Friday links! Totally fair systems edition

From the Tumblr "Selfies With Homeless People"

From the Tumblr “Selfies With Homeless People”

What an improbable collision of historical trends is this selfie with a homeless person. First, we have to invent camera phones and a culture that encourages us to point them at ourselves. Then, we need an economy strong enough to make personal camera phone ownership nearly universal, but also weak enough that many people have to sleep at Taco Bell. If you can synthesize all that in a lab setting, I’ll give you multi-finger dollar-sign rings. Today is Friday, and it’s so weird that it must be perfect. Won’t you pull up the ladder with me?

First, the good news: everyone loves Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who was re-elected Monday with 94% of the vote. That margin makes him pretty much the most beloved democratically-elected leader in history, which is weird because Sudan is doing not great. Mayhaps his opponents split the vote. I quote the Times:

Fifteen largely unknown candidates ran for the presidency against Mr. Bashir, Sudan’s leader for the last 25 years, and the only sitting head of state under indictment for genocide and war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

The Times was not clear about whether any heads of state are currently under indictment for genocide or war crimes. Regardless, the election’s low turnout is considered a setback for Bashir, who hoped it would bolster his standing in the international community. I suppose he’ll have to content himself with being an entrenched warlord.

Meanwhile, among other people who have profited from human conflict, MMA judge and stunt coordinator Doug Crosby is under fire for failing to report a conflict of interest with Al Iaquinta, whose fight he scored in April. Crosby is rumored to have a longstanding feud with Iaquinta’s coach Ray Longo, to whom he was found to have sent “numerous letters and cards” by the Garden City, NY police. Crosby denied these findings to MMA Fighting, adding that “I would venture to guess that my attorney is going to have to discuss that with the athletic commission at some point in the near future.”  You may also remember Crosby from 2010, when he scored BJ Penn v. Frankie Edgar 50-45 for Edgar.

But it doesn’t matter if you favor one person at the expense of another, because a rising tide lifts all boats. Sooner or later, the advantages enjoyed by the rich will benefit the rest of us, generally in the form of us working for them. The Onion reports that Reaganomics has finally trickled down to Area Man, in the form of a ten-dollar tip at the car wash. The journey that ten dollars made—beginning with increased defense spending in 1983 and progressing through the savings and loan collapse, dot-com boom and a Sotheby’s auction—is all the more trenchantly satirical for being basically real.

Meanwhile, certain members of the Party of Reagan are doing their damnedest to end the scourge of birthright citizenship. I refer specifically to Steve King (R-IA), who warns that the authors of the 14th Amendment “did not contemplate that anyone who would sneak into the United States and have a baby would have automatic citizenship conferred on them.” This argument is misleading, since the federal government automatically confers citizenship on anyone born in the United States, not on anyone who gives birth here. That’s probably a good policy, since otherwise we would be building a permanent underclass of people who were born here, are citizens of no other country, but are also not protected by US law. King, however, does not seem to believe that all natural-born Americans should be US citizens, saying:

I’d suggest it’s our job here in this Congress to decide who will be citizens, not someone in a foreign country that can sneak into the United States and have a baby and then go home with the birth certificate.

King has also suggested that he shot a raccoon with a pistol as it tried to get into his house. Ours is an unforgiving system, even for animals. But it’s the ones at the top who suffer most. Meet Henri, the cat afflicted with ennui:

Monster props to Jodi for the link. Even amid these broken systems, certain offices are administered perfectly.

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