Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto face off for a car commercial. Stand by for lots of inside Star Trek references.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Last night at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Friday, March 22, 2013
CLW and I were chatting about how to fend off obnoxious trolls and this little scene from Star Trek – Voyager came to mind.
That would be so cool.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
…in a galaxy far, far away… the destruction of the Death Star did not happen the way you think.
Via Will Femia at The Maddow Blog.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Obama’s LBJ Moment — David Rohde on how Barack Obama’s war on inequality matches the efforts of the war on poverty.
He quoted Jack Kennedy but sounded more like Lyndon Johnson.
In an audacious State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama made sweeping proposals to reduce poverty, revive the middle class and increase taxes on the “well off.” While careful to not declare it outright, an emboldened second-term president laid out an agenda that could be called a “war on inequality.”
“There are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead,” Obama declared in a blunt attack one a core conservative credo. “And that’s why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.”
In his 1964 State of the Union address, Johnson introduced the legislation that became known as the “War on Poverty.” Those laws – along with many others he shepherded – stand today as perhaps the greatest legislative achievement of any modern president. Whether or not one agrees with him, Johnson’s laws – from the Civil Rights Act, to Medicaid, Medicare and Head Start, to sweeping federal urban renewal and education programs – changed the face of American society.
Obama, of course, is very different from LBJ and governing in a vastly different time. While Johnson excelled at cajoling legislators, Obama reportedly finds it distasteful. Where Johnson could offer new federal programs, Obama must maneuver in an age where the federal government is distrusted. And while Johnson had full government coffers, Obama lives in an era of crushing fiscal constraint.
Those differences, though, make Obama’s second inaugural address and Tuesday’s State of the Union all the more remarkable. As Richard W. Stevenson noted in the New York Times, “he continued trying to define a 21st-century version of liberalism that could outlast his time in office and do for Democrats what Reagan did for Republicans.”
Torture vs. Drones — Jane Mayer at The New Yorker.
There are some disturbing similarities between the Obama white paper and the Bush torture memos. Both use slippery legal language to parse dark government programs. Both have been deliberately hidden from public and even congressional oversight. And both involve the blurring of C.I.A. and military operations, and even include some of the same personnel. John Brennan, Obama’s nominee to direct the C.I.A., is a long-time veteran of the agency who, prior to joining the Obama Administration, served as chief of staff for former C.I.A. director George Tenet, under the Bush Administration during the depths of the torture scandal. Despite this, several human-rights experts have endorsed Brennan’s promotion, and Obama seems to respect him deeply. Whether that trust is well-placed remains to be seen; Brennan’s refusal, during his Senate confirmation hearings last week, to admit that waterboarding—the partial drowning of a prisoner—is a form of torture was a chilling display of institutional loyalty.
Clearly there are plenty of troubling questions surrounding the Obama Administration’s targeted-killing program. But, that said, are Obama’s drones comparable in terms of human-rights violations, to Bush’s Torture program?
Those who argue so miss an important distinction, one that David Cole also has brought up: torture under all our systems of law—including the laws of war—is illegal. This is true without exception, regardless of the circumstances, including national-security emergencies. Torture is also condemned by every major religion. Waterboarding was, and is, a form of torture. This has been established as far back as the Spanish Inquisition, and as recently as the Vietnam War. To argue otherwise is to legalize criminality. That was what the Bush Administration’s torture memos did.
Bark Bark Woof Woof — According to Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, maybe dogs really can talk.
During the day, our dog Mystique is sweet and demure, but at night she becomes a different animal. She guards our house, barking ferociously every time someone comes within earshot. The only problem is that our house is on the main trail where the night staff walk back and forth after dark. Mystique dutifully barks at all passersby whether she has known them for a day or all her life. But if there was really a cause for concern, like a strange man with a gun, I wonder if Mystique would bark in a way that would alert me that there was something dangerous and different about the person approaching the house.
Dog vocalizations may not sound very sophisticated. Raymond Coppinger pointed out that most dog vocalizations consist of barking, and that barking seems to occur indiscriminately. Coppinger reported on a dog whose duty was to guard free-ranging livestock. The dog barked continuously for seven hours, even though no other dogs were within miles. If barking is communicative, dogs would not bark when no one could hear them. It seemed to Coppinger that the dog was simply relieving some inner state of arousal. The arousal model is that dogs do not have much control over their barking. They are not taking into account their audience, and their barks carry little information other than their emotional state.
Perhaps barking is another by-product of domestication. Unlike dogs, wolves rarely bark. Barks make up as little as 3 percent of wolf vocalizations. Meanwhile, the experimental foxes in Russia bark when they see people, while the control foxes do not. Frequent barking when aroused is probably another consequence of selecting against aggression.
However, more recent research indicates that there might be more to barking than we first thought. Dogs have fairly plastic vocal cords, or a “modifiable vocal tract.” Dogs might be able to subtly alter their voices to produce a wide variety of different sounds that could have different meanings. Dogs might even be altering their voices in ways that are clear to other dogs but not to humans. When scientists have taken spectrograms, or pictures, of dog barks, it turns out that not all barks are the same — even from the same dog. Depending on the context, a dog’s barks can vary in timing, pitch and amplitude. Perhaps they have different meanings.
Doonesbury — Anybody can do it.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Julie sent me this fun new toy that analyzes a paragraph or two of your writing and tells you what famous author you write like. So I plugged in a couple of paragraphs of Bobby Cramer and came up with…
On my first attempt with another paragraph from another chapter, I came up with Cory Doctorow.
Give it a shot and see how you do.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Via Balloon Juice:
Okay, how many of those are real, and how many are CGI?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The eye-roll seen around the world.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Saturday, January 5, 2013
On their 40th anniversary, the Kennedy Center will salute the TV spots that made learning grammar and social studies a part of Saturday morning cartoons.
I was already in college when they started, but they came in mighty handy when I was teaching middle school English and the entire class would burst into “Conjunction Junction — what’s your function!”
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
For those of you who shop on-line, this might seem a little close to home.
There’s more here.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert is the most popular choice among South Carolina voters to replace retiring Sen. Jim DeMint (R), according to a new poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. DeMint is leaving the Senate to lead the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation in January.
Colbert is the choice of 20 percent of registered South Carolina voters polled, Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) sees 15 percent of the total, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) merits 14 percent and former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford is fourth with 11 percent. The rest of the field is in single digits. Twenty-two percent of Republicans desire Scott, and 21 percent of the GOP wants Gowdy. But the rest of the electorate is pro-Colbert.
Why not? They all laughed when Al Franken ran in Minnesota, and that’s worked out pretty well.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
This video has been making the rounds, so why not share?
By the way, Sam was a bit more restrained.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
If he actually had gone faster than the speed of light, he would have landed before he jumped, which would have missed the point of the whole thing.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
For everyone who thinks that the Obama campaign should serious up and not waste time tweaking the Big Bird story: chill.
Jed Bartlet would have done it.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Lest we forget, scurvy knaves, it’s the tenth anniversary of International Talk Like A Pirate Day.
Ever since Dave Barry mentioned us in his nationally syndicated newspaper column in 2002, what once was a goofy idea celebrated by a handful of friends has turned into an international phenomenon that shows no sign of letting up. Maybe you read about us on line.. Maybe you caught one of our radio or TV interviews. Or maybe you just stumbled on to our site while googling around for sites your mother probably wouldn’t approve of. Or perhaps you’re one of the millions of people from South Africa to the South Pole, from New York to the Pacific Northwest, who’ve made it your own personal excuse to party like pirates every September 19th (and sometimes for days before and after)!
Yo ho ho and all that.