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.