Sunday, December 10, 2006

Santarchy Rules DC

Yesterday was Santarchy in DC, and all of us Santas has a most excellent time. We handed out candy canes, sang Christmas carols, told ribald holiday jokes and generally rocked it North Pole style. Oh, and there was some festive libation consumption as well.

Here's me preparing myself in the men's room. Note the white beard paint, laboriously applied:

And here's me exhausted, intoxicated, and with the white washed out of my beard. After a long night, it's good to be home.

The rest of the photos can be found here for the camcorder shots, here for Treo shots, and here for the those taken by my friend Jason. Merry Everybody!

And then there was this shot, taken by guest photographer flickr-rickr:

Girl Santa on Girl Santa action - sure to ignite a few holiday fantasy parties around the region. Straight men, lipstick lesbians and red velvet fetishists rejoice!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Sickness of the Mind

My one-time colleague Jesse Walker recently marked the passing of director Sid Davis, a man best known for some of the weirdest 1950s educational films you've probably never seen. There was once a big market, going back to the 1930s, for classroom films that told moral lessons to young people - think Blood on the Pavement and those charming anti-sex films that warned kids about the danger of foolin' around outside the bonds of holy matrimony.

One of his real gems is a little jaunt called "Boys Beware," which broached the topic of balding older men in American sedans who troll public parks for teenage male companionship. Davis uses the film to communicate an important message about the sickness of homosexuality. As the narrator explains, "a homosexual is a person who demands an intimate relationship with members of their own sex." My, those homos are demanding, aren't they?

Sure it starts with a free Coke, a weekend fishing trip and some miniature golf. But before you know it, you're a dead kid with only a newspaper headline to announce what has happened.

"One never knows when the homosexual is about. He may appear normal, and it may be too late to discover that he is mentally ill."


Monday, November 13, 2006

Fresh off the Kill Floor

So I went to an advance screening of Fast Food Nation at MPAA offices here in D.C. this morning, at it was one of the oddest movie experiences of my life. Because I wasn't going to be the one writing about it, I didn't do much advance reading about it, and ended up assuming it was going to be a Super Size Me-style documentary version of the Eric Schlosser book.

Not quite. It was an oddly star-filled drama starring Greg Kinnear as a (mostly) well-meaning fast food industry executive, Wilmer Valderrama as an exploited illegal immigrant from Mexico and Bruce Willis as an evil meat supply middleman. As my colleague Peter said, it was a target-rich environment for mockery, as it took its cliched lefty verities with great seriousness. A scene where a foursome of earnest young eco-activists cut through a fence to free a herd of cows was especially hilarious.

The real evil guys in the movie are the (unseen) executives of the local meat processing facility which provides tainted hamburger patties to the fast food industry. In addition to the manure in the meat is the ever-present danger of severe injury to the workers. The plant in the movie is depicted as being a workplace deathtrap; at one point one of the characters describes severe injuries as happening "every day."

Which made me wonder - just how dangerous is the meat processing industry? And how dangerous compared to other lines of work? It turns out that working in meat processing is fairly dangerous - workplace injuries are much higher than average for all private employment - but that shouldn't be terribly surprising given that it's the only industry in which dismemberment is the primary workplace goal. I did notice however, that there are more dangerous lines of work. Beet sugar manufacturing, for example. Much more dangerous. And roughly as dangerous as being a slaughterhouse worker is being a courier. That's right - bike messengers are the real heroes.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Corporate Welfare Explained

Introducing Crasher Mariachi as the voice of reason:


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Immigrant Song

The immigration debate, in a nutshelll:


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Live Blogging Election Results

Reaction to the midterms (through midnight or so) is over at Bureaucrash, co-starring the Prof. himself.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gettin' Religion

Democrats? Republicans? Personally, I worship at the alter of None of the Above.

Limited Government?

I'm not really a Democrat, but I play one on YouTube. And you though Mac ad parodies were just for these guys.

Remember, Remember

In which an American does a fake British accent while reading a monologue written by a Swedish intern, imitating an Australian actor who played a mutant superhero in a movie made from a comic book. In any case, here's to civil liberties.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

SEJ 2006 Panel

Video of a panel discussion on how global warming is covered by the media in the U.S., recorded in all its shaky, uneven glory at the 16th annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Burlington, Vermont.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Minimum Wage Video

I'd like a job:


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Stop African Foreign Aid Now

There was a brilliant presentation today at the Cato Institute by Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda on how foreign aid is hurting Africa. Yes, billions of dollars in international loans and grants does not help poor Africans. Sounds wildly counterintuitive to Bono-philes, but Mwenda makes an extraordinarily compelling case.

See also Paul Theroux's excellent op-ed that appeared in The New York Times and in the (London) Sunday Times on "How Bono aid is making Africa sick."


Newsmaker Interview #1: Jeremy Lott

Newsmaker Interview #1: Jeremy Lott

It's the first of the Newsmaker Interviews with author and journalist Jeremy Lott. Filmed at lunch in Bravo Bravo in Washington, DC and unfortunately interrupted by a change in seating arrangements. Filmed by Jason, with the crowd of Greg, Peter and Erin hovering about. In two parts.



Wiping Away Santorum

Like a lot of people, I don't particularly care for Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Thus, it's good news that one of the best political insider publications around is predicting that come election day, he's dead meat:

Republican strategists do not expect to save Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), whose numbers hover around 40 percent, or Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), who is in roughly the same position. Democrats are far enough ahead in Montana, and have a strong enough statewide organization, that they have pulled out their money.

Santorum trails not only in the polls but also in cash as the final days approach. Only a complete meltdown by his opponent, state Treasurer Bob Casey (D), could save him. People really dislike Santorum. Even though he always comes off as vastly more knowledgeable and intelligent than Casey in every debate, his responses are abrasive, sparing no nasty comment for his opponent. Santorum appears frustrated that a man like Casey is beating him.

The "if the election were held today" reckoning, by the way, has the Republicans losing 20 House seats and 4 Senate seats, thus losing control of both chambers.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Human Race Splits!

The Human Race Splits!

This story
is fascinating; apparently in the future humans will become "giants between 6ft and 7ft tall." Hmmm...I'm between 6ft and 7ft tall. Does that mean I'm from the future?

Also, all this talk of future humans with bigger penises, pert breasts and coffee-colored skin (though not, assumably, all at once) reads more like an unusually clinical letter to Penthouse than it does genetic research. One wonders what portion of his research time is spent studing DNA polymerase analysis and how much is dedicated to figuring just exactly how much bigger future penises will be. I'm guessing 50/50.

Thanks to Peter for the link.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bureaucrash Video Contest

The Prof. and the rest of the Bureaucrash players announce our first ever pro-liberty video contest:

Release the Spiders

Link to my Technorati Profile.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mace Deployed on Capitol Hill

Photo from today's edition of Roll Call, showing an assistant to the House's Sergeant-at-Arms getting his mace on. Representatives from the SCA were unavailable for comment.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Biotech for the People: Part II

It's GM foods for another round. This time, be on the lookout for Prof. Scammington's evil twin plying his trade in moody Castle Mendel and on the Bureaucrash couch:


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Biotech for the People: Part I

Vodcrash 4 takes on food and genetically modified agriculture. Props to my man Greg Conko on his first appearance on the Bureaucrash couch. With special bonus video of idiot anti-biotech protestors!

Move Over Ahmedinejad

I knew it had to happen eventually. Ted Turner is attempting to become an atomic power: "Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, CNN creator Ted Turner and former Sen. Sam Nunn pledged $50 million to ... create a uranium stockpile." How very Heinlein of them.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Smoking is Healthier Than Fascism

Vodcrash 3 is up and awesome. Featuring a World War II-era newsreel report from the Bureaucrash vaults:


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reaching for that YouTube Fame

Better late than never: Here's Vodcrash 2.0 from last week. Co-starring the editorial talents of Head Keep an eye out for those fast-rolling credits at the end.

Vodcrash 3.0 wrapped filming today, this time with me in front of the camera, so keep checking back.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Augustus Gloop's Non-Union, Mexican Equivalent

Who can resist the story of Kenosha, Wisconsinite Darmin Garcia and his brush with a rich, chocolatey death?

Oh, and mean-spirited hoots for all the lame-os who blogged this story with some version of the "Death By Chocolate - For Real!" headline.


Monday, August 21, 2006

If a Cartoon Cat Jumped off a Bridge...

British TV regulator Ofcom wants to keep certain Tom and Jerry cartoons off the air because they inlcude the unacceptable behavior...of smoking. So repeatedly trying to murder one's fellow house dweller gets the thumbs up, but occasionally rolling a cigarette gets you banned in the UK.

Reminds me of this long ago post.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Guarding Against Outbound Traffic

The Guardian has a story today on 15 of the most influential websites in the 15-year history of the web. Fascinating, right? How would I have otherwise known, after all, that had been influential in the online world? But here's the inevitable dash of MSM lameness: despite listing the urls at the top of each site's summary history, none of them are hyperlinked. Because apparently after you've read the Guardian's 200-word description of a website, there would be no reason to do anything as insane as actually visitng the site. More importantly, if you navigated away from the newspaper's own site you'd miss their fascinating story about real life Willy Wonka George Cadbury and the model village he built for his human Oompa Loompas outside of Birmingham in the 19th cenutry. News you can use, indeed.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Is That All There Is?

There’s no better news day than when life imitates The Simpsons. “Parents of the Year” return their award when an arson conviction surfaces? Why, sounds like “Children of a Lesser Clod,” in which Homer opens a daycare center and ends up winning the “Saint Who Walks Among Us” award for his work with children at the annual Good Guy Awards:

Marge: Homer, this man is from the Good Guy Awards!

Man: We honour people who make life better for the community, like you, with your day care center.

Marge: I contributed by not objecting too much.

Homer: Ahh, that's my girl!

Man: Anyway, this film crew will shoot some behind the scenes footage of your amazing work.

Homer: Is there a snack table?

Man: It's already set up. [points to snack table]

Homer: Heehehehee ... [starts gorging. A cameraman comes to film him] Don't film this! [waving fist at camera]

But a surprise is in store in the auditorium on the night of the ceremony:

Krusty: Now let's take a look at Homer's wonderful work. [screen lowers]

Narrator: It looks like any other home in America, but this is the house that love built. [all the kids are shown playing tug-a-war. The other end is attached to the car, which Homer is driving. Homer guns the engine and the kids let go. The car shoots backwards into a lamppost and catches fire. Homer laughs]. His scabby red knee became an infectious beacon of hope [audience "Awws"] I guess you could sum up Homer in two words ...

Bart: Big phony! [audience gasps] This is the real Homer, a beer drinking meany ... [point to screen]

[Homer is shown passed out drunk in his underwear beside the Christmas tree. Homer is mumbling as the dog sniffs at him. Beer cans are scattered around him]

... and he gambles like crazy ...

[Homer is shown at the kitchen table with Lenny, Moe and Carl, playing cards. He places Maggie and a pile of chips in the center of the table]

Homer: [in video] I'll call.

Moe: Three nines.

Homer: [in video] Oh, I almost had a straight.

Moe: Come to new pappa! [rakes in Maggie]
[audience gasps]

Homer: [in audience] Hey, what's the deal?

Lisa: We just spliced in some home movies ... what do you think?

Homer: Well, I'd rather reserve judgement until I ... oh my God!
[video shows Homer chasing Bart down the street with a mace]

Homer: [on video] I'll mace you good!

Bart: [on video] Ahhh!
[audience gasps]

Homer: [in audience] That is completely taken out of context! [climbs on stage] Why you little ... [starts strangling Bart]

After that it's time to flee the police under the guise of going our for frosty chocolate milkshakes.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Cranky Oldsters Throw Down

Jon Stewart keeps my main man Ted Stevens in the headlines with a much-awaited competition: The Coot-Off!


Friday, July 14, 2006

Riding the Tubes

The technology-challenged Senator Ted Stevens goes techno with this re-mix of his now infamous "series of tubes" speech.

Thanks to Peter for the link.

A rare behind-the-scenes photo of a hacker attacking one of the Internet's tubes:


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Filth and the Fury

Is it just me, or are these stories becoming even more common? The filthy-house-filled-with-neglected-animals story was once on occasional performer on the media stage, but now it seems to be booked for eight shows a week. It has definitely joined the list of retired no-longer-unusual topics from the News of the Weird file, along with old people who accidentally hit the gas instead of the break and plow into buildings (and crowds), 30-something female teachers who have sex with their 15-year old male students and people leaving their babies in sealed cars on hot days. Maybe it's time to start an new all animal hoarding stories all the time blog.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Who wants to eat at a place that bans complimentary soda refills on ethical grounds?"

My question exactly.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fearless and Fabulous in the French Quarter

Every day I'm thankful that Hurricane Katrina didn't destroy the city of New Orleans, mostly because I wouldn't want to face a world without news stories like this one. Why waste one's time with another tedious roundup of the legislation prospects for net neutrality amendments in the Senate when you could be reading articles that include sentences like this: "In the ensuing weeks, the gang of transvestites continued their reign of terror."


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Juliet Finds No Romeos on Capitol Hill

My favorite higher educator Jack Pitney reviews Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin's new book on partisan bitterness in NRO today. The surprising conclusion: inter-party sniping and bitterness didn't start with the Republican class of 1994.

This I Believe...

Another great video from one of the many stars in the Bureaucrash galaxy:


Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Most Popular Unpopular Movie of All Time

The debate over whether anyone actually wants to see Al Gore's end-of-world scareumentary has wandered over to Wyoming territory, with comparisons to Brokeback Mountain.

Many a conservative reviewer complained at the time about all of the Brokeback hoopla, saying that it was an example of Hollywood people being fatally out of touch with mainstream America. Sure all the reviewers like it, but no one's actually going to go see it. A few people in New York and San Francisco will buy tickets, but it'll be a flop with the American public, went the argument.

Cue the Box Office Mojo numbers: Brokeback was made for $14 million. It has since made approximately $178,043,761. Hmmm...those handful of people must have seen it several thousand times each.

Up with Various Sexual Situations, Down with the FCC

Few things make me so very unhappy as the government trying to bully television networks into cutting all the simulated orgy scenes out of their primetime programming. If we don't start loosening things up, Fox will never realize its true potential.

The Decline of the Cyberbeg

Sure, website begging was cool when hot clothing-obsessed blond chicks were asking the world to save them from their credit card debt, but that only gave a million other talentless asshats an idea to run with. Now we're treated to a perfect storm of web themes: annoying former child TV star defaults on his mortgage because of bad credit and poor financial advice and is asking for online donations to save his endangered future, while trying to get a mortgage broker fired by informing Howard Stern's listeners about his dastardly conduct. And I though that I had heard the last of Screech after Saved By The Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.


Friday, June 16, 2006

"It's going to be massive ... the biggest ever."

Jacob Sullum calls out Barry McCaffrey on the "success" of opium eradication efforts in Afghanistan at Hit & Run.


There's a couple interesting items over at Bureaucrash this morning. First, XaqFixx has an ominous warning about the implications of a recent Supreme Court ruling allowing no-knock police raids.

On a more light-heated note, the random image window just brought up this re-imagined version of the James Montgomery Flagg classic:


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Fine Day on the Health Beat

News for guys is looking pretty good today. We'll start with an unfortunate truth: if you have a prostate, it is possible you could get prostate cancer. That's bad. Recent research suggests, however, that an ingredient in beer can reduce your risk of that happening. That's good. But wait, it's present in such low amounts that you'd have to drink a whole lot of beer to acquire that benefit, which would have other, negative, health effects. That's bad. But wait, another study says that drinking four cups of coffee a day can reduce a person's risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver by 80%. That's good.

Given these findings, I'll have three beers and a cup of coffee with free refills. I've got a lot of conditioning work to do.

The Godfather Meets Eliot Spitzer

And finally the video parody scene on which I worked for so long: if you look closely, you can see my arm handing the Bonasera character a half-empty bottle of Diet Coke. A brief cameo, I admit, but I'll take any part I can get:


Monday, June 12, 2006

Every Racist Cracker Gets His Day

It's a love-fest for Robert Byrd. He's a "titan" and a "legend." Allow me to add "a Klansman" and "a stone-cold bigot." Yes, yes, I know he has apologized for certain youthful indiscretions ... like spending 14 hours filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The full post is at Bureaucrash.

Quote of the Day

From The Weekly Standard, an obituary for the late leader of al Qaeda in Iraq:

Compared with Osama bin Laden, with his elegant prose, his appreciation for redolent historical Muslim narrative, his seemingly conscious imitation of the Prophet Muhammad, and his refined, almost feminine movements, Zarqawi was Islamist trailer trash.

Emphasis added; link from Arts & Letters Daily.


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's Not You, It's Me. Well, Actually It Really Is You

If you're single, make sure and pair up in the next 48 hours, otherwise you'll be painfully left out of June's newest holiday, National Breakup Day. True, it's not as festive as Open That Bottle Night, but it's still a great concept. So prepare yourselves to pour some drinks, cuddle up to that special someone and tell them how much they suck. Then kick them out the front door and immediately hit your favorite online hook-up site. You're free!


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Does Fred Phelps Also Hate CO2?

Thanks to Jason for passing on what must be the oddest political story of the day - connections between Al Gore's past presidential campaigns and Rev. Fred "I Hate Fags" Phelps:

Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., and creator of the notorious "God Hates Fags" website, said that when Gore was running for president 12 years ago, he enlisted "members of the Westboro Baptist Church to help run his 1988 campaign in Kansas."

Al Gore and wife Tipper with Fred Phelps, Jr. and his wife Betty in 1988.

"In fact, Fred Phelps, Jr. [son of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps, Sr.] was one of his delegates," he said.

Also, in 1989 Phelps claims to have held a fundraiser at his home for Gore, attended by an estimated 500 people and "considered a success by any political standards."

So grateful for that support was Gore, said Phelps, that four years later, in 1992, Phelps was provided tickets to the inauguration of President Clinton. He was also sent tickets to the 1996 inauguration, he said.

It's a little low-res, but allegedly this is a photo of Al Gore and wife Tipper with Fred Phelps, Jr. and his wife Betty in 1988.

And who could resist from observing that a Gore + Phelps team brings a whole new meaning to the term "strange bedfellows"?

Hands-Free Vision

So you wear glasses, but you're annoyed by those meddlesome side pieces that keep them attached to you ears - what to do? The answer, of course, should be obvious: just pierce the bridge of your nose, get yourself some rare earth magnets and voila - a pair of lenses that seem to magically float in place:

Amaze your friends, confuse your parents and terrify young children with your The-Future-Is-Now sensibilities and style:

It looks promising, but I can't help but be suspicious that pierced eyeglasses might end up creating the same problems as the Opti-grab.


It's an Al Gore photoshop contest over at Fark, and it's getting pretty good. Just wait until he takes on Mothra.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hooray for Hollywood, Part II

Another YouTube video parody, this one taking on the prison interview scene from Silence of the Lambs. Keep an eye out for me at the beginning as I stalk down the hallway muttering like a crazy person. More fame, mama, more fame.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hooray for Hollywood

Here's to the YouTube revolution. Today's selection is a parody of the meeting-with-the-Bobs scene from Office Space, co-starring me.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Iranian Girls Gone Wild

A lot of people have been worried about Iran lately, particularly the whole dropping an atomic bomb on Israel possibility. Michael Ledeen at the Corner, however, informs us that he regime has started to go soft in unexpected ways. Why, it's no longer recommended that virtue enforcers slash off the lips of women caught wearing too much lipstick! At this rate, the Black Tulip will be opening a location in Tehran by the end of the year.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Are You Brave Enough to Condemn Genocide?

A perfect storm of sloth, soreness and sunburn kept me from attending this weekend's Save Darfur rally on the Mall, but fortunately my good friend Isaac got a few shots of the assembled masses. His main observation: lots and lots of kids, of the high school variety. Most seem to have been bused in from an array of East Coast cities, with an emphasis on NYC.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More Free Speech in Farragut Square

The usual parade of activists, strivers and malcontents that regularly inhabit the corner of 17th and K Streets were joined this afternoon by Falun Gong pamphleteers and, in an intersting twist, costumed re-enactors pantomiming an organ harvesting by the Chinese government:

They seem to have plentiful funds for printing and demonstrating, which helps them makes them a pretty persuasive case. Lucky for them they aren't trying to persuade anyone to vote for or against a candidate for public office in the United States.

UPDATE: Drudge links to a story claiming that President Hu Jintao tried to convince President Bush to endorse the Chinese government's label of the Falun Gong as "an evil cult" which should be banned. I can't imagine how he could think he would get a sitting American president to single out a particular religious sect for government scorn, oppression and violence. Unthinkable.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Televisa Apologia

James Morris takes on the TV-hating snobs in the pages on The Wilson Quarterly.

Brazen Wildlife in the Virginia Suburbs

I used to be very happy living in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. Now, however, thanks to the Washington Post, I am terrified. Today's weekend section has an article on the scourge of coyotes in exclusive communities, with the classic 50s sci-fi ivasion title "Among Us." Yes, if you move to the exurbs which, until a few years ago were forest, you just might encounter some wildlife. Watch out especially for the creepy, beady-eyed file-photo close-up.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Drinking Gatorade Well is a Valuable Skill

Not wanting to break the sexually suggestive / body parts related theme of the last few posts, here's a carefully reasoned analysis from Basketbawful (via Cruel) of the Great Gatorade Conspiracy.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Is Your Ass Scientifically Perfect?

Is Your Ass Scientifically Perfect?

Wonder no more, because a group of British scientists have come up with the definitive equation for bootyliciousness.

Los Amantes Latinos

A commenter on Flickr alerted me to an interesting post-script to one of the signs at Monday's immigration rally. Here's the picture as I posted it:

But what's that at the bottom?


Yikes - it's a nativist's worst nightmare. Not only are they taking your jobs, they're screwing your women as well! Something must be done immediately. Thanks to sdjerabek for noticing.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pixelated Boobs and Naked Babies

The Onion's pop culture blog takes on FCC indecency fines. Did you know PBS was fined $15,000 for letting musicians reference "The Cocksucker Blues," or that Smithers getting assaulted by strippers was not deemed "patently offensive"?

Oprah: My Hero

Oprah Winfrey: Wealth "is a good thing."

Flags Across Latinoamerica

Coverage of yesterday's massive immigration rights protest / immigration reform rally available at the Washington Post and Houston Chronicle. The event was distinguished by a welcome lack of petulant college kids protesting on their parent's dime during spring break and an abundance of families. Never have so many adorable kids worked so hard to change immigration laws in the U.S. Nothing warms the heart like a 2-year old girl shouting "Si se puede" at the top of her tiny lungs.

Again, the 95-photo series from the event is here.

The Washington Post's photo gallery is here.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Si Se Puede!

Photos from the immigration rally this afternoon in DC are up.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

An Afternon of Photographology in DC

Ahead of tomorrow afternon's immigration reform protests on the Mall, I decided to take the new Nikon D50 on a test run and hunt for some memorable images. I found a few, but hopefully the morrow will yield more dramatic photos. I am offically resurrecting my protest photo-blogging mojo for one and all. See a classic Scam-load of photos from 2003 here.

As a taste, we have the Capitol framed by the stage of this afternon's pre-protest rally on the Mall (click for larger image):

Imagine also what that sainted building would look like framed by an 18-wheeler given a National Park Police permit:


Friday, April 07, 2006

Congressional Jargon is a Point of Personal Privilege

Just when I start thinking I'm too inside-the-beltway, I get en email like this reminding me how mainstream my sensibilities are.

Republican Cloakroom Hotline:
Because Republican Senators have been blocked from offering -- and getting votes on -- amendments, Senators Frist, Martinez, Hagel, McCain, Specter, Graham and McConnell will be voting NO on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to commit w/an amendment this morning. If all time is used, that vote will occur at approximately 9:45 am.

OK everybody, remember: that's a no vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to commit with an amendment. Everybody clear?


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Almost Famous

The celebrity-obsessed Megan sent me this story about Thandie Newton (she was in Crash, in case you were wondering) writing to Tom Cruise and other stars in order to get them to reduce their carbon footprint and stop driving SUVs (as if any of these people have driven themselves anywhere in years). My response:

Someone is severely overestimating their celebrity value. Memo to Thandie Newton: you have to actually be famous before you can start lecturing your (box office) betters in print. Everyone knows Hollywood celebrities are going to be whiny, but please, at least actually be a celebrity first.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hot for Jihad, Part Deux

The hilarious and dead-on Mark Steyn has a great column in the Chicago Sun-Times on why we need a rhetoric for the War on Terror that can go the distance.


Friday, March 24, 2006

The Pakistani Punishment: You’re Grounded

Police in Lahore, Pakistan arrested over 1,000 people this week for violating a recent government ban, going so far as to suggest that they would prosecute violators under the nation’s anti-terrorism laws. What is this dastardly conduct which the government is so vigorously attempting to stamp out? Yes, as you probably guessed, the provincial poobahs have banned…kite flying. It seems that sometimes people get cut by the strings. Which are considered unduly sharp. Thank goodness Pakistan doesn’t have any real problems to deal with.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Civil Union of Libertarians and Conservatives

Somehow I escaped being quoted in this story in The Hill, despite the author hitting up two of the other panelists from my recent brush with public speaking (audio here).


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Terrorist Life Imitates Terrorist Art?

Perhaps it's just me, but the ETA terrorists who announced their ceasefire with the Spanish government today look a lot like V from V for Vendetta. All they need to do is draw on a saucy 17th century goatee and they're pretty much there.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Multitasking in the Capitol

A colleague and I attended the Senate Republican Conference's press event for bloggers and "niche press" held in the Capitol's Lyndon Johnson Room (S-211) this afternoon. The Senators there (Santorum, Bond, Alexander, Cornyn, Thune and Coleman) were happy to provide the attendees with their opinions on border security (they were for it), high energy prices (against) and educational opportunity for all of America's children (in support). As the picture shows, there's nothing busier than a live-blogging Washington, D.C. professional with a BlackBerry.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Monster’s Ball

Fans of the Second Amendment will be happy to hear that prostitutes in Florida are on their side. Hookers in Daytona Beach are arming themselves against a suspected serial killer thought to have murdered three women so far. "We will get him first," streetwalker Tonya Richardson said. "Yeah, we are going to get him first. When we find him, he is going to be sorry. It is as simple as that." Best of luck, ladies. More female fans of guns rights (though not necessarily prostitutes) can be found here.


Monday, March 13, 2006

How to Write Your Own Happy Ending

My disturbing fascination with the fringe elements of the fan fiction universe has finally received some minor literary cover with a mention in a recent Times article about happy and sad sendings in novels:

"Literature is constantly being refashioned, if not actually rewritten. The whole of Austen has recently been repackaged as chick-lit, complete with pastel covers and skinny women with handbags. So-called fanfiction is booming, on websites where amateur writers continue their favourite stories: the further adventures of the Darcys, the Hobbits, Sherlock Holmes and Captain Kirk. The website has more than 200,000 Harry Potter stories that J. K. Rowling never wrote."

That general level of interest seems reasonable enough, even if the numerical total is initially surprising. It's when you get to the 71 She-Ra, Princess of Power stories, the 272 Voltron stories and the 6,544 Sonic the Hedgehog stories that things become difficult.


Friday, March 10, 2006

What a Girl Wants

Via a strange twist of fate set in motion by my colleague Brooke, I ended up being the token male panelist last night on a roundtable discussion hosted by the America's Future Foundation titled "What Does the Right Want from Its Women?" Despite being neither a conservative nor a female, I was happy to participate and was delighted to be seated next to fellow panelist and noted conservative counter-feminist Christina Hoff Sommers. We didn't resolve the question entirely, but there were several mentions of The Vagina Monologues, so at least the conversation didn't get too dull.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Real Art Doesn't Care Where it Passes Out

Fine art plus unlimited martinis for only $30? Sounds like the bargain of a lifetime.

Hirohito Warned About Nagasaki

In horribly shocking news, the Associated Press reports that President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff were warned before landfall was made that Hurricane Katrina could cause severe damage and kill people. Really? A Category 5 hurricane is capable of causing massive destruction in a below-ocean level city especially prone to flooding?

Did the executive branch mismanage the disaster response? Probably. But current headlines like "Bush Warned About Katrina" carry with them the unstated implication that he could have somehow waved a wand and wished Katrina away. Morgan Freeman was warned about the meteor heading toward earth, but that doesn't make him responsible for everyone who died when it hit.


Monday, February 27, 2006

12 Monkeys + Rainbow 6 =

It's ecological theory with a delightful Malthusian twist: the BBC reports on a study which suggests that the population decline following the 14th century plague pandemic known as the Black Death caused the climate cooling known as The Little Ice Age. Fewer people clearing farmland = more trees = less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere = cooler temperatures. Or so the theory goes. Wait until Zero Population Growth gets together with Greenpeace to strategize. Early advice: don't accept any suspicious letters or unsolicited Halloween candy from environmentalists.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Ebonics of the Highlands

While casually researching my Scottish ancestry, I found my way to the website of the Scottish Parliament and to the page of my no doubt distant cousin Alasdair Morrison, MSP. Noticing that he was a member of the Gaelic caucus (Buidheann Thar-Phartaidh na GĂ idhlig), I wondered what other languages the Parliament might cater to; Cornish, perhaps? I was amazed to learn that the regional government's website was available in such unlikely tongues as Italian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Bengali, and even Catalan. What truly amazed me, however, was that it was also available in ... Scots.

Naturally this suggested the question: There's a seperate Scottish language? The answer turned out to be: Well, kind of. Scots turns out to be a crude, phonetic rendering of the English language in the form of a heavy Scottish accent. Here's a (thankfully brief) example of the website's welcome message rendered in Scots:

"The Scottish Pairlament is here for tae represent aw Scotland's folk. We want tae mak siccar that as mony folk as can is able tae find oot aboot whit the Scottish Pairlament dis and whit wey it warks. We hae producit information anent the Pairlament in a reenge o different leids tae help ye tae find oot mair."

I at first assumed this had to be some sort of elaborate Mike Myers-inspired joke, but further reflection suggests that it is, in fact, for real. It strongly seems the equivalent of the U.S. Congress translating their website into Appalachian. I'm still torn between being amused and horrified.

Decent Remarks on Indecency

At a time when the current FCC chairman is promising faster indecency complaint processing and is poised to fine Fox because Nicole Ritchie said “shit” on the air, former chairman Powell has some interesting observations on regulating broadcast indecency, reported by Information Week:

As part of his trademark question-and-answer appearance, Powell also told event host and questioner Phil Weiser that parents need to take more responsibility for their childrens' Internet and television consumption habits, a bit of a break from his actions at the FCC, where he tried to use agency fines and other pressures to control indecency.

"There is no passive fix," said Powell, noting that his own children, like others, are technically adept and therefore likely to find technical shortcuts past adults' laws and rules if left to their own devices.

"You can cut off TV all day, and they find something through the Xbox 360," Powell said. "Parents have to be involved in their childrens' lives, and what they cull from that universe. If you don't do that, [it doesn't matter] how many laws we pass."