Archive for December 24th, 2008

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Weekly World News has the latest on the Minnesota Senate race:

Minnesotans have turned to schoolyard protocol in a last ditch effort to solve their Senate conundrum.

Following a 2-month recount that has still not determined a winner in the Minnesota Senate race between incumbent Norm Coleman and challenger Al Franken, officials have decided on an age-old method to settle the matter – Rock Paper Scissors!

With ballot challenges fluctuating into the thousands, lawsuits being filed by both sides every day, and Minnesota voters unwilling to start the next session of Congress with incomplete representation, election officials have had a very difficult task before them.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie endorsed the move as weather difficulties prevented the State Canvassing Board from meeting on Monday.

“We now have a concrete, time-tested, voter approved method of ending the debate over this election.  Voters are eager to move on.  They’re eager to start fixing the economy, the environment, foreign relations.  And they’ll do it with whichever Senator wins the battle of Rock Paper Scissors in three throws or less.”

Representatives of the Franken and Coleman campaigns have confirmed that they have agreed on the referee for the match-up.

Former Minnesota Governor and third-party candidate Jesse “The Body” Ventura will act as the referee and oversee that it meets all the rules and regulations of the American Association of Rock Paper Scissors.

“I know some people are worried that I may end up throwing a Rock in the ring at the last minute,” Ventura told reporters.  “But if I wanted that seat, I would have thrown my hat in the ring over the summer.”

“It’ll be a fair match and we’ll have a winner.  No whining, no lawsuits, no appeals.”

Ventura has had to knock some heads after Coleman tried to weasel out of the competition citing carpel tunnel syndrome.

In other news, New York State is so hard up for cash that Governor Patterson has sold Coney Island to the mer-people.

December 24th, 2008 at 10:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

Pre-Christmas Awesomeness, Part III

Walker Library
Andrew Moore

This is The Most Awesome Library Ever:

Nothing quite prepares you for the culture shock of Jay Walker’s library. You exit the austere parlor of his New England home and pass through a hallway into the bibliographic equivalent of a Disney ride. Stuffed with landmark tomes and eye-grabbing historical objects—on the walls, on tables, standing on the floor—the room occupies about 3,600 square feet on three mazelike levels. Is that a Sputnik? (Yes.) Hey, those books appear to be bound in rubies. (They are.) That edition of Chaucer … is it a Kelmscott? (Natch.) Gee, that chandelier looks like the one in the James Bond flick Die Another Day. (Because it is.) No matter where you turn in this ziggurat, another treasure beckons you—a 1665 Bills of Mortality chronicle of London (you can track plague fatalities by week), the instruction manual for the Saturn V rocket (which launched the Apollo 11 capsule to the moon), a framed napkin from 1943 on which Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his plan to win World War II. In no time, your mind is stretched like hot taffy.


Walker shuns the sort of bibliomania that covets first editions for their own sake—many of the volumes that decorate the library’s walls are leather-bound Franklin Press reprints. What gets him excited are things that changed the way people think, like Robert Hooke’s Micrographia. Published in 1665, it was the first book to contain illustrations made possible by the microscope. He’s also drawn to objects that embody a revelatory (or just plain weird) train of thought. “I get offered things that collectors don’t,” he says. “Nobody else would want a book on dwarfs, with pages beautifully hand-painted in silver and gold, but for me that makes perfect sense.”

The Wired story has lots of photos.  Just to give you a flavor, here’s my favorite caption excerpt:

Grasping the box of prosthetic eyeballs at left is the original “Thing” hand from the TV show The Addams Family, signed by the cast.

Seriously, what could be more awesome?

(h/t to the shadowy & mysterious Codename V.)

December 24th, 2008 at 05:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness

Pre-Christmas Awesomeness, Part II

Rachel Maddow busts financial industry shill posing as Completely Objective College Professor:

Last night, Rachel Maddow did something I never thought I’d see a journalist do: In the name of transparency, she went back and clarified that a bailout-justifying guest of hers actually had a blatant conflict of interest. Watch the clip here.

On Monday, Maddow had on Berkley professor Laura Tyson to talk about the bailout. You can watch that clip here. As you’ll see, Tyson defended the firms that have received bailout money, saying they are not at fault in either how they are using the money, or in how they are refusing to answer questions about their use of the money. She also insisted that companies that get bailout money should be able to keep paying dividends to their shareholders.

Yet, Tyson didn’t tell viewers that she sits on the board of directors of Morgan Stanley, a bank that has received $10 billion in bailout money. That’s right – according to Morgan Stanley’s SEC filings, Tyson makes about $350,000 a year from Morgan Stanley in total compensation from that position, and she now owns about 79,000 shares of the company. In other words, she has a direct financial interest in defending the bailout, absolving bailout recipients of wrongdoing, and justifying the use of bailout money for shareholder dividends.

Obviously, it’s really unethical to appear on a show billing yourself as an objective disinterested professor at the same time you aren’t telling people you are on the board of directors of the company you are effectively defending. But, as a recent New York Times story about defense commentators shows, this kind of thing happens all the time. It’s completely corrupt – quite literally, paid industry spokespeople are being allowed to cloak themselves in the veneer of objectivity and use the media to limit the parameters of our political debate on major issues.

Thankfully, when I pointed Tyson’s conflict of interest out to Maddow and her show’s staff, they did the responsible thing and made a big effort to inform viewers about what happened. Indeed, in doing this follow-up piece, the Rachel Maddow Show displayed the kind of integrity and respect for their audience that is almost unheard of in political journalism. In being so honest about this, they really showed what their program is all about, and how they aren’t willing to be used or deceived by corporate spokespeople.

This does not happen enough.  Or, really, ever.  Rachel Maddow rocks.

1 comment December 24th, 2008 at 11:04am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Media,Republicans,Wankers

Pre-Christmas Awesomeness, Part I

The rivalry between India and Pakistan heats up even more:

A nine year-old girl in India named M. Lavinashree has passed the Microsoft Certified Professional Exam, becoming the youngest person to ever pull it off (smashing the record previously held by a 10 year-old Pakistani girl). The youngster has a long history of making records in her short life — including reciting all 1,300 couplets of a 2,000 year-old Tamil epic at the age of three — and now she’s now cramming for the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer Exam.

Way cool, and perhaps a little scary…

December 24th, 2008 at 08:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology

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