkable has happened: Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have both publicly criticized Fox News for “bias and distortion.” Also, the in-retrospect-totally-thinkable has happened: Gingrich and Santorum criticized the network for liberal bias, particularly in its support for Mitt Romney. After years of conflating “liberal bias” with “does not support me,” the conservative narrative has finally turned on itself. Commentators complain that “Fox News is morphing into just another liberal voice.” The National Review is still taking flack for its December endorsement of Mitt Romney. And the word “objective” continues its transformation into a pure marketing term.

Still, at a certain point you have to call a spade a spade. The Catholic church has launched a systematic investigation into its clergy, citing “serious doctrinal problems” and “themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” Finally, the Vatican is cracking down on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents four in five American nuns. In addition to their “radical feminist” views, the nuns are under fire for contradicting church teachings with regard to euthanasia and abortion. The church is also looking into LCWR’s connections to Network, a Catholic social justice organization founded by nuns. Clearly, nuns performing unauthorized charity and suggesting that women could be priests are the biggest problem facing the RCC today. I quote my brother, who sent me the link, when I say come on, son, Catholic church leadership.

Also come on, son, Dutch Domino’s:


That scooter has been modified to play a recording of a human voice mimicking the sound of a scooter. It dramatically reduces the likelihood that the driver will hit a bicyclist and explode his scooter into a million pieces, although it does nothing to ameliorate the danger of someone getting Domino’s pizza in his mouth. Props to John for the link.

The good news is that Republican leadership is finally willing to talk about raising federal revenue via taxes. Specifically, Eric Cantor would like to raise taxes on the poor. The House Majority Leader revived one of the most irritating memes of 2011 when he reminded C-SPAN that 45% of Americans pay no federal income tax. “We have to question whether that’s fair,” Cantor said. “And should we broaden the base in a way that we can lower the rates for everybody that pays taxes?” Now that’s some prime-cut weasel, right there. We could lower the rates for everybody that pays taxes (now); all we’d need to do is raise taxes on the poorest half of America. The Republican plan to reduce poverty is the same as the Republican plan to reduce single motherhood: punishment.

It’s the exact opposite of the Fabolous plan, which relies on positive reinforcement:


According to Fabolous, there is a sign on his dick, and it says “help wanted.” Kids: you don’t really need to put a sign on it. Just having it out will get your point across. One video does not an argument make, but I think it’s safe to say that contemporary hip hop production is way more interesting and innovative than contemporary hip hop lyricism. But all of Fabolous’s questionable rhymes can be forgiven for his choice of t-shirt. Seriously—that is the drop of irony that colors the whole jacuzzi.

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  1. Southpark had an excellent episode where motorcyclists announced themselves with “rumble” vocalizations.

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