Magazine | February 7, 2011, Issue

Advice from the Media Experts!

Dear Experts:

I own a 1994 Chevy TrailBlazer with almost 100,000 miles on it. It’s been running pretty smoothly — I’m good about the scheduled maintenance and oil changes, etc. — but lately I’ve been hearing a deep rumbling from what sounds like the front driver’s-side wheel. I think it might be a loose or missing bearing, but I’m not sure what that’s going to cost me to fix, and I’m trying not to lay out a lot of cash right now. So, two questions: 1) What’s that kind of thing going to run to fix, if it’s a bearing? And 2) My wife refuses to drive the car in the meantime. I keep telling her it’s perfectly safe to drive and to shut up and get in the car. Am I right?

Blazer Driver in Missouri

Dear Blazer Driver:

A lot of cars with your basic profile and mileage eventually have bearing trouble, and fixing it shouldn’t run more than $200 or so, maybe a little more if it’s in a front wheel.

But it’s more likely, from your description, that the source of your problem is the incendiary political rhetoric coming out of the right wing in this country. We don’t know if you’ve attended any so-called tea-party so-called rallies — with all of the Nazi-era implications of the words “rally” and “party” — but it’s likely that this is the cause of the car’s “rumbling.” The car needs to be dismantled and sold as scrap metal to the Chinese.

Dear Experts:

Why doesn’t McDonald’s offer the McRib sandwich on a regular basis? It’s a popular menu item with me and my friends, but I’ve got to say: The disappearing act they pull with it is really irritating. What’s the story?

McRib Lover in Arkansas

Dear McRib Lover:

The McRib sandwich is, in fact, a hugely popular sandwich with the American public, and it’s one of McDonald’s most sought-after offerings.

Unfortunately, the angry and violence-inspiring rhetoric of far-right radio talk-show hosts has created a toxic and hate-filled environment that is just inhospitable to the regular presence of the McRib on the McDonald’s menu marquee. While we are not aware of their having mentioned the McRib specifically, their irrational and paranoid rantings — with all of the Nazi-era implications of the words “ranting” and “McRib” — have poisoned the national discourse to such a degree that the McRib cannot always be readily available.

#page#Dear Experts:

My wife and I are a double-income family. We have to be! We have two kids in college! LOL. Anyway, we are contemplating selling our home, and we recently heard from our tax preparer that if we sell in 2013 or later, we’ll be subject to something called a “Medicare tax” of somewhere around 4 percent on the “gains” we realize. Can this be true? And if so, what do you suggest we do?

Taxpayers in Alabama

Dear Taxpayers:

The experts in tax law we’ve consulted differ on the exact implications of the “Medicare tax” on real-estate sales in 2013. If you and your wife file jointly, and have a household income in excess of $250,000, it’s likely that this new “tax” — which isn’t really a tax but a revenue displacement and collection vehicle — will apply to the unearned-income portion of the proceeds from the sale of your home.

Our suggestion is to focus on the key reason that real-estate transaction taxes have risen. They are clearly the result of the hateful, violent speech coming from the Rush Limbaugh radio program. Limbaugh, in collusion with populist firebrand Glenn Beck — with all of the Nazi-era implications of the words “populist” and “firebrand” — have forged a culture of paranoia and irrational rage in their faithful acolytes, and the result has been the 3.8  percent tax on unearned gains from real-estate sales for households earning over $250,000.

Dear Experts:

It’s cold-and-flu season again! Help! Every year I seem to get whatever’s going around, and I’m laid up for days! I’ve had flu shots and I Purell the heck out of my hands — and my kids’ hands — several times a day, but it never fails: I get the runny nose and the scratchy throat and then Mom’s down for the count! What can I do?

Can’t Be Sick Mom in Oregon

Dear Can’t Be Sick Mom:

It’s hard to prove conclusively, but it’s nevertheless highly likely that Sarah Palin has infected the mucous membranes in your sinus cavities with her repellent and vile brand of political hatemongering. Since her controversial and angry debut in the divisive and violent political campaign of 2008, she has been spreading her dangerous and anti-intellectual ideas — with all of the Nazi-era implications of the words “ideas” and “cavity” and “mucous” — virally, through the nasal passages of otherwise unobjectionable citizens.

Rest and fluids, of course, are the traditional remedies. But as long as Sarah Palin incites the soft mucous membranes of your nasal passages to accept dangerous and debilitating political thought, we’re sorry to say that the common cold is here to stay.

Rob Long — Rob Long, Hollywood writer and producer, started his career as a screenwriter for the TV show Cheers. He is a regular writer for National Review, Newsweek International, and the Los ...

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