Archive for January, 2009

Seventies Porn, Safe For Work Edition

Seventies Porn Videos, remixed and remade into a harmless, fun, family-friendly minute.  Safe for work, and worth the watch!


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I know this is a little outdated, but it is still worth watching.  Bill O’Reilly was caught doing phone sex in 2004, and was slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit.  The obvious thing to do, of course, was to take the transcript of the calls and set it to classical music.

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The Best TV Commercial Ever

I didn’t know I needed any more furniture until I watched this commercial.  Everyone do the Montgomery Flea Market Shuffle!  Enjoy.

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Amazing ad.  Kudos to Jeffrey Goldberg for finding this.

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Superpunk is a small band from Hamburg and Munich that remains almost virtually unknown in Germany.  They are the quintessential blue-collar bar band.  They have a rough, low-fi aesthetic, and all of their songs revolve around being poor, hating work, getting drunk, and the drudgery of life.  None of the musicians in the band have a particularly polished feel, especially the lead singer, who tends to yell a lot.  Despite of this (or maybe because of this) the band comes together wonderfully, and they have crafted some very catchy tunes.  The lyrics tend to be quite poetic as well, but the non-German speaker will still enjoy Beau Revage.  Any ska or punk head will enjoy Superpunk, particularly the spectacular album, einnmal Superpunk, bitte!


Warning: you need the quicktime player/plugin to watch the video.  You can download the video here.

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Oh Gaza


An amusing dialogue from Jewcy (featured on Jeffrey Goldberg’s blog):


Q: Now that you’ve been to Gaza, what do you think of Hamas?

A: Hamas is fanatical Islamic movement sponsored by Iran that seeks Israel’s destruction.

Q: So Israel has a right to be concerned.

A: No, because Hamas is the national resistance movement of an oppressed people.

Q: And what do you think of us Israelis?

A: You are brave and determined.

Q: So you like us?

A: I suppose. Of course, you are the descendants of apes and pigs.

Q: Why did Israel invade?

A: It was provoked.

Q: And why did Hamas bombard Israel’s southern cities?

A: It was provoked.

Q: Couldn’t they have responded differently?

A: No, because the other side understands only force.

Q: What did Israel achieve?

A: All its goals.

Q: And what did Israel fail to do?

A: Finish the job.



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The Law versus Common Sense

The Economist has a very compelling article on the law as it is practiced today in the United States.  This country has always been a nation of laws (except for arguably the last 8 years) and in general, the system works fairly well:

The rule of law is a wonderful thing, as anyone who has visited countries ruled by the whims of the powerful can attest. But you can have too much of a wonderful thing. And America has far too much law, argues Mr Howard in a new book, “Life without Lawyers”. For nearly every problem, lawmakers and bureaucrats imagine that more detailed rules are the answer. But people need to exercise their common sense, too. Alas, the proliferation of rules is making that harder.

At a school in Florida, for example, a five-year-old girl decided to throw everyone’s books and pencils on the floor. Sent to the head teacher’s office, she continued to wreak havoc. Her teachers dared not restrain her physically. Instead, they summoned the police, who led her away in handcuffs, howling. The teachers acted as they did for fear of being sued. A teacher at a different school was sued for $20m for putting a hand on a rowdy child’s back to guide him out of the classroom. The school ended up settling for $90,000. Understandably, many schools ban teachers from touching pupils under any circumstances. In New York City, where more than 60 bureaucratic steps are required to suspend a pupil for more than five days, teachers are so frightened of violating pupils’ rights that they cannot keep order.

A correctly functioning legal system should (ideally, of course) provide provide justice to those who deserve it in criminal cases, and to compensate who have been unjustly injured by another party in civil ones.  Of course, any sufficiently complex system designed by humans that deals with lots of money will begin behaving in strange and unpredictable ways:

The direct costs of lawsuits are only one of the drawbacks of an over-legalistic society. Too many rules squeeze the joy out of life. Doctors who inflict dozens of unnecessary tests on patients to fend off lawsuits take less pride in their work. And although the legal system is supposed to be neutral, the scales are tilted in favour of whoever is in the wrong. Because the process is so expensive and juries are so unpredictable, blameless people often settle baseless claims to make them go away. The law is supposed to protect individuals from the state, but it often allows selfish individuals to harness the state’s power to settle private scores.

The Economist ends on a hopeful note, heaping praise on President Obama’s appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein.  Let’s hope that Mr. Sunstein can make some positive changes in the way that civil litigation is handled in this country.  In the meantime, the lawyers (and future lawyers like me) are going to keep raking in the money.

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