Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sixteen Is a Beautiful Number

The Patriots have their perfect season, just as we all knew they would. The boys came from behind and played a full force second half to win 38-35. Best of all, the '72 Dolphins are even being nice about it:

Don Shula, says "going undefeated during the regular season is a remarkable achievement."

Shula says the Pats "have done a great job concentrating on each week's opponent and not letting any other distractions interrupt that focus. If they go on to complete an undefeated season, I will be the first to congratulate Coach Belichick and the Patriot organization."

Shula was the most prominent of several members of the 72 Dolphins who saluted the perfect Patriots on Saturday.

Miami quarterback Bob Griese issued a statement to congratulate New England on "going undefeated during the regular season" and compliment Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for one of the "greatest seasons ever by an NFL quarterback."

"I hope he [Brady] continues to play at such a high level in the playoffs, and if he does it will be very difficult to beat them the rest of the way," Shula said.

Tom Brady, my scruffy hero

Hello, post-season and Super Bowl XLII.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Deadly Overcaution at the FDA

Prof. Scammington is back on YouTube with a cautionary tale of how the Food and Drug Administration stands in the way of lifesaving drugs getting to the people who need them most.

Grounding the Jets

God's plan for the perfect season unfolded elegantly again this afternoon, as the Patriots put New York gently to sleep with a 20-10 win. Nothing too remarkable about the game, except that it was surprisingly low scoring for New England. The one strange thing that happened was that I suddenly had an intense desire to start wearing Stetson cologne. Weird.

On the other side of the ledger, the Dolphins, famed for their own 1972 perfection, finally ended their pefectly winless season with an amazing 64-yard touchdown pass against the Ravens in overtime. Wayne Huizenga actually cried.

RECORD: Green Bay's elder statesman Brett Favre broke Dan Marino's record of 61,361 passing yards today. Everyone give grandpa Favre a hand!


Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Juggernaut Rolls On

The financial news gurus at Bloomberg took an unfortunate venture into NFL prognostication earlier with a story entitled "Steelers May Join 1985 Dolphins as Spoilers by Beating Patriots." They were, of course, sorely misguided, as the Patriots just smacked down the Steelers in Foxborough with a score of 34-13. It's on to the Jets (3-10) on the 13th.

Tom Brady, get off of my TV screen and into my dreams.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Slaughter Continues: The New Record Is 10-0

Tom Brady, Randy Moss and the rest of the Patriots continue to dominate like few teams ever have. Tonight they posted their highest score of the season, winning against Buffalo by a crushing 46 points.

Could a perfect season be in the cards?

Patriots 56, Bills 10


Monday, November 05, 2007

Prime Minister of Turkey = Refineries It Murk My Top

Is it just me, or does the name of Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seem like it should be a palindrome, or at least some kind of anagram? It almost looks as it would make vastly more sense when viewed in a mirror's reflection.

As it turns out, there may be something to all of this. Turkey is currently preparing its military to move into Northern Iraq to go after Kurdish rebels attacking government forces from across the border. But is this simple national security on the part of the Turk, or is the Prime Minister, as the anagram has it, "A Cad Eyeing Property"?

I saw beware to U.S. and Iraqi Kurd forces alike.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Topping American Politics

The Telegraph's list of Top 100 Most Influential conservatives and liberals in U.S. politics is out, and there is much discontent about the choices. Conservative commenters especially seem outraged at the selection of Rudy Giuliani as the #1 conservative. Michael McKiever sets the tone with "Rudy Guliani a conservative!? Have you lost your mind?" Many others object to Rush Limbaugh being only #5 rather than #1.

Some conservative readers are also incensed at the individuals that were left off the list entirely. For the most part, those complaints make sense. How exactly do you assemble a list of influential conservatives that ignores Michael Reagan, Neal Boortz, Walter Williams, Mark Steyn, Ward Connerly, Hugh Hewitt, David Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy and, most insultingly of all, Phyllis Schlafly? Less persuasively, a few readers argued for the inclusion of everone from Dennis Miller and Ted Nugent to Dr. Laura and Elizabeth Dole.

A few of the ranking choices seem entirely off-base, and, one suspects, motivated entirely by a desire to be provocative and infuriating. Chuck Norris, for example, is ranked #71. While Norris is well known for being one of Hollywood's few outspoken conservatives, that hardly makes him more influential than Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Clarence Thomas, Brent Scowcroft, and Pat Buchanan.

The limiting nature of the liberal/conservative dichotomy also resulted is some very strange results. Drew Carey is the 39th most influential conservative in the country? That makes him, according to the list, a more influential conservative leader than Ed Feulner, Karl Rove, Sean Hannity, Robert Novak or even (most hilariously) Wiliam F. Buckley, Jr. Flattering for Drew, perhaps, but wildly misleading to anyone trying to understand American politics.

They pulled a couple amusing stunts along the way as well. Arnold Schwarzenegger comes up near the top of the liberal list - #8. Joe Lieberman ends up being all things to all people, named as both the 47th most influential liberal - edging out Michelle Obama and Al Franken - but also as the 47th most influential conservative, ranking higher that William Kristol, Brit Hume and George Will.

There were also a few unfortunate typos and mistakes. John Dingell's entry, for example, states that he "was first elected in 1995 and has served longer than any other current congressman." Obviously they meant 1955, not 1995. Overall, though, an entertaining survey of the major figures leading in to the 2008 presidential campaign.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hatred for All or Hatred for None

The Family Research Council has kindly alerted me to a proposed new hate crime law in the UK. Here's how Tony "A Boy's Best Friend is His Mother" Perkins sees the situation:

British Government Backs 7-Years in Jail for 'Hatred' of Homosexuals

Britain's ruling Labo[u]r Party government has announced plans to introduce a new "hate crimes" law that would result in jail terms of up to seven years (more than the average penalty for rape) for "incitement to hatred" against homosexuals. The law is not limited to people who commit violent acts or incite violence, but the Justice Ministry claims the law "would not prohibit criticism of gay, lesbian and bisexual people" -- as long as it done in a "temperate way," said one homosexual activist. What constitutes "hatred" or "invective" as opposed to "temperate" speech is in the eye of the beholder.

That's pretty standard language for FRC, but what I find interesting is the Times' description of the law (emphasis added):

Under the proposal it would be considered a crime to incite hatred against homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and heterosexual people. Mr Straw said: “It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the past ten years that we are now appalled by hatred and invective directed at people on the basis of their sexuality. It is time for the law to recognise this.”

Well, that's certainly some comprehensive legislation. It will, one assumes, remain legal to incite hatred against someone based on socioeconomic status or choice of football club. This also raises the hope that London's roving gangs of heterosexual-bashing gay thugs will finally be reigned in, giving straight Britons the peace of mind they've so desperately sought over the years.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

John Waters on Free Speech

For anyone out there looking for a nice piece of gunt:


Monday, August 20, 2007

Echo from an Era When Industrial Tycoons Killed Animals in Public Just to Make a Point

So my friend ZCC, another professor, has sent me a link to a fascinating event in American history: The Death of Topsy. And who was Topsy, you innocently ask? Why, only Coney Island's most beloved elephant. A crowd favorite African female who met an untimely end...when she was electrocuted by Thomas Edison. At a public event. On film.

Topsy, in her more glamorous days

Yes, despite the fact that there was no ancestor of Old Sparky large enough for dear Topsy in which to park her capacious rear, Edison and his crack techs administered the killing dose in 1903 of that ole devil called alternating current.

This was, of course merely the climax in the long-standing industrial war between the Sage of Menlo Park and his longtime nemesis, the brilliantly mustachioed George Westinghouse. It seems our man Edison wanted the national standard for electrical power to be based on his own direct current, while George saw the natural advantages of an alternating current system, moderated by a transformer. And from then, it was on.

The War of the Currents was waged across the country, with Edison using his considerable public fame (he had invented the phonograph and the incandescent light bulb, after all) to force the nation to adopt DC electricity. He wisely tried to use public skepticism of electrical power (it shocks people to death doesn't is?) to scare them away from AC. Desperately trying to convince one and all away from this questionable new technology, he hired an engineer to perform a series of public demonstrations in which he intentionally electrocuted dogs and cats with AC power, always in front of an attentive audience.

Which brings us back to Topsy. As it turns out, New York State had recently decided to switch from the gallows to the electric chair for the purposes of execution. Not surprisingly, it was Edison who convinced officials to make the switch, and to use - you got it - Westinghouse's "deadly" AC current at the modus mortorum. Along the way to the first execution, Coney Island animal wranglers decided that Topsy (after herself causing three deaths) needed to be put down. When arsenic-laden carrots failed to do the trick, they called in the man who at this point was well-known for publicly electrocuting animals (though always with his competitor's brand of electricity).

So on the appointed day, Edison's crew show up, got things juiced up, waited for the cameras to start rolling, and let the (alternating) current fly. In a triumph of modern animal kindness, it only took ten minutes for Topsy to fry from the inside.

Edison, of course, lost the Current Wars to Westinghouse for obvious engineering reasons, but at least he got to prove that the deadly AC could even bring down an elephant.

RIP: Thomas, George, Topsy and all.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Collegiate Hotness

Normally, I find Newsweek magazine tedious, boring and largely irrelevant. This is only reinforced by the fact that this week's cover story is about Facebook (I expect them to discover this whole YouTube thing any year now). But, they do give a strong shout out to my distinguished alma mater in their "25 Hottest Schools" feature. Despite the fact that it is an obvious attempt to steal back the smart-parent tuition shopper attention back from U.S News & World Report, I'll take it anyway. Here's the glory:

Hottest for Election Year
Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, Calif.

Two of every five CMC students major in government/international relations. Most of the rest are also talking politics, the campus obsession. Few selective colleges in America have such ideologically balanced faculties and student bodies. Speakers like Bill Clinton and Justice Antonin Scalia dropped by last spring, and neither was tarred and feathered. CMC, one of the five Claremont Colleges, is vibrating with anticipation of the 2008 presidential race. Andrew Lee, a recent graduate and political junkie who created the Fantasy Congress Web site, says that on long campus weekends he and his friends would skip the beach and drive to a state with a hot election and knock on doors for their favorites.

In short, CMC is both the old and the new hotness. Most recently we were the USN&WR #12 liberal arts college in the country. Look out, Williams. We're gunning for your crown.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

San Diego Firefighters Are Delicate and Sensitive

When is a strapping, manly firefighter not a strapping manly firefighter? When he's filing a sexual harassment complaint after being encouraged by a spectator at a Pride parade to "show me your hose."

Yes, and that inter-department complaint is soon to be followed by a lawsuit against the city. You see, despite the fact that the San Diego Fire Department has been marching in the Pride parade for 15 years, four of the city's bravest have decided that hearing the innuendo-laden chatter of sidewalk observers qualifies as "vile sexual taunts."

While no one should be forced to participate in a public event event they're not comfortable with, I can have only so much sympathy for these guys. And I certainly hope none of these four men has ever made an unwelcome sexual remark to a woman in public. Because that would be, you know, kind of hypocritical.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Congressional Porn Names

God bless The Malcontent, you've made my day. That is, for the post about stripper/porno names that can be easily generated using names of prominent politicos and various members of Congress. Heh - members. Since the source is a subscription-only link to The Hotline, I'll just do as Matt did and copy the list myself. My personal favorite is "Kennedy Whitehouse." Though, of course, "Spitzer Cummings" has charms all its own. And finally, Ohio Republican John Boehner has been recognized in several of the submissions below for a name almost as entertaining as his former congressional colleague, the senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The nominations:
Goode Sessions; Buyer Weiner; Costa Lott; Issa Foxx; Rangel Dicks; Harry Boehner; Weiner Sessions; Nita Dicks; Nita Johnson; Holden Weiner; Costa Dicks; Harry Weiner; Tanner Hyde; Issa Boehner; Boehner Bayh; Weiner Bayh; Goode Bayh; Bayh Moore; Goode Pryce; Mary Johnson; Mary Cochran; Patty Reid; Harry Reed; Issa Cummings; Harry Reid; Wu Young Dicks; Frank Johnson; Dick Bond; Loretta Sanchez; Payne Sessions; Otter Heineman; Johnson Hunter; Dicks Granger; Candy Dicks; Cox Polk; Buck Traficant; Moore Johnson; Rep. Faleomavaega and just about any Johnson; Costa Fortuño; Dingell Berry; Fattah Dicks; Spitzer Cummings; Norm Dicks; Fattah Johnson; Phil Akaka; Kind Dicks; Pryor Farr; Rove Foxx; Chuck Bonjean; Akin Cheeks; Chaka Goode; Kennedy Whitehouse; Vitter Sessions; and “anything with Loebsack.”

My only confusion is how "Ensign Brownback" didn't make it on to the list. It would be perfect for a pirate-themed porno: a young British naval officer is captured during a skirmish off the coast of Hispanola, only to discover that's it's not all rum and the lash on the high seas...


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Who Are the Refugees Next Door?

It seems that my new neighbors must be either devotees of trendy retrograde environmental practices or recent immigrants from some barbarous nation where mechanical laundry services are unknown.

I can only imagine that the pricklier members of the HOA might have something to say about this new development.

A Look Back on the Savarese Legacy

Speaking of Lou Savarese and his recent loss to Evander Holyfield, I can't resist posting a clip of his best known loss, the infamous 38-second, first round defeat in Scotland against Mike Tyson.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

R.I.P., Arturo Gatti's Career

So Alphonso Gomez just knocked out Arturo Gatti at 2:12 of round 7 in Atlantic City. While Gomez was pummeling an only semi-responsive Gatti through the seventh round, the HBO announcers were writing his epitath in a particularly cold-hearted way. "Hopefully, he's taken his last right."

Farewell, my handsome Italian/Canadian rose. Now it's on to the main event: WBO Welterweight Champion Antonio Margarito vs. Paul Williams.

11:40pm UPDATE: It's a win for the new WBO Welterweight Champion, Paul Williams. The man threw 1,256 punches in 12 rounds - he earned it. Margarito did have a deal to fight WBA Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto, but that was dependent on him delivering tonight. Who knows what the next matchup will be?

Going back to Gatti's retirement (which he just officially announced on HBO), I've got a suggestion. Given his Italian heritage and good looks, he could easily move into acting. Despite the end of The Sopranos, there are always a huge number of tough guy/mobsters roles begging for someone with some authenticity. He should make a call to Lou Savarese, who has played roles on Law & Order: SVU as well as, yes, The Sopranos. That is, before he made an extremely ill-advised return to the ring two weeks ago against Evander Holyfield. Best to stick to acting, Lou.

Worst Job in Boxing

Being Ricardo Mayorga's translator. Trash talking by proxy is always a dicey affair (if you want to go straight to the action, skip to about 3:30 and watch from there).

Just goes to show you - never mess with a Nicaraguan. Those guys are crazy.

Fighting Global Warming Alarmism...with Beach Balls


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Environmentalist Malthusianism

Frank Furedi of Spiked Online does an excellent job of explaining the radical misanthropy that underlies much of modern environmentalism:

Where in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Malthusians warned that population growth threatened people with starvation, today’s Malthusians denounce people for threatening the planet by consuming too much. As a result, contemporary Malthusianism has an unusually strident and misanthrophic streak. In the West, the population-control lobby castigates those who have large families for being environmentally irresponsible. Having children, especially lots of children, is now discussed as an ‘eco-crime’ on a par with pollution. From this perspective, a new human life is seen as little more than another producer of carbon; new life is seen as a form of pollution. So it would be better, the Malthusians argue, if these new human lives did not exist at all. As one Malthusian crusader notes: ‘A non-existent person has no environmental footprint; the emission “saving” is instant and total.’ This preference for the non-existent over the existent speaks to a powerful anti-humanist sensibility. And it is not only eccentric and isolated misanthropes who value ‘non-existence’ as being somehow morally superior to existence – rather, this outlook is symptomatic of a wider trend for devaluing the status of human life today.
For an elegant response to the classic Malthusian argument, see the writing of Julian Simon and, more recently, of Indur Goklany.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sick-o of Socialism

Bureaucrash and friends were recently in attendance at the DC premiere of Michael Moore's new documentary on the U.S. health care system, Sicko. Also there was Fidel Castro, proprietor of one fantastic national heath care system. Let's go to the video.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Geek Radio Pick of the Week

I was just listening to a great radio interview (via stream) on the Technically Speaking radio show on WNWR 1540 AM out of Philadelphia. The guest was noted Libertarian Geek and tech policy analyst Cord Blomquist talking about network regulation (a/k/a "net neutrality"). Listen here - Cord comes in about 3/4 of the way through.

Of course if you want a simple video overview on the issue, you can always hit up The Simpleton's Guide on the issue. A video so fine that top telecom strategist Scott Cleland of The Precursor Blog called it "wonderfully succinct." Thanks, Scott.

As always, Prof. Scammington explains it all:

Stand Up for Immigreation

My Bureaucrash colleagues and friends have just launched a new video on immigration, with first person testimonials - from real live immigrants (and their descendants). Watch the video and then post your own video response on why you think immigration is immigreat. Prizes will be awarded, so post early and post often.

Free Trash in NYC

My friend Peter, knowing of my unhealthy obsession with Freegans, recently passed on this lengthy profile of the movement's devotees from the New York Times. Normally I find the Freegan lifestyle of anti-capitalist dumpster diving rather off-putting, though in the opening scene of the story, the free stuff free-for-all at the NYU campus doesn't sound half bad:

On a Friday evening last month, the day after New York University’s class of 2007 graduated, about 15 men and women assembled in front of Third Avenue North, an N.Y.U. dormitory on Third Avenue and 12th Street. They had come to take advantage of the university’s end-of-the-year move-out, when students’ discarded items are loaded into big green trash bins by the curb.


Ben Ibershoff, a dapper man in his 20s wearing two bowler hats, dug deep and unearthed a Sharp television. Autumn Brewster, 29, found a painting of a Mediterranean harbor, which she studied and handed down to another member of the crowd.

Darcie Elia, a 17-year-old high school student with a half-shaved head, was clearly pleased with a modest haul of what she called “random housing stuff” — a desk lamp, a dish rack, Swiffer dusters — which she spread on the sidewalk, drawing quizzical stares from passers-by.

Ms. Elia was not alone in appreciating the little things. “The small thrills are when you see the contents of someone’s desk and find a book of stamps,” said Ms. Kalish, 44, as she stood knee deep in the trash bin examining a plastic toiletries holder.

A few of those present had stumbled onto the scene by chance (including a janitor from a nearby homeless center, who made off with a working iPod and a tube of body cream), but most were there by design, in response to a posting on the Web site

Putting aside for the moment the obvious question of how one wears two bowler hats simultaneously, this actually sounds like a pretty fun scene. Very-recently discarded dorm accoutrements from a university with a prosperous profile might be just the thing to spice up that Williamsburg loft.

Admittedly, the painting mentioned did look a little like Thomas Kinkade goes to Capri, but hey - it was unpriced. One could always choose to display it ironically.

Much like Red Bull, Freeganism gives you wings.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blog of the Day: Greek and Latin Edition

The author of The Stoic Traveler was in the office today, so I decided to look up the site. It's one of the more specialized personal blogs I've seen - no posts about what happened on Grey's Anatomy, Paris Hilton's incarceration status, or other pop culture detritus. Instead it has...Latin. And meditations on classical philosophy. All hail the followers of Zeno of Citium. Recommended for stoa fans and those who enjoy being indifferent to pain.


Monday, June 18, 2007

When Hurt Feelings Justify Murder

Novelist (Sir) Salman Rushdie has received a knighthood, and a handful of Islamic leaders and clerics are crying foul. Let's go to the Times story:

Ijaz-ul-Haq, the [Pakistani] Religious Affairs Minister, told the assembly in Islamabad that the award of the knighthood excused suicide bombing. “If somebody has to attack by strapping bombs to his body to protect the honour of the Prophet then it is justified,” he said.

He later retracted his statement, explaining that he had intended to say that knighting Rushdie will foster extremism. “If someone blows himself up, he will consider himself justified. How can we fight terrorism when those who commit blasphemy are rewarded by the West? We demand an apology by the British government. Their action has hurt the sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims."

"Hurt sentiments" are now a justification for murder? So if someone tells me that my favorite philosopher, Eric Hoffer, was an asshole, then I can kill him in good conscience?

For all of the macho bravado coming out of the militant Islamic world, they strike me as a bunch of overly delicate sissies. If someone kills your family, I can see swearing a blood oath against them. But a foreign novelist depicts a religious figure in an unflattering light and you must kill to avenge the slight? Did these people not see The Last Temptation of Christ? Do they not realize that Jesus is also an honored prophet in the Koran? Where is the fatwa against Scorsese?

What's next, a death order against the neighbor who sneaks some naan during Ramadan?


Monday, June 11, 2007

Facebook Fun

I was always skeptical of joining Facebook, assuming it was basically a glorified version of MySpace, that homeland for chattering 14-year-olds the world over. But when an increasing number of my friends signed on, I decided to finally jump off the bridge along with everyone else. I can't stand being left out.

In the 30 hours or so since I signed up, though, it's actually been a lot of fun. I've been able to re-connect with several people I had fallen out of contact with and vice versa. And I now officially have 22 "friends" - almost all of them my actual friends. Amazing.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sopranos: WTF?

Dear HBO:

You're fucking kidding me. That was the series finale to The Sopranos? They sit around eating onion rings at a diner? Models, Inc. had a better series finale. And no, I don't care whether the white guy at the counter or the black guys at the jukebox end up killing them - because we don't get to see it. Way to take one of the greatest opportunities in the history of TV and piss it down the drain.


Prof. Scammington

Faculty Lounge Makeover

For the first time since the Lounge opened in March of 2002, I've changed the look of the site. I've also added links to consolidate my interests and my online presence. Tell me what you think. Also new - find me on Facebook.

The Bureaucrash Manifesto

Some of my fellow freedom fighters read out the Bureaucrash manifesto for video viewers around the world.

Highlights from the YouTube comments: "Bureaucrash has some goooood lookin' activists" and "This is hot. The people, and the message, both hot. Bureaucrash: You are awesome."


Monday, June 04, 2007

AngryGirl Rants Righteous

My good friend angrygirl76 (alias Mercalic) talks about feeding the homeless and 40s on her front lawn.

Contemporary Art Is Decadent and Depraved

This is the most awesome thing I've seen in years. Damien Hirst has created a platinum-covered, diamond-studded human skull with a price tag of approximately $100 million.

God knows who will end up buying this momento mori of bling, but if I had the money I'd buy it in a second.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Department of Pre-Regulation

My vision has finally been realized on video, with the assistance and collaboration of many friends and colleagues. A (very) short film inspired by "Minority Report" and the disturbing implications of contemporary politics.

Credits go to: Erin Wildermuth, Cord Blomquist, Ivan Osorio, Brooke Oberwetter, Jeremy Lott, Megan McLaughlin, William Yeatman, Julie Walsh, Kate McLaughlin, Dominick Saran, Jason Talley, Greg Conko, Christine Hall, Sam Kazman, Al Canata and Holly Jackson. Also, special thanks to Philip K. Dick and Scott Frank for a little inspiration.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hitch Goes Wild on the Rev

More Malcontent on Falwell and Hitchens.

I never liked Falwell, but it's very clear that Hitch likes him even less than me. Like everyone else, I've always known that Hitchens is no fan of theism. It's personally amusing to see him hate so hard on the religious right, though, just because the last place I saw him speak in person was at the Family Research Council (on his book about Thomas Jefferson). Talk about strange bedfellows.

To recap, here he is on Anderson Cooper 360:

And here he is the next night on Hannity & Colmes:


Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Simpleton's Guide to Rachel Carson and DDT

Rachel Carson's 100th birthday is coming up. She's remembered for sounding an alarm about overuse of pesticides in the U.S. Unfortunately, the movement she started has has tragic unintended consequences. Prof. Scammington explains in all.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dan Rather Hits Bottom

Matt at The Malcontent has posted the SNL Fringe Candidates Debate skit, and it's gold. I just wish they had given the NAMBLA guy more time to articulate his views on monetary policy.

Online Videos by


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Send Your Underpants to the Undersecretary of Energy in Protest

My colleague Julie makes an impassioned plea for affordable washing machines that actually get one's clothes clean. So what's standing in the way? Surprise, surprise: it's the Department of Energy.

In case you missed it, that address was:

Dennis R. Spurgeon
U.S. Undersecretary of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20585


Monday, May 14, 2007

Roundtable on Organ Sales

I filled in for regular photographer Kat Ruddy at the most recent America's Future Foundation roundtable. Should it be legal to buy and sell human organs? Only four expert panelists know for sure. Flickr series here.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Day in the Life of Lafayette Park

I was around the White House today, taking some photos of the surrounding area. I even ran into someone I knew (and his brother). The Flickr set is here.


Friday, May 11, 2007

...and the war came.

I'm working on a short mockumentary video project now, and as we get closer to filming, I keep thinking back to one of my favorites of the genre: The Battle of Hoth.


Monday, April 30, 2007

The Soft Glow of Tradition v. The Harsh Glare of Modernity

Cross-post to Open Market: Why the sanctity of the female sex is imperiled by environmental activists. Here.


Friday, April 27, 2007

DC Free Kareem Rally Photos

Bureaucrash and friends showed up outside the Egyptian Embassy Cultural Center this afternoon to protest the imprisonment of Egyptian blogger and law student Kareem Amer. Today's DC protest was just one of almost a dozen coordinated events held around the world to bring attention to the Mubarak regime's reprehensible record on censorship and human rights.

I took several photos; the full series is here.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

In the Future, Shoulder Pads Will Rule the World

For a look back at a 1993 film (produced by AT&T!) that showed us what the world would look like today, see my review at Open Market.

Here's a delicious taste:


Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Simpleton's Guide to Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)


Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Simpleton's Guide to Net Neutrality

Scott Cleland of The Precursor Blog has linked to the net neutrality video. In this installment, Prof. Scammington brings you the basics on NN and its implications. Thanks to Scott for calling it "wonderfully succinct."


Friday, March 09, 2007

The Simpleton's Guide to Ethanol


Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Coolest Origami You'll See All Day

The Coolest Origami You'll See All Day

A recent issue of The New Yorker (2/19/07) had a fascinating article on physicist and American origami master Robert Lang. Now, I've made a couple of cranes in my time, and did a passable job on an origami frog once, but the kind of projects being executed by Lang and his technologically advanced contemporaries are a mind-blowing contrast. Just remember, all of these designs are made using a single, uncut piece of paper (some as large as six feet square).


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

When Metaphors Attack

This afternoon one of my distinguished office colleagues received an email from Greenpeace, responding to the President’s State of the Union remarks about global warming. In order to put us in the right state of mind to “TAKE ACTION” (Step 1: Donate to Greenpeace), the Rainbow Warriors head to the linguistic kitchen:

President Bush has let the issue of global warming simmer on the back burner of his presidency for 6 years. The scientific community and the rest of the world has heard the oven timer go off, but last night, President Bush continued to ignore the alarm as he served up a plateful of tepid solutions to a worldwide audience.

While the chef may finally have acknowledged the brewing problem, he failed to rescue the planet from the oven. His so-called solutions of “clean” coal and nuclear energy are a recipe for disaster. Well, we’re serving up a fresh new alternative to global warming with real solutions that don’t rely on nuclear energy or coal. Our plan would cut global CO2 emissions in the U.S. by almost 75% within the next 43 years. In fact, renewable energy and greater energy efficiency can deliver half of the world’s energy needs by 2050.

The President has failed to lead this country, or the world, on the issue of global warming. It’s up to Congress to pull us out of the global warming fire, and time is running out.

Hmmm…so global warming has been simmering on the back burner for six years, the timer has gone off, and Bush has served a plate of tepid solutions. Are those solutions from the global warming pot that’s been on the back burner, or someplace else? Also, if the earth is in the oven, what exactly is simmering on the stove? Wouldn’t global warming then be the oven itself? Or at least the heating element? Or perhaps even the insulation around the door? He also mentions the global warming fire – is that a grease fire somewhere on the range or is that a separate cooking fire, like over an open hearth, Colonial Williamsburg-style? Also, what does brewing have to do with any of this? I guess beer is carbonated, which is kind of a connection, but a pretty weak one.

Yes, I understand that global warming rhetoric is likely to be rife with thermal references. That, however, does not excuse writing a fundraising email which takes a litany of cooking-themed phrases and lumps them all together in a tortuous extended metaphor that makes NO FUCKING SENSE. This is wordsmithing worthy of Tom Friedman.

Is This Template Too Humble?

I'm just getting around to reading the January/February 2007 issue of The Atlantic (cover story: "Why Presidents Lie"), and what do I find but notice of a re-design of the magazine. In a short summary credited only to "The Editors," the thinking behind the new look is described:

The design of The Atlantic has always been so self-effacing, so quietly subordinate to the magazine's stories, essays, and poems, that it seems somehow out of keeping to draw your attention to the redesign in your hands. But it deserves an introduction. This new design, the result of more than a year's preparation, grew out of concerns expressed by our readers and staff that the layout seemed a little too humble.

Ah yes, that's what life is like once one has attained the lofty perch of Atlantic editor: you spend your days sifting through emails from readers complaining about how your magazine's layout is too humble.

I'm normally a big fan of the magazine, but what on earth is that even supposed to mean? That the design wasn't noticable enough? That it wasn't as good as the stories? That it was excellent but people didn't appreciate it? And really, as long as one is capable, is there really such a thing as being "too humble"?

Clearly, their 150th anniversary ("We published Nathaniel Hawthorne!") has rotted their brains, causing them acquire Severe Pretentious Publishing Syndrome. It usually strikes solely in New York, but publications based in Boston and/or DC have been known to suffer as well.