Guidelines for April Fool's Day Jokes

April Fool's Day is an important holiday that is our duty to observe and engage in fully. Designing and executing a successful and distinctive April Fool's Day prank is not something one just does willy-nilly the night before -- sometimes you plan them as much as TWO nights before! Here are my guidelines for pulling off a high-quality April Fool's Day experience:
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The Pieing of William Kristol

I always look forward to seeing the speakers that my alma mater, Earlham College, brings to Richmond, Indiana because they often bring perspective, insight, and experience that you just can't otherwise get living in a small Midwestern town. Tonight's event was no different: William Kristol (neo-conservative pundit, editor of the Weekly Standard, Bush/Quayle advisor, and member of the American Enterprise Institute) would be giving a talk entitled "America's Foreign Policy After 9-11" on campus free to the public. I appreciate that Earlham makes the effort to bring speakers and thinkers like Kristol who are so diametrically opposed (e.g. Ann Coulter) to so many members of the Earlham community on campus to present alternate, challenging and often infuriating points of view. And I usually appreciate that the Earlham community handles these encounters in such a principled and respectful way.

Oh wait, did I just say "principled and respectful"? I must have made a horrible mistake somewhere, because at tonight's talk, about 30 minutes into Kristol's speech, a student-looking person got up on stage and smacked Kristol square in the face with a pie.

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To alleviate the hazards of old age...

In January 1935, President Roosevelt submitted a proposal for "Social Security" to the Congress. The draft legislation is introduced as "a bill to alleviate the hazards of old age, unemployment, illness, and dependency..." It is entirely fitting, I think, that the U.S. government would classify old age as something hazardous, dependency as something to be alleviated. That characterization is consistent with the role of government, as so many of us see it: to take care of us when our abilities as an individual are not sufficient, and to help us survive when we require the help of our fellow citizens.

But I am glad that there are enough problems with the Social Security system that the level of public debate about how to "fix" it is increasing.
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