Monday, January 29, 2007

Random Flickr Blogging: img_5019

Originally uploaded by Thomas Frejek.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
Poor Nancy Pelosi -- there was never this much focus on what Dennis Hastert was wearing when he was Speaker of the House.

Originally uploaded by furbyx4.
Regarding kilts, some things are better left to the imagination, don't you think?

Originally uploaded by lilone2.
It was a tough week for the No Evidence of Global Warming Society. First, they couldn't use the original site they'd picked for their convention...

Originally uploaded by Signe Nielsen.
...then they polled their members to ask them -- on a scale of 1 to 10,000 -- how confident they were in their leadership...

Originally uploaded by john thrower.
...then the devastating news about genetic mutation in farm animals...

Originally uploaded by laconic sherpa.
...The only good news was that all the attendees could go to the convention together in the Society's official vehicle.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Random Flickr Blogging: img_3776

Originally uploaded by adannenb.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
Standing proud and erect, protruding above the city skyline, the Sigmund Freud Tower is a marvel of modern architecture.

Originally uploaded by Godzilla from Phila.
Marketing experts generally agree that, regarding food products, the word "unidentified" is to be avoided.

Originally uploaded by burforddave.
"I like to play little tricks on takes his mind off being the Vice let's see...freedom fries..."

Originally uploaded by Lordy99.
"Good morning, ma'am, we're going door-to-door today, talking to swing voters about a possible third-party candidacy in the upcoming election."

Originally uploaded by A. Tarr.
As far as anyone can guess, this was some kind of ancient musical instrument, although we haven't been able to find anyone besides Krzysztof Penderecki and Leroy Anderson who composed for it.

Originally uploaded by Fred Hsu.
"OK, OK...I'll finish reading the Iraq Study Group report...just as soon as I find Waldo..."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy 25th Anniversary, Sprint Right Option

With the NFL conference championships, this weekend represents the 25th anniversary of "The Catch" (actual date: January 10, 1982). San Francisco had just gone through a few tough years, in the aftermath of a pair of bizarre tragedies -- the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone and the People's Temple Jonestown massacre. As incongruous as it sounds now, the rise of the 49ers, culminating in their come-from-behind win in the NFC Championship and subsequent Super Bowl victory, lifted the mood of the entire city for a while. That night, there was a spontaneous outburst of celebration that bordered on rioting, because of the unexpected nature of the victory, following years of 49er futility. I remember how much nicer folks were to each other over the next few months, and I experienced firsthand how a shared vicarious experience like a sports championship changes the way people relate to each other, if only temporarily.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ted "Green" Stevens? Hold Your Applause, Please

Grist thinks it's got a "man bites dog" story in an article in their "Muckraker" column about Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska -- who's made a career out of pushing for the destruction of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as well as knowing how to spell Abramoff -- introducing legislation that would require passenger cars sold in the U.S. to get an average of 40 miles per gallon within a decade. This would be an increase of 12.5 mpg over the current standards, according to the article.

Oh, I should mention one thing: The bill doesn't include SUVs and light trucks.

I think someone is being played for a sucker here. Since something like half or more of the "cars" (passenger vehicles) sold are SUVs or trucks, it's clearly aimed more at helping Stevens' political career than at making a dent in the consumption of non-renewable fuels. And that's not the only loophole in the proposed bill, which
includes a caveat that would let automakers off the hook if the costs of fuel-economy upgrades were determined to outweigh the benefits...
As determined by whom? The automakers? Vehicles would average 50 mpg right now if legislation that was in place in the 70's hadn't been thrown out during the Reagan administration. Automakers have had to be dragged kicking and screaming every step of the way regarding improvements in safety and fuel efficiency. Leaving it up to the auto industry -- via SUV loopholes in fuel-efficiency legislation -- is how we ended up with streets and highways clogged with gas-guzzling glorified farm equipment.

Maybe the Senator is concerned that our consumption of fossil fuels will drop enough so that we won't need the oil from ANWR, so he left out the real gas-guzzlers, knowing that for every passenger car on the road that gets a 12.5 mpg improvement, there's at least one screw-everybody-else bulgemobile that should get 25 mpg, but gets 12.5 instead.
The importance of the Stevens bill "isn't in the details," says the Sierra Club's Dan Becker. "The importance is that an extremely conservative Republican and longtime opponent of CAFE has come out with a fairly decent and very interesting fuel-economy bill. His turnaround on this issue is a profound signal of change -- on par with Nixon going to China."
A crock, simply put. If the obvious cynicism of something like this escapes the folks at Sierra Club, then we should expect a flood of Swiss-cheese regulatory proposals and political grandstanding from Republicans, with an eye towards heading off any meaningful law-making from Democrats, and towards feathering their nests (or covering their asses) as the political pendulum swings the other way.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Random Flickr-Blogging: img_4616

Originally uploaded by rbeforee.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
Young George sets out from Kennebunkport for Beverly Hills, never dreaming that a stiff crosswind in the Texas plains would change history forever.

Originally uploaded by Kim & David.
Having booked The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince for the halftime show at the Super Bowl, entertainment-industry executives were scrambling to revive his any means necessary.

Originally uploaded by clarisel.
The mood at the Ohio State end-of-season pep rally was understandably somber.

Originally uploaded by wayne.horng.
She'll never be able to wear a sweater, and she won't know why.

Originally uploaded by nvbphoto.
The turnout for the protest of Hugo Chavez' speech to the U.N. was lighter than expected; apparently there was some confusion about the directions...

Originally uploaded by janoc100.
"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries....Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time."

Originally uploaded by kris_kelvin.
Who brings a camera to a sauna?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Random Flickr Blogging: img_1847

Originally uploaded by Un Pato.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
Somehow, achieving a measure of success and moving to the Cairo suburbs did not bring him the fullfillment he sought.

Originally uploaded by hnmoffatt.
Rhenquist did WHAT!?!?

Originally uploaded by ollyclifford.
The spirit of bipartisanship was in the air as the 110th Congress convened.

Originally uploaded by No-see-um.
With ratings slipping, Fox News is rumored to be auditioning replacements for Ann Coulter.

Originally uploaded by Jeff and/or Kerri.
Since the annual Santa Claus vs. The Martians game is always held on Earth, nobody has ever seen a Martian cheerleader.

Originally uploaded by toombsday.
Nobody in the Washington press corps could remember having seen either Karl Rove or Dick Cheney for several weeks.

Originally uploaded by CvHaren.
Today's enlightened parents -- scarred by their own childhood experiences -- no longer engage in such cruel punishments as forcing children to sit still for three minutes.

Originally uploaded by ubaidd.
"Oh, great...let's see them blame THIS on global warming."